Hip Slide To Stay Behind The Ball

You’ve probably read a lot of golf instruction that tells you that you to stay behind the ball at impact, or at least keep you head behind it. Have you tried to do this, but found it nearly impossible? Here’s a magic move,  if you’re not already doing it, that will dramatically improve your contact, consistency and distance and who couldn’t use some of that.

Try this without a club; stand in your address posture and clasp your hands behind your back (we don’t want any distractions). Now rotate towards the target (no backswing coil yet) and pay attention to your head and your right hip. The best you can do like this is to keep your head over the ball and not behind it. Many of you will find your head chasing forward. Now focus on your right hip, it moves outward towards the ball from the get-go. Imagine how easy it would be to come over the top with this type of motion and/or to ‘chase after the ball’.

Now let’s try something a little different. Assume the same position. This time ‘bump’ or laterally slide your hips forward first (parallel with the target line) and then rotate. Make sure you keep your head where it started when you ‘do the bump’. If you do this correctly your spine tilts slightly backwards. This makes sense if your hips go forward (bottom of the spine) and the head stays where it started (top of the spine) The Ben Hogan swing sequence above shows the lateral hip slide very clearly.

Here’s where it gets interesting. What happens to your right hip and head as you rotate after you’ve done the lateral slide? Your left hip has to move away from the ball as you start to rotate or you’ll fall forward. The right hip moves forward and then rotates, which means it doesn’t move towards the ball very much, if at all, and you’ll feel how it’s no problem to keep your head behind the ball at impact. This move allows you to open up a big space to attack the ball from the inside on your downswing. It also starts the critical weight shift to your front foot.

When you do the lateral slide and create a natural backward lean of the spine, you’ll begin to feel how this move automatically moves the club down and into the slot. Once it’s there rotate and you’ll create a downswing that comes from the inside – right where you want it. You’ll also be able to drive forward off the back leg as you move toward contact. In fact, it starts to happen automatically as soon as you start the lateral shift. 

Play around with this at home. First alternate both moves so you can feel where the differences are. Do it at slow speed. After awhile you can add some backswing coil, still without a club in your hands. Now’s the time to start learning this move so it that will be automatic by the time the season starts. You’re going to love the results!

  • Grahame

    “This time ‘bump’ or laterally slide your hips forward first (parallel with the target line) and then rotate”
    What do you mean by “and then rotate”? Is this hips or torso?

    Kind Regards,


  • Deek

    Grahame, if you have properly coiled in your backswing, you have turned your shoulders more than your hips. As you ‘bump’ out your hip and drop the shaft of the club as your first move on the downswing, you maintain or even increase the difference between the shoulder and hip turns. This keeps your big torso muscles coiled or twisted and this is where real power comes from. This also gets the hips out of the way or ‘cleared’ so you have room to attack the ball from an inside path with your club. If you maintain the coil and the wrist cock until you get the club into the slot, then you can just rotate everything through impact. The club should stay in front of your breastbone into impact. Don’t forget to drive your rear shoulder down and through at impact ala Dustin Johnson or Lee Trevino. Hope this helps. John

  • Alex C.

    While i agree that there indeed needs to be a bump, it’s not as much as these pictures indicate. Don’t forget in the first image, his right hip has rotated to the right and so his is not facing the camera. In the last image, has rotated and is facing the camera, and so his left hip has to be more forward. A better representation would be if the first picture was at address and you drew the lines then. The secret is that all the bump is, is “3 inches” — how do I know this, because Mr. Hogan always said that the bottom of your divot should be 3 inches in front of the ball, bump = 3 inches. That’s a pearl right there.

  • I also like Hogan’s observation that the ELBOWS must stay connected with the torso.

  • Great article,

    This is something that I have been working on recently. It helps create more of a draw ball flight and eliminates the push/slice golf shot. It also helps create a much more solid ball contact for all your shots.


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  • Paul Macleod

    this is the magic move in Penick’s book.. the little red book.. although it sounds easy enough, it does take some serious practice to incoporate this move in your swing.. but it does work, make no bones about that, make sure your head does not move toward the target.. the club will seek it’s proper position from the inside to outside and you, likely, will see the ball move right to left instead of that big ole slice.