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Is hip rotation in the downswing natural or learnt for most pros and good players?


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Personally I cant even see myself ever getting anywhere near that massive hip rotation the likes of Rahm get, where their belt buckles are almost facing the target at impact. And I know lack of hip rotation is a very common problem amongst amateurs. Is it something that the best golfers natural possess when they started swinging as kids, or is it typically a trained concept?

 

Is there anyone out there willing to share their experiences of gaining hip rotation through impact - successes and failures?

 

Thanks!

Edited by Wormkiller
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  • Wormkiller changed the title to Is hip rotation in the downswing natural or learnt for most pros and good players?

Two things have worked for me. If I concentrate on swinging "through" and not "at" the ball, letting my body "follow" my hands and arms I will just naturally finish more facing the target. Also, just concentrating on the follow through by having the sense of the trail knee end up almost or actually touching the lead knee (depends on club and width of stance) will also have me finishing basically facing the target.

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I am definitely not an athlete, a good 30-40 pounds above my ideal weight, but turning belt/squaring shoulders to target is not that difficult and requires almost zero athleticism.  With the tiniest bit of practice you should be able to accomplish it.


If you can't do it, it sounds like a mental thing, or you could just be leaving some weight on your trail foot. That back heel should be coming off the ground and you should have all the weight above your front leg.

Edited by sekrah
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I used to think similarly to you…I was too old, I didn’t have the flexibility, rotating my hips messes up my swing, etc.

 

But you can’t accomplish it thinking “rotate my hips”.  It is accomplished through a weight shift and pivot at the start of the downswing. Shift your weight from back foot to front heel while also digging the lead side of your pelvis (and keeping your hands up/back). That gives you a huge headstart.  Then your focus needs to be on letting the trail shoulder/hip beat your hands to the ball. And voila, you will have way more hip rotation than you thought possible. 
 

Here’s another way to think about it. It’s very likely that after impact your hips have rotated far enough such that your belt buckle faces the target. So you ARE capable of rotating your hips enough. Your pivot just isn’t grooved to enable it. 
 

Final point…this doesn’t get fixed with a few buckets of balls…it takes quite a commitment of practice time and video feedback, etc. But I’m living proof that it can be done. I’m 48 years old, and I could show you a video from a year ago vs now and the difference would likely surprise you. And I’m still not done working on it…still have more improvements to go, but I’m definitely getting there. 

Edited by LeftDaddy
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This is a good topic. The pivot is a compound pivot, a blending of a shift closely followed by a turn. 

 

Think of it as a post and a gate. In the backswing you shift to the right setting up the right leg and hip as the post. The left side becomes the gate swinging around the right side post. In the downswing the opposite happens, the right side gate swings around the left side post. 

 

Watch him set up the right side post right off the ball, the left side gate is swinging. In essence he's shifting right, turning, folding and winding. In the downswing he's reactively shifting left, unturning, unfolding and unwinding. 

 

676629455_SneadForwardPress.gif.2538f306d347136de02ee28351be9160.gif

 

 

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Hip rotation is defined as rotation of the head of the femur ( thigh bone)within the hip socket. Because the other end of femur is one of the bones that forms the knee , hip rotation will ALWAYS result in a similar motion at the knee. The transition movement taught by George Gankas is an example of hip rotation. 
Most of what is called hip rotation in the golf swing is actually angular movement of the pelvis . The pelvis is a symmetrically shaped bony structure which is attached to the lower spine by the two sacroiliac joints (SI)on either side of the spine. Because the SIs  are built for stability and weight bearing  and are supported by very strong ligaments , the pelvis can move only small amounts on its own . Movements of the pelvis during the downswing become DEPENDENT on the POSITION of  LEAD HIP SOCKET which is located on left side of the pelvis . And the position of the lead hip socket during the downswing  is in turn dependent on how much the lead leg straightens . The more that the lead leg straightens , the more that the lead hip socket moves away from the target line and the more that the pelvis can “rotate”

 

To “rotate “ the pelvis more , golfers need to do  4 things

1. Flare out the lead foot . This affects the range of motion of the lead knee , which affects the position of the lead hip socket

2. Open the stance by  slightly pulling back the lead foot away from the target line . This places the lead hip socket farther away from the target line at setup. 

3. Straighten the lead leg at impact . This will place the lead hip socket farther away from the target line . Be careful with the degree of straightening at impact. The lead leg should be APPROACHING straight at impact , but should NOT actually be straight . 
4 Minimize the amount of lateral motion in the downswing . Although great golfers do move  their pelvis( at the sacrum ) laterally  toward the target during the very last stages of the backswing and move more laterally  toward the target in transition to weight their lead foot, any further lateral movement during the downswing will only detract from potential “rotation”.

 

 

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I'm no expert but what I see alot of is hip rotation gone bad.  Most people know you have to rotate the hips but very few know how to do it correctly.

 

I've been working on correcting my hip rotation.  It actually takes a lot of effort to rotate correctly.  This is even when both my hips are brand new and have a ton of flexibility!!🤣

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28 minutes ago, mikpga said:

4175A049-4AB2-49F2-A0E7-CD4368471FE6.jpeg

Great image, COM ahead of C7 (SCC). His Holding Force is resisting the Escape Force of the club head. Without the Holding Force the club head would pull his head into the circle.

 

If not the longest he was one of the longest. Club is fully released at this point. 

 

1880790736_Austin_COG_Flare_Trace.mp4_snapshot_00.03_2021_07.16_10_15_44.jpg.01ec07fc533e55bf9ab824b17be0261e.jpg

Edited by Zitlow
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6 hours ago, Zitlow said:

This is a good topic. The pivot is a compound pivot, a blending of a shift closely followed by a turn. 

 

Think of it as a post and a gate. In the backswing you shift to the right setting up the right leg and hip as the post. The left side becomes the gate swinging around the right side post. In the downswing the opposite happens, the right side gate swings around the left side post. 

 

Watch him set up the right side post right off the ball, the left side gate is swinging. In essence he's shifting right, turning, folding and winding. In the downswing he's reactively shifting left, unturning, unfolding and unwinding. 

 

676629455_SneadForwardPress.gif.2538f306d347136de02ee28351be9160.gif

 

 

 

Man, I could watch Sam's swing all day long. 

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A totally un-natural movement: the golf swing. IMO, must be learned either from observation or instruction (when young is, of course, the best time to learn). 

 

Too bad for me, i did not learn the golf swing in my youth.  I did see folks hitting the golf ball but i could not mentally incorporate what i saw into what i did, mostly coz i saw it wrong.  I saw men 'hitting' the golf ball.  So for 60 years i stepped up and 'hit the ball' and wondered why i was soo poor at striking the ball.

 

I'm better now but must, every time, run thru the check-list of desired actions. Stance, ball position, take-away, wrist c0ck, shoulder turn,.....blah blah.  And i would say this too, the more obvious actions to my eye and experience, esp the upper body behaviour tend to dominate my struggle so the lower body, the hip action, becomes a very much after thought.

 

Jack Nicklaus's words, when i can remember to do them, tell me to 'Keep my buttons back'.  That would be the shirt buttons.  This thought really helps me to send the lower body out first, before the upper body.  My common practice swing is to throw the club head towards the ball with my right shoulder leading the way.  Big divot 6 inches, before the ball = very ugly. See the photo above with the pro in the red shirt and note 'where are his buttons'?.

 

The solution: embrace the struggle and carry on.  Never moan, enjoy the day.

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For a starter, the components need to match up in a way that works with open hips.  You may have to change more than the hip turn to make a proper hip turn work.

 

A proper hip turn is difficult to learn. What it boils down to is to use grounded feet to turn the pelvis, but it is easier said than done to build it into your swing.

 

You probably need lessons for this.

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20 hours ago, Wormkiller said:

Personally I cant even see myself ever getting anywhere near that massive hip rotation the likes of Rahm get, where their belt buckles are almost facing the target at impact. And I know lack of hip rotation is a very common problem amongst amateurs. Is it something that the best golfers natural possess when they started swinging as kids, or is it typically a trained concept?

 

Is there anyone out there willing to share their experiences of gaining hip rotation through impact - successes and failures?

 

Thanks!

 

I think its as natural as running or throwing something. However, most high hc have such poor mechanics they make it more difficult that it is. For example, many think you can turn your hips too fast, but we see a lot of big names do this. The reality is it's not possible to turn ones hips too fast if most of the weight is on the right side, just like a batter lifting his left leg, the hips can't turn until enough of the weight is on the left leg. Most high hc don't get most of their weight on their right side plus their poor hand and arm mechanics always leave their right elbow in a poor position so when they do start the swing by turning their hips the right arm has no chance to get into position.

 

A good practice routine I saw on youtube is to throw tires. I would have someone do it until their are thoroughly tired to ensure the big muscles take over and the weight shift happens naturally.

 

As far as the swing mechanics, the easiest method in the work is to get the shaft pointing back as early as possible like some good players still do instead of "turning under" like the Stack and Tilt. I would also have someone throw old irons maybe 20-30 times until they learn how to release the hands to the target.

 

Another simple method of learning an easy swing is to have the arms and shoulders very flexible with both elbows bent(this makes it easier to learn good mechanics), hands forward(this will help the right arm get trapped down early) and simply turn the club back w/o moving the arms, the hands may even move to the left, from there hold the relation of the hands but keep them flexible of course and just push the left shoulder to the chin.

 

The hands and arms should always feel like they are "connected". Also when one starts the club back the elbows should not be forced together but will actually look sort of like a loop because both elbows are bent. This method is dependent on the body being relaxed so that the natural elastic unloading and loading can take place.

 

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Depends . In the world of golf instruction you have the hand and arm swingers and the the body based swing. Manuel Del la Torre would say swing the club and the body reacts or happens. Ernest Jones in his instruction book shows a person swing the club head with body eliminated in the drawing. Kinda let’s you know what he thought of hips and turns. 

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I think chasing hip openness is a fools errand for most. The average golfer, including good players, has both a poor pivot and hands that trail that pivot. Trying to get open hips with these two flaws just isn't going to work. If you're in the camp of those who get to the top correctly and then accelerate the hands while having relatively closed hips, you may want to focus on the left hip / check getting open, but I doubt this is the best focus for most.  

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It's a shift closely followed by a turn but the right hip doesn't turn on it's own volition in the backswing and the left hip doesn't turn on it's own volition in the downswing. 

 

Stand up and shift your weight to your right leg and hip. Now turn your shoulders to the right, what happened to your right hip? Now turn your shoulders to the left, what happened to your left hip. 

 

Simplistically speaking the golf swing has a top and a bottom. The bottom shifts and the top winds in the backswing. In the downswing the bottom shifts and the top unwinds. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I see hip turn both on backswing and through to a finish as a natural movement that happens as a consequence of being near plane. 
 

The Idea of chasing hip turn only exacerbates issues caused by getting inside and throws sequencing off.
 

If you can get the hands and club to the top by minimising trail arm bend and being on plane, the hips have to react to support the movement.
 

From the top the hips might go slightly early but unless you have serious mobility issues, you’ll naturally get to an open finish providing you concentrate on swinging through. 
 

The instructor who helped me overcome the clockwork swing I’d had coached into me had me throw range buckets down the target line to him and I went from stall flipping to getting through to a naturally open finish. 
 

To the OP I’d be looking at where you are at top of backswing and how you got there. If you have a lack of width, have gone inside or a combination of both, chasing hip rotation will just lead to huge blocks and weak pop up fades/slices. 

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1 hour ago, Zitlow said:

It's a shift closely followed by a turn but the right hip doesn't turn on it's own volition in the backswing and the left hip doesn't turn on it's own volition in the downswing. 

 

Stand up and shift your weight to your right leg and hip. Now turn your shoulders to the right, what happened to your right hip? Now turn your shoulders to the left, what happened to your left hip. 

 

Simplistically speaking the golf swing has a top and a bottom. The bottom shifts and the top winds in the backswing. In the downswing the bottom shifts and the top unwinds. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This can not be correct for the downswing, if it was why is Rahms shoulders trailing his hip at impact?

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8 hours ago, dvq9654 said:

I think chasing hip openness is a fools errand for most. The average golfer, including good players, has both a poor pivot and hands that trail that pivot. Trying to get open hips with these two flaws just isn't going to work. If you're in the camp of those who get to the top correctly and then accelerate the hands while having relatively closed hips, you may want to focus on the left hip / check getting open, but I doubt this is the best focus for most.  


Kind of this really ^^^^
 

The recent Harrington videos are great and he talks much more about hips going up and down rather than rotating, the rotating is more subconscious. I advised a mate who was struggling, convinced he needed to be turning on dodgy knees, and it sorted him right out. I charged him 50 quid for the lesson as well. 

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9 hours ago, dvq9654 said:

I think chasing hip openness is a fools errand for most. The average golfer, including good players, has both a poor pivot and hands that trail that pivot. Trying to get open hips with these two flaws just isn't going to work. If you're in the camp of those who get to the top correctly and then accelerate the hands while having relatively closed hips, you may want to focus on the left hip / check getting open, but I doubt this is the best focus for most.  

This is a dumb question, but can you define the pivot?

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It’s frustrating - I have a life time playing sports requiring hip rotation - throwing in cricket and baseball, ground strokes in tennis, but with hitting a golf ball I can’t get them open at impact. I reckon it is because I’m so armsy, and because of compensations due to backswing going inside too much etc.

 

ive been working on not taking the club so far inside, getting more hip rotation in the backswing and not turning so flat. Here is a swing from a drill Ive been doing. I did this drill at the range and for some reason I’ve been hitting the ball further and more solidly pausing the backswing than doing a normal swing. Still hips are perpendicular to the target at impact. I realise posture at address still needs improving looking at this.


https://youtube.com/shorts/qvkyXMOeuFI?feature=share

 

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