Improve your shoulder and hip sway to open the door for better ball striking in 2016

By Steve Lippincott

Imagine you’re playing a round of golf and you’ve just gone through five to ten swing thoughts over the ball.Chunked golf shot

You take what feels like a smooth backswing, but when you come back down to hit it you look up to see only a giant patch of earth flying forward and no golf ball! Yep, you’ve just hit a few inches behind it for what seems like the thousandth time today, and have no idea how to stop this uncontrollable gauging into Mother Earth.

While the cure for this case of the “chunks” may seem complicated like many fixes in golf can, there’s a simple way to improve this by practicing in a doorway!

At GolfTEC, I measure golfers of all skill levels, and one of the most important measurements I pay attention to is the inches of “sway” toward or away from the target. In general, the players you see on the TV every weekend are close to an average of 3.9 inches toward the target with both the shoulders and hips, while many amateurs who hit the shots as described above tend to move more away from the target in this regard.

A simple test to check your sway is to get into a door frame and take your address position with your left hip next to the frame. Your left shoulder should also be along the frame as pictured below.

The next step is to turn your shoulders and hips like you were making a backswing. If you sway “away” from the target your shoulders and hips will move away from the door frame. This is a sign that you’re moving too far off of the ball, and is a key contributor in hitting the ground too far behind the ball. This is what NOT to do!

Hip and shoulder sway away from the target

A proper turn, or one that would make hitting the ground first less likely— what we want to do — is promoted by keeping your hips and shoulders near the frame of the door throughout your backswing. This will ensure you get closer the average sway we see from Tour players, with your shoulders and hips now moving slightly TOWARD the target.

Shoulder and Hip sway toward the target in golf swing

While simple in understanding, this can be a considerable change for some to make so be sure to spend a lot of time in your doorway this offseason! This way you’ll be ready to play great golf come spring and those giant patches of flying earth into solidly struck shots launching right at the target.

If you still have questions, seek out your local GolfTEC Certified Personal Coach and get your swing measured today!


  1. This is an excellent drill provided to me by my personal GolfTec swing coach, Barry Schenk. I work the door frame drill frequently in my swing training routine. This one drill has improved my ball striking immensely.


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