Does this week’s World Long Drive Championship have you wishing you could hit it like the big boys? By using your hips correctly, you’ve at least got a fighting chance.
By Tim Connor
“What can I do to hit the ball longer off the tee?”
It’s a surprise to few that this is one of the most common questions a golf instructor receives.
It’s true. As one who is fortunate to teach this game, I feel this distance pain from my clients and hear the desperate plea to get more of it. Not just more yardage, mind you, but greater accuracy to compliment, as this is often the sidebar of the same question.
So, in pursuit to aid BOTH of these objectives simultaneously, let’s discuss two key, connected factors that, once improved upon, may finally give you the confidence to step up and nail that long, high draw around the corner of that dogleg left like you’ve always wanted.
Key Factor No. 1. Create a more inside-to-out swing path.
Key Factor No. 2. Create more clubhead speed at impact.
“OK, sure,” you say. “I’ve struggled with both of these for as long as I remember, so how do we do this?”
Specifically, the idea that most who ask the distance question in the first place struggle with their hip movement during the swing, which limits both an inside-to-out path and clubhead speed.
Generally, this tends to happen for two reasons:
- The hips sway WAY too away from the target in the backswing.
- There is not enough turn of the hips in the backswing, which can sometimes appear as if the lower body remains completely still.
A great way to improve hip movement is by practicing the hips turning back with an alignment rod fit through your belt buckles. This gives visual feedback as to how much your hips are moving, and when receiving motion measurement feedback in a GolfTEC bay, specifically, you can use the rod to compare what you’re seeing to the actual measurements of your movement.
Speaking of which, the average PGA Tour player turns their hips 44 degrees in the backswing, so if you generally turn your hips just 25 degrees, the visual aid of the rod with the added confirmation of your measurements can immediately pinpoint just how much more you need to turn to get closer to the Tour average, which should help make great strides in your quest for more distance and accuracy.
A few things to remember when you practice this drill:
I want you to practice turning not just to 44 degrees, but more than this so you can get comfortable with the movement. Exaggerating this in practice means the real thing is more likely to get closer to ideal.
It’s also important to keep your hips from swaying away from your target (toward your trail foot) while you make these backswings, so a good way to avoid this is feel as if your hips are turning over your lead foot instead. You may notice that your knees will change flex while doing this – that’s a good thing, as long as you don’t go as far as to completely lock out your knee in the trail leg. I recommend practicing this drill roughly three times a week for about 15 minutes without a ball to get optimum results.
The Science Behind This
Body turn is one of the top sources of power in the golf swing. If a golfer is not properly utilizing their turns – namely, the hips, in this regard – they can’t reach their true potential of distance.
Turning properly does a number of great things of the swing, including allowing for the arms to get deep enough over the heels to create an inside-to-out swing path, which as aforementioned, is a key component to gaining distance and accuracy.
More turn, in essence, raises your potential to increase clubhead speed from an inside-to-out path as well, ultimately leading to that tight little draw most people in this game strive to hit!
Of course, with all this talk of turning your hips more because most lack in this area, it is possible to turn too much, so, as always, it’s best to see a GolfTEC Certified Personal Coach and monitor these changes at your local GolfTEC.
The bottom line is that, with more turn of your hips and an absence of sway away from the target, you’ll finally get the distance and accuracy you’ve been wanting, and let someone else do the asking of how to hit the ball longer and straighter.