Hip Rotation: How To Use Hips in The Golf Swing (2022)

Hey guys, Chuck Quinton here, founder of RotarySwing.com. Today I wanna talk about how your hips are supposed to move in the downswing. Now, you’ve probably heard a million times that the hips are the key to power in the golf swing, and they do all the heavy lifting, and they provide all the power, and the faster you can move your hips the faster you can swing a golf club. It’s not exactly true. In fact, if you look at the statistical data on the tour, the average tour pro’s hips only move at about 12 to 15 miles an hour peak speed; it’s not very fast compared to how fast the golf club’s moving.

But then we’ve got a lot of things that we need to get to before that golf club starts moving fast, so you can’t look at one independent of the other. But what I wanna talk about today is that using your hips incorrectly can actually cost you more speed, and also put you at risk for injury. As you know, Rotary Swing is all about injury prevention, that’s why we have so many biomechanists, and orthopedic and neurosurgeons on our medical panel, ’cause we don’t want you to get injured swinging a golf club.

As you probably have heard me talk about, four out of five tour pros will miss about eight to nine weeks of golf, making money, making a living, their job, because of a golf swing related injury. And these are all preventable injuries. So, the hip thing is one of the ones that I see get blow completely out of proportion, get completely misunderstood, and one of the quickest and easiest ways to injure your back and your hips. So, let’s understand what the hips really need to do, and why they need to do it that way, and then we’ll figure out how fast you need to really move. So, the hip’s primary job, in initiating the downswing, is to shift the weight and start some rotation. Now, what does that really do for us? Let’s understand that first. If I go to the top of my swing and I just shift my hips to the left, look what happens to my arms.

This is the whole key, the crux of the transition is getting from here to here. If you can get that part right, the rest of it starts to fall into place, because we’ve got some momentum, and things are starting to move in sequence. But if this part goes wrong and we just use our arms, well, my weight is already stuck back here, I use the right side, I come over the top, everything is out of whack. So, to get things, the sequence, correctly, that’s your primary job for your hips, is to learn to shift your weight over into neutral join alignment, we talk about that a lot on the website, at Rotary Swing. And we wanna get our hip into neutral to protect it and put it in stable, powerful position. But as we do that we’ve also gotta turn our hips. Now, why do we have to turn our hips? You don’t wanna turn your shoulders during the downswing, that’s the primary reason.  If you turn your shoulders you’re not only putting a tremendous amount of sheer force, and rotational force, on your spin, which it hates, and is a great way to get injured, but you’re now trying to move the biggest chunk of your body, all your internal organs, all of this mass, and trying to rotate it as fast as you can, because when you start rotating your chest your arms will get stuck against your body, and so the faster you wanna swing the faster you have to rotate your chest, because you’ll also start creating a throwout force and losing lag, because you create too much centripetal force too soon.

So, take all of that stuff out of the equation, and if we just shift our weight, and rotate our hips to about 30 to 40 degrees open, by the time my hips post up my shoulders are dead square I’ve maintained this lag angle, all I need to do now is release it. And look how stable and quiet my body is; it’s pretty easy to get a nice, controlled impact position here, when my hips aren’t continuing to try and rotate through, I’m not trying to spin my chest through. Which one do you think is gonna be more accurate, the archer that’s moving all over the place, or the archer that’s really stable and releases? Golf is no different; you need to think of yourself as an archer. So, if this stuff makes sense to you I’ve got a bonus video I want you to take a look at, that’s gonna help you understand how to move your hips correctly, the sequence of it, and why you wanna do it this way. Make sure you like this video, subscribe to our YouTube channel, and if you get a chance, watch the preview of this bonus video, and sign up at the end for free, and we give you 50 bonus videos just for checking out our site today.

And I know for a lot of you golfer, we talk about hip spinners, and those types of things, that typically are geared more towards the better golfer, but that’s obviously not everybody out there. We know we have a lot of golfers who still come over the top and don’t really have a good picture of how lower body works, so that’s what we’re gonna talk about today. And we’ve built a little 2D model here, and it’s built kinda like Clay, maybe we’ll call him Clay. Stick figure here. But basically, it’s an oversimplified 2D model, from a top down perspective. Like I said, it’s oversimplified, but it’s gonna show the segments of the body in proportion, how they work. And they’re color coded for a reason.

So, the one piece that I have here at the bottom is green, and this is the starting piece, and it’s the smallest piece. The green piece represents the hips, and it’s green for a reason, we’re gonna talk about that in a second. The next piece, proportionally bigger than the green piece, is red, and it’s red for a reason, and that’s the shoulders, or the upper torso. And then, the yellow piece represents the left arm, and the blue piece represents the golf club. Now, they’re color coded for a reason, and Clay, you know, we see a lot of golfers moving these segments in the wrong sequence, and we spend a lot of time talking about sequencing in the golf swing, and this is where people come over the top and they don’t sequence things correctly. They’re color coded like this for a reason; what do we typically see the first part moving in the higher handicap golfers?

Well, the higher handicap golfers, they tend to go ahead and unwind their shoulders right off the bat, they throw their arms from the top, and then that gets the club releasing way too early. So they’re kinda throwing the club from the top, coming over the top, hitting the big slice, getting too steep on it. A lot of different problems that are caused with that.Chuck Quinton: Yeah, exactly. And this is why this is red, because everybody, especially if you’re an over the top golfer, your first move is not to move your lower body, but to take your upper body and heave it around, and then that, of course, you’re getting the club to fire early, and your arms to fire early, so you lose a ton of lag, and that’s how you cast it. So, this, we have the hips being green for a very specific reason. The hips can fire, and for most of you golfers who are higher handicap golfers, we want that to happen.

We need them to be focused on getting those hips to go first. Now, obviously a lot of the videos on the website deal with hip spinners, and that’s really geared towards a lower handicap player who hasn’t learned how to post up and decelerate the hip, they just kinda keep rotating through. But we know, through the online groups and the video submissions, that many of you out there on the website are still over the top guys, casting the club and moving the segments in the wrong sequence, and sequencing is everything in the golf swing. That’s how you build effortless power. So let’s look at this sequence, how it works in the golf swing. I’m gonna go ahead and move Clay here up to the top of the back swing, and show you about where everything would be, roughly, in this sequence. So again, this is oversimplified, we don’t have any angles, we’re just trying to make it a really simple picture.

So you can see, in this image, the hips have turned about 45 degrees, that’s fine. The shoulders about 90 degrees, maybe even a little bit more. The arm is loaded up across the chest, so it’s across the red part here. And then the club is loaded up. So now we have a lot of potential energy. When we started out we had nothing, there’s nothing to hit with, there’s no angles, there’s no leverage, right? But as we rotate back, now we have some rotational force, and then we also have some levers here. This guy right here is now potential energy. This guy is potential energy. So as those two are working together, we gotta get these guys to work and release. So, let me tighten that up real quick. Okay. So now, in this position, we have lots of energy, lots of lever, and we have lots of force available to us. The key is to unwind that force in the right sequence, that’s the whole point of the downswing. We’re loading it up to create potential energy, now we’ve created these levers, and now we need to unwind them in the right way.

So, as Clay mentioned earlier, the first thing we typically see is, they take the red part. Red means stop, we don’t wanna fire that red part, ’cause we don’t need this to just start unwinding early, ’cause then we’re taking our trunk, our lower body, out of the swing. And so what it’s gonna do is, then start to stabilize to support the upper body, to keep us from falling on our face, right? So instead, we need the lower part to fire, and in a minute, the next part of the video is, we’re gonna show you exactly how to move that lower body in the right sequence, and some drills to do it. But let’s look at how it works here. So as I start unwinding the green segment first, it’s green because we want it to go, as it starts to unwind notice how all of the segments are moving. Now, what are the arms doing at this point?Chuck Quinton: Right. Most people do this right from the top, right?

They take these segments, they move themwrong sequence. But if we move the hips, the arms are bing moved by the lower body. And so we talk about that a lot, you hear saying, “Oh, I feel like my arms are falling from the top,” or, “They’re relatively passive from the top.” When we talk about how the arms work in the downswing, again, that’s really geared towards a player whose lower body movement is already working correctly, but that’s not everybody. So, we wanna maintain these angles later in the downswing, and for the average higher handicap golfer we need to maintain those angles as long as humanly possibly, is what it’s gonna feel like.

Absolutely. So there’s something you can call the kinematic sequence of events, which is just the order at which you fire. If you do this very efficiently, you’re gonna get maximum power. That’s something that we see very few amateurs do, and a lot of the professionals do it very well. So, this is very key into getting the maximum amount of power into all of your shots.Chuck Quinton: Yep, exactly. So that’s what we wanna do, is sequence all of these movements into the right, so that everything’s delivered at the right point. So now we’re gonna move the hip segment. I’m not moving anything else, but because they’re attached via your muscles, and tendons, and ligaments, the rest of it’s getting moved as the hips accelerate and then decelerate, ’cause we don’t want the hips to keep spinning. That’s what we talk about with our, you know, our higher handicap players, they don’t learn to decelerate the hips, and they just keep moving, and then the club, inevitably, releases late. So if we imagine impact is here, this club’s gonna release late; there’s no release of energy here.

So we want the hips to decelerate, and that’s what we’re gonna talk about a lot in this next part of the video, is getting the hips to move correctly at first, and then decelerate, ’cause we need to transmit that energy up the chain, up to, eventually, to the club. So as the hips begin to decelerate, the shoulders start to move a little bit faster, they accelerate a little bit, but not a ton. And that’s not something that you’re consciously trying to do, right? We don’t wanna take our shoulders and move them through. We want our hips … once you stretch these muscles, they’re going to get pulled around by your obliques and other muscles in your core, that’s what we want. Then the shoulders also are going to decelerate, the arm’s going to then accelerate, off the chest here, and then, as it decelerates as well, the club head finally gets a chance to accelerate. So at impact, our segments roughly look like this, where the hips are 30 to 45 degrees open, shoulders are pretty squared up, the left arm and club are forming a straight line. And so we’ve taken all of those segments and unwound them, and that’s what we’re trying to do to get the club head to release. And proportionate wise, you can see that the club is a quite a bit longer than my arm in this place. Obviously the reason for that is, is the longer the club is, the faster it can be swung. The problem is when everybody keeps … This is obviously a full release at this point, when everybody keeps unwinding their shoulders, and then their arm is still draped across their chest, and then the club is like this, that doesn’t look like we’ve fully released our energy, right Clay?

Yeah, exactly. It’s still lagging behind, and we usually end up with it very thin or to the right.Chuck Quinton: Yeah, and this is what we see a lot of our better players do; they move their lower body really well, but they don’t learn to decelerate the body so that the club can finally accelerate. So when you look at the length of this lever, and you know that at the top you’ve got your wrist cocked this much, it has a long ways to travel in space. If I grab the end of this club, it’s got a long ways to go. And so, if I just keep spinning my arms my arms as hard as I can, it’s gonna end up like this, and that’s what we deal with with a lot of better players. So, in this next part of the video we’re gonna talk about how to get this in alignment, and these segments to release at the right angles at the right times, so we generate a lot of speed without a lot of effort.

Chuck Quinton

is the founder of the RotarySwing Tour online golf instruction learning system. He played golf professionally for 8 years and has been teaching golf since 1995 and has worked with more than 100 playing professionals who have played on the PGA, Web.com and other major tours around the world.

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