How to properly use your hips to generate power in your swing

triullium rose turns hips

Getting your hips to do the right thing at the right time is critical. Here's how to use them to generate power.

Stephen Denton

A lot of different moving parts go into your swing. One of the most overlooked is your hips. Getting them to do the right thing at the right time is critical.

If you’ve played a sport that requires you to throw, such as baseball or football, you already have a good idea on how to use your hips. Even so, golf requires some pretty specific positioning to hit the ball far and straight. 

Read below for the details.


Since none of you are getting any younger (or more flexible), it’s important to warm up your hips before practice or play. Nothing major; just a few lunges and focused rotations. Your hips and swing will thank you! 


trillium rose demonstrates setup
Tilt forward from your hip joints — not your back — at address. Stephen Denton

Good hip work starts at address. For a helpful visual, lay an alignment stick on the ground along your target line and set your toes perpendicular to it. Hold another across your hips. As you settle into your stance, tilt forward by bending from your hips, not your back. This helps you maintain balance back and through the ball.


trillium rose demonstrates backswing
Your hips must rotate back, roughly 45 degrees relative to your target line. Stephen Denton

I’m sure you’ve been told to rotate your torso around your hips to generate torque and speed. It’s true, but it doesn’t mean your hips remain stationary. At the top of your backswing, your hips should have turned about 45 degrees away from the target. Use the stick as a visual guide.


If there’s one absolute in golf, it’s that your hips initiate the downswing. Make your goal from the top to begin unwinding your pelvis before moving anything else. If you leave your hips behind or start your swing with some other part of your body, you’ll break your kinetic chain and lose yards and accuracy in a hurry.


trillium rose demonstrates hips at impact
Begin your downswing by turning your hips first. By impact, they should be open 45 degrees. Stephen Denton

As you move down and through the ball, continue to unwind your hips. At contact, they already should be open 45 degrees in relation to the target line. Too many rec players wait to release their hips until after impact.


trillium rose demonstrates hips at finish
A final checkpoint: Your hips face the target at the end of your swing. Stephen Denton

End with your hips rotated 90 degrees to your target line. Assuming you’ve used your hips correctly, you’ll be in a nice balanced finish. Even better, you’ll be admiring the ball flying out straight and true. 

Trillium Rose is a GOLF Top 100 Teacher and the director of instruction at Woodmont CC in Rockville, Md.

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