Lateral Hip Movement in Transition: All the Great Players Have It

By Wayne | Videos: Swing Analysis

The idea that the forward swing should start with the hips squatting and that the pelvis shouldn’t slide (I would call that “Squat and Spin”) is gaining some traction with the popularity of California instructor George Gankas. I will do a video where he explains his ideas and has a “model” student hit balls on Trackman, but here my purpose is to ask why in the world would you want to do that when none of the greatest players in the history of the game have demonstrated that technique? Therefore, I have gone through my bank of model swings and taken the major champions of whom I have stable face on views to prove that in transition, with an iron or a driver, the pelvis slides forward as it changes direction from clockwise to counterclockwise, what Lee Trevino aptly called the “slide/turn”. To simplify the complex movement of the hips and pelvis for my students I have for years asked them to view the hip movement as driving 45 degrees left of the target as the swing changes direction. In reality the right side pelvic rotator muscles start the movement, but many players sense the left knee or hip initiating. It really doesn’t matter how you think about it, as long as the hips gain depth, open and move to the left, pulling the left arm against the chest as the chest stays relatively still. The movement should feel continuous, like a “hula” motion (I wasn’t very good at hula hoops), and the amount of lateral will be determined by the set -up position and the amount of pressure you want on the left side at impact.

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(4) comments

Jack May 31, 2018

Gankas can defend himself. For me, I’ll only say that when I watch his videos, the emphasis is weighted toward not necessarily keeping the hips in the box from the face on view for an excessively long time – for its own sake. It is weighted toward fixing the biggest problem among us amateurs – the goat humping move, or the standing up move in transition – which gets us stuck and produces the two way miss. Many of us do the stand up move as part of a life long bad habit of excessive targetward hip slide immediately in transition – where it is 95% targetward slide and only 5% turn to the left (initially). Then when our slide can go no more, we also tend to stop turning – or at least slow down turning the hips to the point that we stall out the turning portion well short of 45 degrees left. Or even if we get to 45 left, we get there so late that we have had to flip the club head to square it.

There is also emphasis on the rotational left (targetward) knew moving laterally toward and to the left of the target – via left femur rotation – to the left while the left knee is bent. Often his students misinterpret this at first as pointing the left knee over the left toes. He definitely does not recommend this. He’s all about getting a bent left knee out of the way to the left so that your body weight can follow it while maintaining right side bend through the hitting area.

It is more adovating the timing of the hip movement to be more like Sam Snead’s.

What he’s doing is adocating more erect posture at address, and then bending over more during the swing – and adding knee bend, especially left knee bend – and keeping it bent as you head into impact. He’s never advocated freezing the hips in the face-on box that I can recall. If he did, his ball position recommendations wouldn’t make sense, which is in line with the left breast for the irons, and in line with the left armpit for the driver.

The major difference between what he teaches, as I see it, is that he doesn’t recommend lowering in the back swing; rather he recommends the oppposite, though he claims that if you set up fairly erect at address you won’t be able to lift up very much, if at all, even when you try to do so. I get the feeling he advocates this because he is big fan of right-loading. He does recommend lowering a lot in the downswing.

He is a big advocate of getting the shaft to pass through impact and go 45 degrees left in the follow through.

In all, I think the two of you have much more in common than it may first appear.

Also I should mention that much of what Gankas teaches lines up not only with what you teach but also with the teaching style a guy from the UK that I like a lot named Dan Whittaker, whose YouTube channel you may want to take a look at.

John June 1, 2018

In the old days it was common to advise golfers to ‘turn their hips in barrel’. About 20 years ago, I read an article where the advice, more correctly was to turn in the barrel on the back swing but to smash our the side of the barrel on the downswing. When you know that 100% of good players do that – it proves the theory.

Cary June 1, 2018

I have yet to see any of his players actually not have any lateral movement with the irons, with the driver there have been many great players that have little to none lateral movement, e.g. Sam Snead.

Dean June 5, 2018

Thank you for the great video. Eye opening!

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