This week I wanted to talk about the importance of your hip turn. Notice I said hip TURN, not a sway. During the back swing you need to shift your weight to your right side. By turning your hips, your weight will automatically shift to your right side. However, if you shift your weight laterally, as in a sway, you will make it very difficult to get your weight back to the proper position to meet the ball squarely. Can you play with a sway? Of course you can, and I'm sure many have and will. However, why make things more difficult?
In the modern swing of many pros on tour you will notice that they seem to have a very quiet lower body hip turn, but still manage to get their weight onto their right side. They just do it very quietly and efficiently. Regardless, you must shift the weight to the right side in order to get and keep the weight behind the ball. So, how does one do this? Well, I'm a firm believer of what Jack Nicklaus teaches, regarding a one-piece start of the backswing. Since the backswing is lead by the upper body, the lower body will automatically do the right things if you allow it to. In other words, don't force it to happen, just let it happen naturally.
If you start the back swing with your whole upper body you will notice that the butt of the club will be pointing at your navel for the first half of the back swing. If it doesn't, you are separating or disconnected, which means your arms and hands are out-pacing the rest of your body, resulting in a much more "U" shaped backswing. However, if you do it correctly, what will happen is your lower body hip turn will simply follow your backswing, giving you a better shoulder turn and proper weight shift.
Keep in mind that your right leg needs to withstand this hip turn while your right knee stays slightly bent. You don't want your right leg to stiffen or straighten. It needs to simply absorb the weight and build the tension. What's happening is you're building torsion, which will ultimately give you greater club head speed in the form of centrifugal force on the downswing. The only way I know how to create this torsion is through a good shoulder and hip turn. You can prove this by addressing the ball and try to swing the club with just your arms and wrists. The only thing you can do from this position is swing your arms and wrists up and down in a U shaped swing.
Mulligan's Corner: Why not combine food and golf? Starting on Saturday June 5 River Bend Golf Club in Ormond Beach will have a Nine & Dine package. Buy nine holes of golf then enjoy a wonderful dinner by choosing any entree from the dining room, all for only $25 including tax. This does not include beverages or gratuity and is only available on Saturdays. This special offer is for tee times on Saturdays after 2:30 p.m. Please call (386) 673-6000 for tee times and reservations.
Sal Martignetti is an independent golf instructor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (603) 986-3376. His free e-book is available at elusivegolfswing.weebly.com.