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How to cure golf’s No. 1 swing flaw

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If you are a player who is plagued by this swing flaw, then no doubt you’re a tortured golfer who believes there is no cure for your ills. What is this troublesome move? It is called the hip sway, and it’s connected to a term I’m sure you’ve heard before: reverse pivot.

Hip sway is also a well-known term, but many golfers don’t see it and reverse pivot as part of the same fault. Suffice to say, they both cause massive inconsistency and the inability to hit solid shots. A golfer with hip sway may hit a few good drives from time to time, but when it comes to hitting the ball solid off the ground it’s a struggle.

Photos 1, 2

Photo 3

The hip sway/reverse pivot is difficult to cure because when the afflicted player becomes irritated enough to attempt to change their swing, any single modification in the technique won’t affect impact in a positive way. For example, the player could try making a shorter swing, a longer swing, hitting more from the inside, hitting more from the outside, etc., but none of these ideas will work on a consistent basis.

This type of swing flaw will take two ideas or phases to cure it; first fixing the body motion in the backswing and then fixing the downswing and impact. One of my mentors, Jim Hardy, calls this a two-fix, due to the fact you have to fix two things in order for the player’s swing to function properly. It has been my experience over the years that most golfers do not know there is such a thing as a two-phase swing cure.

Sometimes in a lesson, it can be very difficult for a student to hang in there long enough to cure the body motion (pivot) in the backswing and also cure the ball flight. But I assure you, it always works. Once you’ve cured the pivot, you will make progress. The reason this system works is it fixes hip sway, the root of the problem. Once that happens, the player changes categories and moves out of the group of golfers that need two phases to cure their shots. They become part of the group of golfers who need just one adjustment to create better impact and ball flight.

To help golfers cure this problem, I first teach them how to turn properly and not sway their hips. This usually involves working in a mirror so that they can see and feel a correct pivot. If a player is a former baseball player or tennis player, they can be battling an old habit that causes them to shift to their back foot. Once they learn the correct body turn, they are ready to try it on the range, first hitting some shots off a tee. This will build confidence, and once they are turning well and hitting good shots, we can then move to hitting good shots off the grass.

I am very insistent about this process, because if a golfer’s pivot motion does not get cured, the impact and ball flight will not be consistent in the future.

Photo 4

The two photos above show how the downswing and impact are negatively affected by the hip sway/reverse pivot. Notice how the club makes an over-under move on the way to the ball, causing it to be swinging up as it approaches the ball. This up-hit is why these players always struggle with their iron game, but can be somewhat effective off the tee. Notice, also, how the weight is moving toward the back foot, making it nearly impossible to finish with the weight on the front leg.

If you are a player who struggles with hitting solid iron shots and has a variety of misses, then have a friend video your swing and see if you spot a hip sway/reverse pivot. If so, follow this formula and you will be on your way to better iron play and more consistent ball striking.

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Mike Wilson has been teaching golf for 25 years, and is based at SilverRock Resort in La Quinta, Calif. He has coached players who have won tournaments at all levels, including USGA and NCAA Championships, as well as PGA Tour events. He endeavors to teach each golfer as an individual, while keeping in mind the skill level and golf background of each player.

15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. Matt L

    Oct 21, 2015 at 3:29 pm

    Sways occur because a) people don’t “feel” themselves doing it and b) they don’t know what it feels like to do it correctly.

    Get with a good teaching professional that uses video. Look at an example of a good backswing (from your teacher, a tour pro, etc.), work with different “feels” until what you do looks like your good example.

    For some reason, I get people that look like stack n’ tilt on steroids as a result of combating a sway.

  2. Tyler

    Oct 19, 2015 at 11:26 am

    Easy fix is thinking about keeping the right knee pressed inward (for right handed players) in the backswing. That really helped me.

    • Matt L

      Oct 21, 2015 at 3:37 pm

      Tyler, the thing about “Swayers” is, they also tend to be “Sliders.” Kicking your right knee in, while possibly being an effective anti-sway messure, could also amp up that slide, resulting in worse issues.

  3. jakeanderson

    Oct 18, 2015 at 4:58 am

    if you suffer from hipsway like described you need to see a trainer and work on leg and hipstrength and flexibility. the reason for such a hipsway is physical limitation.

  4. Jeff

    Oct 17, 2015 at 5:59 pm

    Mike,
    A video showing this would be helpful. Just saying what to do isn’t all that helpful.

  5. Tanner

    Oct 17, 2015 at 6:28 am

    Thanks, Mike. You said, at the end to follow this process. But, I didn’t see what the fix was to cure this sway? Turn better, I get it. Any more details? What was your suggestion on the downswing for the hip swayers? Cheers, Tanner

    • Al385

      Oct 20, 2015 at 4:04 pm

      I also felt that something was missing here. Two step fix but is just working in a mirror?

  6. marcel

    Oct 15, 2015 at 8:46 pm

    easy FIX – this 2 steps process will FIX your swing issues. 1. GET A FREAKING GOLF COACH 2. HIT A GYM!!! there is also 3 step – DONT LISTEN TO YOUR BEST PAL WITH NO SWING

  7. Philip

    Oct 15, 2015 at 3:46 pm

    But what causes the hip sway in the first place?

    • Si

      Oct 16, 2015 at 4:40 am

      People thinking that moving the weight to the trail foot, they can then force that weight to the lead foot, thereby thinking THAT is what is called weight-transfer that helps hit the ball harder and makes it go faster, in their un-athletic body.

    • Tom

      Oct 16, 2015 at 11:26 am

      Alcohol.

  8. Tom

    Oct 15, 2015 at 2:12 pm

    Hey if I’d known you gonna take photo’s of me for this article I would of smiled…

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Instruction

What should your hips do in the golf swing?

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If you want to become more consistent, a better ball striker and hit longer golf shots then this is the video for you. This video will show you exactly what your hips pelvis should be doing during your backswing, downswing and through impact. Having great control of your pelvis and it’s movement will help you have greater control over your golf swing.

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Playing in your mind vs. playing out of your mind

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Comparing the recreational beginner to the elite player

As a player, I know there are rounds of golf where I feel like I worked extremely hard to achieve the results and there are also rounds that are effortless and just plain easy. Why do we go through these peaks and valleys in golf?

As an instructor and player, I want to explore a deeper understanding of what it means to be playing out of your mind vs. playing in your mind.

I want to address both beginners and elite players on their quest for better play. All beginners and elite players must understand that, as players, we are all experiencing ups and downs. The bottom line is that some handle them better than others.

Why is this a feeling golfers have: “playing out of your mind”?

Well, it is pure relaxation. It is fluid, seamless, continuous motion. No hang-ups. No hiccups.

The next big question, how do we achieve this regularly?

We get to this without forcing it, by believing in our makeup. It is locked in our subconscious. It is a controllable, uncontrollable. Subconsciously, your nervous system is in the green light. You are just doing. This is peak performance. This is the zone. This is playing autonomously, out of your mind.

I believe that over time, a golfer’s game is compiled in his/her built-up expectations of the player they truly believe they are. Expecting to make a putt vs. just so happening to make it feeds two different minds. When you place an expectation on an action tension is created. Tension creeps into our nervous system and our brains either respond or they don’t. This is called pressure. This is what I call playing in your mind. You are in your head, your thoughts are far too many and there is just a whole lot floating around up there.

The more players play/practice, the more they will expect out of themselves, and in result, create that pressure. (ie. Why progress is difficult to achieve the closer you get to shooting par or better). The best players are better at responding to that pressure. Their systems are auto-immune to pressure. (ie. Think of practice like medicine and think of a pre-shot routine like the Advil to help calm the spiking nerves.)

  • Playing in your mind = high tension golf… you might need an Advil.
  • Playing out of your mind = low tension golf… you are in a good headspace and are doing all the right things before your round even started.

The key to understanding here is that we can play in both minds and achieve success in either situation. It is all about managing yourself and your re-act game.

Subconscious playing is beyond enjoyable. It is more recreational in style. I believe beginners are playing more subconsciously, more recreationally. I believe elite players can learn from the beginner because they are achieving superior moments and sensations more subconsciously, more often. All players at all levels have off days. It is important to remember we all have this in common.

The goal is always to play your best. When I play my best, there are no preconceived thoughts of action. It’s simply action. Playing out of your mind is an unwritten script, unrehearsed, and unrepeatable on a day to day basis, you’re living it.

Say you have that one round, that out of your mind, crazy good day. The next few days, what do you do? Do you try to mimic everything you did to achieve that low number? As good players, we take these great days and try to piece it together into a script of playing. We know we can get it down to almost damn near perfect. The more a player rehearses the better they get. Edits are made…knowing that things are always shifting. Visualization is key.

No doubt, it’s a huge cycle. Players are in a continuous race to achieve results in numbers. Players looking to reach great success should generate a journal/log and compile a record and playback method and revisit it repeatedly.

There is no secret or magic…it takes mastering the minds to achieve the best results more often. Most important, as players, we must recognize that during our amazing rounds…

  1. We are relaxed
  2. We are having fun
  3. We are just doing

In this game, the deeper we go, the more we propose to be there. It will always bring us back to the basics. One complete full circle, back to the beginner in all of us. So, the next time an experienced player sees a beginner on the first tee…take a moment and appreciate that player!

Remember to enjoy the walk and believe that hard work always works!

Please reach out to me at dmfiscel1482@gmail.com to learn more about the zone and how to become accustomed to playing autonomously.

 

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Instruction

Equipment improvements are even better for women! Now they are getting over 300 yards!

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We had a sweet driver shaft fitting at Club Champion in January. We picked up the shaft in their store in Phoenix and that afternoon, and Savannah hit two benchmark drives at 305 and another at 317 yards! Kinda makes you a bit of a believer, huh!? We are looking forward to seeing the numbers on our GC Quad back home this week to check out the difference. Stay tuned for next week!

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