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Go ahead, let your hips turn in the backswing



As an instructor, I see a lot of golf swings every day and a large majority of the golfing public seems to have an obsession with not turning their hips in their golf swing.

Magazines and books have been pushing the idea that if we can restrict our hip turn and rotate the shoulders substantially more, we have the formula for more power: Degree of Shoulder Turn – Degree of Hip Turn = Power. Giving this idea to a novice golfer is like letting a child play with matches; there’s going to be a lot of damage to repair.

Photo 1 depicts a swing where a golfer is attempting to restrict hip turn and generate as much shoulder turn as possible, while Photo 2 shows a golfer who is embracing the notion that the hips need to turn.

What is noticeable is that when restricting the hips the golfer is forced to turn their shoulders and arms on a much flatter plane. Many golfers struggle with taking the club too far inside during their take away and lifting the club to reach the top of their backswing, the classic slicer move (inside-up-over the top). The inside takeaway occurs from the fact that the hips have not rotated and the hands and arms feel the need to fan or rotate the club to generate that feel of rotation.

Photo 1

No Hips - Takeaway

Photo 2

Hip Turn - Takeaway

Going forward the golfer is unable to rotate the hips so they lift the club to the top of the back swing resulting in a very flat shoulder turn (Photo 3) and a loop (Photo 4) that will force them to come over the top.

Photo 3

No Hips - Top of Backswing

Photo 4

No Hip Turn - Downswing

Allowing the hips to rotate will help alleviate some of these issues and allow you to create more shoulder turn (even with some steepness to them) in the process.

Photo 5

Hip Turn - Face On

Photo 6

Hip Turn - Top of Backswing

Photos 5 and 6 show a golfer who has allowed his hips to turn on the backswing and, in return, his arms and hands have rotated properly. That created more connection between the arms and chest. The golfer was also able to generate more shoulder turn by allowing his hips to turn more during the takeaway, and potentially breaking the dreaded habit of coming inside, up, and over the top.

So instead of restricting the hips, let them rotate for a more fundamentally sound golf swing.

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Scott is a Certified Personal Coach at GolfTEC Main Line in Villanova, PA and also the Head Men's Golf Coach @ Division III Rosemont College. Each day he utilizes 3-D Motion Measurements, Foresight Launch Monitors, and high speed video to help each of his students achieve their specific goals. Past experience include owning and and operating the Yur Golf Swing Teaching Academy in Philadelphia. He started my golfing career at Radnor Valley Country Club in Villanova, Penn., and spent time at the Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, Fla. In his short 7 year instruction career he as taught over 5,000 golf lessons. He currently works with many of the top local Amateur golfers in the Philadelphia area, and many of the best Junior golfers. Teaching golf has always been my passion and with my civil engineering and philosophy background from Villanova University, I am able bring interesting perspective and effective techniques to my instruction.



  1. Stephane Gauthier

    Apr 3, 2015 at 12:09 am

    Great article. I recently stumbled upon this “method” by experimentation and reading more Hogan related stuff and it has greatly improved my strike.
    For me it has become a natural trigger to my takeaway. It feel like I move rear hip back which prevents any swaying and gives me the feeling the club and hands is lagging behind (like Dufner). It also “feels” like I’m rotating in place as I feel very centered over the ball with this method. less sloppy.
    Anyways, It’s nice to read confirmation that I’m doing the right thing. Thanks!


  2. colemantle

    Aug 29, 2014 at 4:31 pm

    Great article. I had recently fell into the trap of restricting my hip turn and my play got consistently worse with each round.Was sucking the club inside on my takeaway and all the other symptoms you mentioned. If i promoted an extreme outside take away I could manage to get some decent strikes but no consistency. Luckily my uncle was watching my swing and immediately noticed my hips not turning which led me to internet searching which led me to this article. Thanks for the tips!

  3. Phil Murdock

    Jul 1, 2014 at 1:12 am

    I agree to a degree but, you should not purposely try to turn the hips immediately as that will also cause a flat,inside club and also left arm plane.This makes it very hard to get the club back to the ball on a descending blow.Especially with an iron and can cause drastic duck hooks with a driver if you don’t bottom out behind the ball first.Please correct me on his if i’m wrong.I have the best luck with a conscious shoulder turn to move the club back with minimal hip turn.Let the shouler turn dictate how much the hips turn.Depending on your age or flexability.Restricting the hip turn is definately hazardous though.I’ve been toying with this for 8 years and it is still not easy to exacute.I think a steady head(not locked in place) and a steady deliberate, no wrist braking take away initiated by the upper torso is key for power and more consistancy!!!

    • Scott Yurgalevicz

      Jul 22, 2014 at 6:45 pm

      Phil, you are spot on. The goal of this was to make sure you don’t purposely restrict your hip turn. Restricting the hip turn doesn’t allow the club to get deep enough at the top of the backswing. Much like everything, moderation is key. Find your happy Hip Turn place and stick to it.

  4. John

    Oct 18, 2013 at 11:21 am

    Wow, I wish I would’ve looked up this article earlier in the season! It’s mid-October and here on the East Coast the season is winding down quickly. Anyway, I am a classic over the top, outside in path slicer. I’ve made bad adjustments to set up facing way left, extra strong grip, etc. to “play” my slice, i.e. a big banana ball that starts left and curves back to the fairway ( or most of the time , on the right side fringe of the rough) This of course robs me of distance and I’m usually faced with a long second shot into the green. So I’ve been going to the range a lot lately working on stuff , reading countless articles on shoulder turning and where your arms should be at the top of the backswing, etc., etc. I’ve also read about starting the downswing with the lower body, which I’ve gotten down, but if I’m not in the proper place to begin with, well then it’s still going to end up in trouble. Then I started thinking about just a good, solid hip/core turn for both back and down swings. Read something recently that made sense about “letting the arms just go along for the ride” and that they will find the proper plane that way….well went to the range and did just that. Low and behold, I was hitting DRAWS….draw after draw. I’ve never hit a draw in my life and although very excited thought it must’ve been a fluke. Did some more researching on-line, came across this very article and …well, you guessed it…back to the range! No fluke, hit all draws, not one slice!! So, I apologize for the long winded reply, but just wanted to say thanks for the confirmation of hips in the swing! It works for me and I hope it helps other slicer/over the topper/outside inners out there. Now just can’t wait to get out for another round!! 🙂

  5. russell

    Aug 1, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    x factor by Jim Mclean he is along with Ledbetter hurt more golf swings than you can imagine,the best golf coach bar none Jimmy Ballard,and if you want proof check out the players he has coached in the last 25 years….

  6. Jeff

    Feb 27, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    Amen Scott. Thanks for liberating the vast majority of golfers who are no longer 20 yrs. and cannot execute the x-factor without hurting their game or their back. Fortunately, I discovered this move some time ago, and found getting the club on plane to be much easier. Loss of distance? Correcting an over the top move will do wonders for your distance.

  7. Jeff

    Feb 26, 2013 at 9:56 am

    I spent so many years working on the “X-Factor” that so many of the golf magazines support, but finally broke free of this advice. Just look at Bubba. He turns his hips more than most people turn their shoulders.

    Thanks for the article, Scott.

  8. Gene

    Feb 25, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    how true, especially for senior golfers like me – I tried for a long time to keep my hips from rotating – it was supposedly to produce maximum power and once in a while it happened but more often than not, inconsistency reigned – once I started allowing my hips to turn naturally, everything fell into place – I am becoming much more consistent and in control of my swing -this is good instruction for those willing to listen and trust it!

  9. Nick

    Feb 19, 2013 at 11:53 am

    I have often been confused by the advice not to restrict hip turn in the back swing. Snead had pronounced hip rotation in the backswing and I don’t hear anyone saying he had problems with power or accuracy in his ball striking.

    • Scott Yurgalevicz

      Feb 20, 2013 at 7:28 pm

      Hey Nick, Thanks for the comment. I too was bewildered by the amount of students I get bumping their hips right and left in an effort to restrict hip turn in hopes of more power. Its almost comical how much better they get the moment I tell them to let them turn, almost every aspect of their swing gets better. By turning the hips you become an athlete!

      • brian cosgrove

        Jul 9, 2013 at 9:34 am

        Wow! I am 71 (6 handicap} and drift in and out of the backswing hip turn. Every time I go back to the hip turn move I srike it so much better. I think I worry about that old axiom of restricting the backswing hip turn. I am a Canadian instructor and have not used this much in my lessons but because of my success and your confirmation I will when needed. Thanks for the info.

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