In this series, PGA professional GRANT HEPBURN demonstrates some of the key concepts in generating more power in your golf swing.
In this tip, I’ve taken a piece of plastic pipe and threaded it through my belt hoops in the front of my trousers so that it sits across my hips. You could use a number of items to get the same effect, including an old golf shaft or an alignment stick.
The idea here is to get a better understanding of the role of the hips in the golf swing, and how the correct movement of the hips will help you generate extra power and control. Having proper hip movement is absolutely crucial to hitting the ball consistently as your hip movement impacts on – positively or negatively – many other parts of the swing.
Getting it right
In this sequence, I want you to note how my hips stay level during the backswing. It is easy to see this because the plastic pipe remains parallel to the ground. By keeping my hips level, it allows my weight to coil on to my right side, building up and storing power. It also ensures my shoulders are able to turn freely.
On the downswing, note how I drive my legs towards the target, shifting more weight to my left side. Because of the plastic pipe, you can see the key move, as my left hip climbs up and around. At impact and immediately after, you can clearly see how the plastic pipe is tilted, with the left side up – a clear indication that my hips have moved correctly.
As my left side ‘climbs’, my right side moves under it and this encourages my arms to swing freely and unhindered into the impact area on the correct shallow path.
Through impact, the plastic pipe continues turning up and around to my left, as the left side of my body clears out of the way so that my right side can release the stored power and fire towards the target unhindered.
Getting it wrong
One of the most common mistakes amateurs make, despite making a good, solid backswing, is they spin their hips open on the downswing. In this sequence you can see how, instead of starting the downswing by shifting my weight towards the target with my legs, my right hip spins out and over.
You can see this because the plastic pipe remains level with the ground instead of the left side climbing. This leads to an ‘over-the-top’ downswing where my arms are thrown away from my body and my weight stays on my right side.
My downswing becomes too steep and I swipe across the ball from out to in, which leads to a loss of consistency, accuracy and power.
– Hepburn has been a regular face in Compleat Golfer for more than a decade. His CV includes time coaching on the European and PGA Tours, and an impressive list of top amateurs and pros. He is the CEO of Golf RSA and the South African Golf Development Board. Follow him on Twitter @granthepburn.
– This article first appeared in the April 2022 issue of Compleat Golfer magazine. Subscribe here!