Hip Switch Delivers Energy to the Ball
By Dr. T. J. Tomasi, Keiser University College of Golf Senior Faculty and Director of Research
The hip is a ball-and-socket joint where the femur, the large bone in your upper leg, plugs into the pelvic girdle. Your hip joint is activated when load (weight) is placed in the joint. Your goal, if you want a consistently correct swing, is to be “in” the correct hip at the correct time. I use the word “in” to mean that you have established that hip joint as the center of rotation by transferring weight into it and then turning your body around it. Given the anatomy of the body and the physics of the swing, there must be a “hip switch” to maximize power. This is one of the swing prerequisites that I call “non-negotiable,” meaning that it must be satisfied, or your swing will suffer.
Here’s a simple guide for effectively performing the hip switch: Except for a brief moment at the top of your swing, the direction of your weight shift and the direction your clubhead is moving should be the same. When your clubhead moves away from the target, your weight should be flowing into your trail hip joint. When your clubhead is moving toward the target, weight flows into your front hip joint. Said another way, to give yourself the best chance to hit a good golf shot, you need to be in your back-hip joint during your backswing and your forward hip joint during your forward swing. This will allow the energy in your clubhead to empty into the ball at impact, rather than down into the ground or up into the sky, as it often does when you are stranded in the wrong hip.
The scales under my feet record the story of weight/pressure shift. Near the top of this swing, the weight is loaded into my trail hip. The relative percentage of my weight varies with the club: more with the driver, less with irons.
During the downswing, I can tell by looking at the numbers on the scales that the weight shifts to the front hip to allow the rotation necessary to deliver the club to the ball correctly.
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