One of the most common faults I see among recreational and competitive players is that they believe they should attempt to keep the lower body and hips still in the backswing and turn the shoulders as much as possible to create the maximum amount of separation, or “X Factor.”
Previously, this was thought to be the proper way to create power in the golf swing. As golf instruction has moved forward with the help of technology, however, we now have the ability to measure the club and the body in great detail. Research has shown that this extreme separation between the hips and shoulders is not actually what separates the power players from the shorter hitters, and that it is also a major contributor to lower back pain.
Here are some keys that will lower your handicap… and save your back.
After getting into the setup position, you can see here that my first move in the takeaway involves the lower body remaining stable with minimal pressure shift in the feet, and my chest turning away from the target and the clubhead still outside of my hands. At this point, my hands still have not traveled very far, only to my right leg.
Allowing the pressure in the feet to shift and the hips to open a large amount this early in the swing causes problems with sequence and also gets the club inside or “under the plane” too quickly.
Swing to the Top
As your hands pass your trail leg, allow your hips to open and the right leg to straighten. From the down-the-line view, you should be able to see your lead knee in front of the trail knee, an indication the hips have made a nice turn.
I feel here as if my back foot is turning clockwise against the ground. A good feel at this point of the backswing is that the arms and hands work up to the sky, not around your body, allowing the turn of the body to create the depth. Stay tall and feel a nice stretch in your lead lat. With your trail foot turning against the turf, as opposed to feeling a lateral move, you should get a very powerful feeling from the ground up through the legs and core as if you could jump or do a 360 spin.
This nice turn with the body gives us plenty of room to deliver the club from the inside easily without having to use as much right bend away from the target with the upper body, which over time will lead to injuries. This will also be very helpful for those who having trouble drawing the ball or tend to take very steep divots. We can deliver a big hit from here.
With all this space and rotation, we can now pivot through the shot freely with our hips more open than our chest, but not to an extreme. This will make the clubface very stable through the bottom of the arc and creates a very powerful strike.
Make these adjustments to your backswing and your handicap, and your body, will thank you.