This places considerable physical demands on both hips, which need mobility and strength to permit and stabilise that twisting motion back and through. If your hip region is weak and/or stiff, you invite a series of technical issues with your swing. Most common are excessive lateral movement – swaying or sliding – poor weight shift as your hips refuse to take the load, and standing up out of posture. But how do you know if you have adequate hip strength and mobility? This test will help you find out… and if you should fail it, there’s a plan to help.
Build 60º ANGLE
Lie your 6-iron on the ground in front of you, its face showing to the sky. Place a second iron along the sole of the 6-iron, as shown. This sets up a 60º angle between the shafts, which becomes a key part of the test. Place a third club across your belt, in line with the 6-iron on the ground.
REPEAT FOR THE FRONT LEG
Create a mirror image set-up with the clubs and perform the same test for your lead leg and hip. Again, you are looking to get the shaft across your belt at least in line with the club on the ground. Failure to achieve this indicates you will have difficulty posting up properly onto the lead leg…which can lead to standing up and hanging back through the ball.
MATCH THE ANGLES
Withdraw your lead foot, balancing yourself on your trail foot and lead toe cap as shown. Now, keeping the club in line with your belt, rotate back; can you get the club across your hips to match the angle of the second shaft on the turf?
HOW TO IMPROVE HIP ROTATION
If you passed that test, congratulations – 60º of rotation back and through reveals you have enough mobility to rotate through your core without the need to sway or straighten up. If you couldn’t quite get the shafts to match, the best advice is to repeat this test three or four times a week. It doubles as a stretch, and in time will increase your range of movement. But in the meantime, here is one other thing you can try.
WITHDRAW YOUR TRAIL FOOT
Take your regular stance. Typically we’ like to see feet, hips and shoulders all in line with each other, aiming parallel left of you target. On this occasion through, we are going to pull the trail foo back by half the length of the lead foot.
As you do this, take care not to pull your shoulders and hips out of their initial alignment. By pulling the trail foot back we are simply going to give that trail hip a little more freedom to rotate. You can also flare the toe a little to improve mobility.