One of the biggest factors to hitting the golf ball well pertains to rotation of the hips.
On the backswing, the hips must rotate back. The hips must then come back and through on the downswing/follow through to hit the ball straight.
Getting the hips moving can also add plenty of distance to the ball.
Most recreational golfers do not have the hip rotation needed for an efficient golf swing.
The golf swing might seem like it is a single sided movement. No one hits from both sides of the ball.
The pelvis rotates both ways, however. More movement occurs on the follow through but there is rotation going back, away from the target.
This is important because balanced mobility among the rotators of the hip will be helpful in swinging the club.
The hip has two kinds of rotators: internal and external.
I am not going to get too in depth in the specific muscles that work to move the hips because the approach does not require that information.
The internal rotators turn the femur counter clockwise and the external rotators cause a clockwise rotation.
Picture your leg and foot as one long pipe. If you turn the pipe clockwise, that is what the bones are doing in external rotation.
During the golf swing, one legs internal rotators work in opposition to the other legs external rotators.
The backswing requires external rotation of the front leg but more importantly, internal rotation of the trail leg. A lack of internal rotation is going to make the turn harder to accomplish.
If the hips are not mobile enough to make this turn then other structures must pick up the slack.
The thoracic spine must then take the brunt of the load. Restrictions in hip and t spine rotation cause flexion at the back and dropping of the shoulders to get the turn. These two compensations can create disaster in the swing.
The lead shoulder dropping, specifically, is a big factor in hitting the ball fat or chunky.
On the downswing and follow through the trail leg must externally rotate and the front leg must internally rotate. The ball will not be on line when the hips cannot get through the ball.
The result can be both slices and hooks because the hands will get out of rhythm when the hips are not turning.
So now that we have determined that pretty much anyway you can miss a shot can somehow relate back to the hips, let’s look at how to make them more mobile.
I do not think there is a need for static stretching to increase hip mobility.
Restrictions usually exit in the hips due to reasons other than tight muscles.
The abdominals and obliques are two areas that can make or break hip mobility.
It’s almost as if developing stability in those areas “unlocks” the hips.
Lateral core stability is a big factor in hip internal rotation. This can be tested with a seated hip internal rotation test.
Sit on the edge on a chair, table, or box with the feet hanging. Without leaving the surface of the table, etc. swivel the foot inwards and then outwards.
Rotating out (internal rotation) could be much less. If that is the case the imbalance can be limiting your swing.
Next perform side planks: 8 second holds with 2 seconds rest for 5 reps on each side.
If the retest is better than the original test for internal rotation then a weak lateral core is limiting your hip range of motion.
The core is supposed to be stable. When it is weak, it loses stability. Instability in the core means that the hips must then become stable instead of mobile to compensate.
This is how activating the core increases hip rotation.
The same goes for hip external rotation. People do not typically test too poorly into external rotation unless they have imbalanced lifestyles or a structural block.
Hockey goalies are one population that lives in internal rotation and therefore does not do too well with external.
Anterior core stability helps to improve external rotation. This can be done with planks or rollouts to improve hip mobility.
Training the core is one of the best ways to increase hip mobility. Again, the hips are built more mobility. When they are forced to compensate as stabilizers, we lose performance.
Increase your core strength to increase performance in the golf swing.