I love all things golf, and I try to write informative articles to help other athletes improve their games.
Achieving the Perfect Swing
Believe me when I say that there is no tip, pointer, or one-page article that can give you the perfect swing or tell you how to get one. Mastering the perfect swing means nailing down many different components one by one—and then putting them all together in harmony to send your ball its farthest and straightest.
One component of the perfect swing is quiet hips on the backswing. Your hips—the core pillar of your body—are the ultimate source of power and body control in your swing. How you use them will have an enormous impact on the overall result of your swing.
Keep Your Hips and Lower Body Quiet
The secret: Keep the hips quiet and minimize motion in the lower half of your body during the backswing. Take a look at the picture of Tiger Woods above. Even at the very end of his backswing, his hips are largely in the same position they were in before he began.
Keeping your hips closed and minimizing their movement during the backswing will prevent the awkward motion throughout the rest of your body that, in general, will send your ball slicing away from you.
The problem with overactive hips during the backswing is that they make it incredibly difficult to bring your body back into line for the all-important point of impact—when your club-head reaches the ball. Opening your hips forces your weight to your front foot. If your weight is focused primarily on the front foot, you will have to shift your weight back and then forward again in order to drive properly through the ball. Most likely, your body will end up way ahead of your hands, dragging your clubhead behind you and either slicing ball to the right or grounding it and sending it hopping down the fairway (or worse).
Moreover, opening your hips—and subsequently shifting your weight—causes your head, shoulders, and spine to move out of alignment with the ball. Getting them back to the correct position once your swing has begun is next to impossible. That shot is doomed to go anywhere but where you want it.
Keeping your hips in position during the backswing will also allow for longer, straighter drives and fairway shots. Proper hip control allows you to explode through the ball at the point of impact with your entire body on the downswing.
Think of your hips like a gun waiting to go off simultaneously with the upper half of your body. Your backswing should allow for just the tiniest cock of the hammer (your hips) before your arms, shoulders, and hands fire forward through the ball in unison.
How to Practice
To practice this, use a piece of tape to fashion a straight line on the ground in front of you. Straddle the line with your nose directly over it, and practice bringing your clubhead back in a smooth, easy motion. Is your nose still directly over the line? If it's not, it's likely that you've allowed the unnecessary movement in your hips to throw your upper body—and ultimately your head at the top—out of alignment. Try again, but this time, be sure to keep those hips quiet.
The result should be that your nose remains exactly where it was at the address—when you stood before the ball ready to begin your backswing—which means that you're ready to begin your downswing.
Ray Vomacka on August 17, 2019:
Great article. Worked for me.
Pure Chiropractic from Nanaimo on August 09, 2010:
Great hub. But for those with lower spine issues, they may been to bring in hip movement to minimise torsion of that region.
nick cercone on July 05, 2010:
GOOD article. Quite by accident I started keeping my hips as quiet as possible on all shots with amazing results..you simply confirmed this action..Thanks
Brian on March 01, 2010:
Great advice. I was actually working on this today with a friend of mine. He said the same thing about me. That I had to much movement in my lower body. He had me to squat a little more, squeeze my knees in like I was holding a big rubber ball between them and keep my hips square to the ball on my backswing. It was like coiling a spring and then releasing the stored energy. I hit the ball straighter and farther. It also helped me alleviate the common problem of getting to deep with my backswing and not getting back in the proper position causing me to bring my right shoulder over the top and bringing the club outside in instead of inside out..... Try It.
meech741 on August 25, 2009:
Good advice, I'm teaching my son how to play golf, this will help. Cheers!
Scott on July 12, 2008:
It looks to me like Tiger's hips have rotated about 30 degrees in the photo.
Trevor Taylor on June 28, 2008:
Nice page, but then again I love this product!!
Mark Pearson from UK on May 10, 2008:
Excellent technial advice