Master Clearing the Hips in the Golf Swing for Maximum Power and Distance

Colin McCarthy

clearing the hips in the golf swing

Do you know how to clear your hips in your golf swing? This often-overlooked technique can transform your game, but many amateur golfers struggle to master it.

Clearing your hips means rotating them so they’re open towards the target at impact, a crucial move that can significantly enhance your shot quality and clubhead speed.

Mastering hip clearance isn’t just for the pros. While the best golfers make it look effortless, understanding and perfecting this motion is easier than many realize.

By focusing on why hip clearance matters and what might be holding you back, you can unlock a new level of performance in your swing. Dive in to discover how this simple adjustment can make a world of difference on the course.

Understanding Hip Movement in the Golf Swing

Effective hip movement is pivotal in achieving a powerful and accurate golf swing. This section delves into the essential aspects of hip clearance and its role in generating swing speed.

What is Hip Clearance?

Hip clearance involves rotating the hips away from the target line during the backswing and then returning them dynamically towards the target line during the downswing.

When done correctly, this movement facilitates a powerful and efficient transfer of energy from the lower body to the upper body and, ultimately, to the golf club.

For instance, professional golfers like Dustin Johnson showcase substantial hip rotation, resulting in an open-faced hip angle at impact.

The Role of Hips in Generating Swing Speed

The hips play a crucial role in generating swing speed by initiating the downswing and creating a kinetic chain reaction throughout the body.

When the hips begin to rotate towards the target, they pull the torso, arms, and club in a seamless motion. This sequence not only increases the clubhead speed but also promotes accuracy and consistency.

If executed properly, golfers achieve high swing speeds without exerting excessive stress on the lower back, knees, or upper body, thereby reducing the risk of injury.

For example, the power turn a fundamental of the golf swing demonstrates how hip movement can add 10 to 30 yards to a drive.

Essential Tools and Equipment

Proper tools and equipment aid in mastering hip clearance in a golf swing. Here are key items that support developing efficient hip movement.

Selecting the right golf clubs facilitates optimal hip rotation. Drivers and long irons, for example, enable greater flexibility and full swings, essential for focusing on hip rotation.

Training aids accelerate progress. A hip rotation belt provides real-time feedback on hip movement. This belt shows correct alignment and rotation, ensuring consistent practice.

A swing trainer, like an alignment stick or tempo trainer, helps maintain the correct swing path and rhythm, reinforcing proper hip rotation mechanics.

Key Techniques for Clearing the Hips

Improving hip clearance is essential for maximizing power and accuracy in your golf swing. Here are essential techniques to implement into your practice.

Proper Stance and Alignment

Establishing a proper stance and alignment is the foundation for effective hip clearance. Set up your golf shot as you normally would, ensuring an athletic stance with good posture and a slight bend in the knee.

Open the Lead Foot

Point your lead toe (left toe for right-handed golfers) out slightly between 30 and 45 degrees. This adjustment opens your stance and allows for more natural hip rotation.

Adjust Lead Foot Position

Pull your lead foot back slightly so it aligns just behind the trail foot. This minor adjustment loosens your stance and promotes better hip movement.

Dynamic Hip Rotation Exercises

Incorporate dynamic hip rotation exercises into your routine to enhance flexibility and strength around the hip area, which is crucial for effective hip clearance.

Hip Wind-Ups

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Rotate your hips to one side, as if you’re winding up for a swing, then rotate them to the opposite side. Repeat for sets of 10.

Lunges with Twists

Perform forward lunges while holding a golf club horizontally at shoulder height. Twist your torso to the side of your forward leg. Return to the starting position and alternate legs. Complete 10 repetitions on each side.

Hip Swings

Standing on one leg, swing the other leg forward and backward, keeping it straight. This exercise increases the range of motion in your hips. Perform 10 swings on each leg.

Step-by-Step Guide to Clear the Hips

Clearing the hips efficiently during a golf swing involves precise steps that improve power and accuracy.

Follow this step-by-step guide to enhance your hip movement.

Address Position

Establishing a solid address position sets the foundation for a successful swing. Ensure your feet are shoulder-width apart, providing stability and balance.

Position the ball slightly forward of center in your stance, typically aligned with the instep of your left foot (for right-handed golfers) to encourage a sweeping motion through impact.

Bend your knees slightly and maintain a straight back to promote athleticism and proper posture throughout the swing.


Initiate the backswing with a controlled rotation of your shoulders away from the target while maintaining a wide arc with your arms.

Keep your lead arm (left arm for right-handed golfers) relatively straight, allowing for a full shoulder turn. Engage your core muscles to maintain stability and prevent excessive lateral movement in your lower body.

Feel the coil of your upper body against the resistance of your lower body, maximizing the potential energy stored for the downswing.


The transition from backswing to downswing is a critical moment in the golf swing. Shift your weight smoothly from your back foot to your front foot, initiating the sequence of movements that drive the club down into the ball.

Aim for a seamless transition without any pauses or jerky movements, maintaining rhythm and tempo throughout. Keep your arms in sync with your body rotation, setting the stage for a powerful and efficient downswing.


Begin the downswing by engaging your lower body, specifically your hips, to initiate the rotational movement towards the target.

Feel the weight transfer onto your front foot as your hips lead the way, unwinding the coil created during the backswing.

Keep your upper body passive initially, allowing the natural sequence of the swing to unfold. Maintain a slight lag between your lower body rotation and the release of the club, maximizing clubhead speed at impact.

Hip Clearing

As you transition into the downswing, focus on actively clearing your hips to create space for the club to swing through the impact zone.

Rotate your hips open towards the target, allowing your lead hip to move upward and outward, away from the ball.

This lateral and rotational movement clears the path for the club, promoting a inside-out swing path and facilitating solid contact with the ball.


At the moment of impact, your hips should be open towards the target, facing slightly left (for right-handed golfers), with your weight transferred onto your front foot.

Maintain a firm left side and brace against the ground to stabilize your lower body, providing a solid foundation for the energy transfer from your body to the clubhead. Strike the ball with a descending blow, compressing it against the turf for optimal trajectory and distance.


After impact, allow your hips to continue rotating towards the target as your body follows through to a full finish.

Extend your arms fully, reaching towards the target with the clubhead, and maintain your balance on your front foot.

The follow-through is a natural continuation of the swinging motion, showcasing the rhythm and flow of your swing. Hold the finish position briefly to evaluate your form and ensure a complete release of energy.

Balance and Stability

Throughout the entire swing, prioritize balance and stability to maintain control and consistency. Keep your weight centered and distribute pressure evenly across both feet at address.

Resist the temptation to sway or lunge with your hips during the swing, as it can disrupt your timing and compromise your ball-striking ability.

Focus on maintaining a stable lower body while allowing for rotational movement in your hips to generate power and leverage.


Improvement in hip clearing requires dedicated practice and repetition. Incorporate drills and exercises into your practice routine that specifically target hip mobility, rotation, and sequencing.

Focus on the sensation of clearing your hips efficiently during the downswing, rehearsing the movement until it becomes ingrained in your muscle memory. Practice with purpose and intention, seeking incremental progress over time.


Seek feedback from various sources, including video analysis, training aids, and instruction from qualified professionals. Record your swing from multiple angles to identify any flaws or inefficiencies in your hip clearing motion.

Work closely with a golf coach or instructor who can offer personalized guidance and feedback tailored to your specific needs and goals.

Embrace constructive criticism as an opportunity for growth and refinement, continually striving to enhance your hip clearing technique for improved performance on the course.

Advanced Drills to Enhance Hip Mobility

Improving hip mobility is crucial for an effective and powerful golf swing. Advanced drills help achieve this by targeting specific hip movements and flexibility.

Drill #1: The Step-Through Drill

The Step-Through Drill improves hip clearance and weight transfer. Stand in your regular golf stance and hold the club as if you are about to take a swing.

Start the drill by taking a small step with your lead foot (left foot for right-handed golfers) as you begin your backswing. Continue by stepping forward with the trail foot (right foot) during the downswing.

This motion forces your hips to clear and promotes a fluid transfer of weight. Repeat the drill 10-15 times for one session. This exercise ensures that the hips lead the movement, enhancing overall hip mobility and swing efficiency.

Drill #2: The Chair Pivot Exercise

The Chair Pivot Exercise targets hip rotation and flexibility. Begin by placing a chair behind you, with the back of the chair facing your hips.

Position yourself in your golf stance and hold a club across your chest, with your arms crossed over it. Begin the drill by rotating your hips toward the target, ensuring your left hip touches the back of the chair.

Maintain a steady posture and keep your upper body stable throughout the motion. This drill reinforces the proper rotation of the hips without excessive upper body movement.

Perform 3 sets of 15 repetitions. This exercise enhances hip mobility, allowing for a more comprehensive and efficient hip clearance in your golf swing.

Common Issues and Troubleshooting

When clearing the hips in a golf swing, several common issues may arise. Understanding these challenges and learning how to troubleshoot them can enhance performance on the course.

Addressing Limited Hip Mobility

Limited hip mobility often restricts a golfer’s ability to achieve an efficient swing. Incorporating specific exercises can help improve flexibility and range of motion.

For example:

Hip Flexor Stretches

Perform daily stretches targeting the hip flexors. One effective move is the runner’s lunge, where the individual lunges forward with one leg while keeping the back knee on the ground.

Dynamic Warm-Ups

Include dynamic stretches like leg swings and hip circles before hitting the course. These movements prime the hips for a wider range of motion during the swing.

Foam Rolling

Use a foam roller to release tightness in the hip muscles. Target the hip flexors, glutes, and surrounding muscles to improve overall hip mobility.

Correcting Over Rotation

Over rotation occurs when the hips rotate excessively during the backswing or downswing, leading to loss of control and accuracy. To correct this issue:

Range Control Drills

Use drills that focus on controlling the range of movement. For example, the Half Swing Drill emphasizes a compact backswing, reducing over rotation by focusing on control over power.

Alignment Sticks

Place alignment sticks on the ground parallel to the target line and practice swings while keeping the hips in line with the sticks. This visual aid helps prevent excessive hip rotation.

Core Strengthening

Strengthen the core muscles to support controlled rotation. Exercises like planks and Russian twists improve core stability, counteracting the tendency to over rotate.

Maintaining Hip Health and Flexibility

Healthy, flexible hips significantly enhance golf swing performance. Maintaining hip health and flexibility prevents injury and ensures efficient hip clearance during the swing.

Routine Stretching Practices for Golfers

Regular stretching routines enhance hip flexibility, contributing to better swing mechanics.

Key stretches include:

Hip Flexor Stretch

Start in a lunge position with one knee on the ground and the other foot forward. Push hips forward gently until a stretch is felt in the front hip. Hold for 20-30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.

Piriformis Stretch

Lie on your back with knees bent. Place the right ankle over the left knee. Pull the left thigh towards the chest until the stretch is felt in the right hip. Hold for 20-30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.

Seated Butterfly Stretch

Sit with the soles of your feet together. Gently press knees towards the ground until a stretch is felt in the inner thighs and hips. Hold for 20-30 seconds.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is hip movement important in a golf swing?

Hip movement is crucial for generating power and maintaining balance during a golf swing. Proper hip rotation enhances flexibility, allowing for more speed and distance in your shots, and helps prevent injuries.

What is hip clearance in a golf swing?

Hip clearance refers to the effective rotation of the hips throughout the golf swing, enabling greater clubhead speed and distance. It’s important for maintaining proper swing mechanics and preventing injuries.

How can I improve my hip clearance in a golf swing?

You can improve hip clearance by practicing exercises like the Hip Flexor Stretch, Piriformis Stretch, and Hip Wind-Ups. Consistent practice of these drills helps in achieving better hip rotation and flexibility.

Are there any specific warm-ups for better hip mobility in golf?

Yes, incorporating dynamic warm-ups like leg swings, lunges, and hip circles before playing golf can enhance hip mobility. These exercises prepare your muscles and joints for the upcoming physical activity.

Can hip exercises prevent golf-related injuries?

Yes, regular hip exercises and stretches can help prevent injuries by enhancing muscle flexibility and strength, allowing for smoother and safer movements during your golf swing.


Mastering the art of clearing the hips in the golf swing is paramount for achieving consistency, power, and accuracy on the course.

By understanding the biomechanics involved and implementing proper technique, golfers can unleash their full potential.

Clearing the hips efficiently allows for a smoother transition from backswing to downswing, generating greater clubhead speed and transferring energy effectively through the ball.

This fundamental movement also facilitates proper weight shift and promotes a more stable and balanced swing.

Ultimately, dedicated practice and focus on hip clearance can lead to improved ball striking, longer drives, and lower scores, enhancing the overall enjoyment and success of the game.

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Colin McCarthy

Golf is about mastering your misses and learning from them. I seek answers on the how and why of the golf swing, gaining experience even when answers elude me. With over 11,000 hours of teaching and a hunger for learning, I welcome any questions. My goal is to introduce golf to as many as possible, simplifying the game for all to enjoy. Passionate, eager, and ambitious, I'm here to teach, listen, and learn. LinkedIn

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