Develop a Powerful Base

February 22, 2007

YOU CAN’T GENERATE power without hip turn, and you can’t move the hips properly on the downswing without firing your right side. But right-side motion must travel from the ground up: For right-handed golfers, like Annika Sorenstam (shown below and right), it begins by kicking in the right foot and knee. This drives the legs, which in turn drive the hips, which propel the rest of the body and the club through impact.


Initiate the forward swing by kicking in the right knee and foot (right). This shifts your weight to your left side, setting your hip turn in motion.

Many amateurs have power problems because they think firing the right side means starting the downswing from the top — with the right arm and right shoulder. The result is an over-the-top swing path, which prevents the hips from turning properly and produces a weak slice.

Unhappy with this result, some over-the-top swingers overcompensate by tucking the right arm too close to the body on the downswing and sliding the hips laterally, a combination that blocks the ball well right of the target. Or they try taming the right side by keeping the majority of their weight on the right leg and stabbing at the ball with their arms and hands, another move that only diminishes power.

Power, and a good hip turn coming down, begin on the backswing. Start by getting behind the ball at the top, with your upper body coiled against a braced right leg that is supporting most of your weight (above, left). From here, you must initiate the forward swing with your right side, since there’s no weight on the left. The first move is the right foot and right knee kicking in toward the ball (above, right). This shifts weight and balance to the left side and sets your hip turn in motion.

Once your weight has shifted left and your hips begin to clear, release the entire right side and the spine (your swing center). Your hands will respond naturally, falling into the correct downswing plane, approaching the ball from the inside, then extending down the target line after impact.



Sam Greenwood

Impact check. Grip down on a club a few inches so you can easily see the butt end. Simulate your swing, stopping just after impact and again in your follow-through when the shaft is horizontal to the ground. The exposed end of the grip should be pointing toward the center of your body at these two spots (see photos, left). If your hips slide rather than turn, the grip will point ahead of your body; if you’ve hung back on your right side, your right arm will cross over your left and the grip will point backward, away from the target.