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Golf Digest Logo Perfect your pivot

Tour coach explains 1 power-killing golf swing mistake—and 2 ways to fix it

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October 30, 2023

When you want to know how much horsepower a car has, you look at its engine. When you want to how powerful a golf swing is, you look at its pivot.

Your golf swing's pivot is, basically, its turn. And it is for all intents and purposes the engine of your golf swing. It's the strong muscles in your torso and the upper part of your lower body which power your arms and, by extension, the club. The general goal is to make a big, powerful, uninterrupted turn both back and through.

Amateurs, so often, have problems with their pivot. They don't load and turn correctly, which effectively stalls the engine of their golf swing. It costs them power, consistency, and good shots.

It's why players focus so much in it, and it's a topic Golf Digest Top 50 Teacher Tony Ruggiero focuses on during his most recent episode of his Pro Work series, which you can watch in full below.

There's a lot the rest of us can learn from it.

The common mistake: Sliding, not loading, your hip

Alongside renowned tour trainer Kolby Tullier, Ruggiero talks though the concept of the pivot with one of his students, a low handicap amateur golfer Ryan Lynch. Lynch comes to the group with a relatable problem: He wants and needs more distance, but is wary of undergoing a big swing change.

After analyzing a few swings, Ruggiero recognized that Lynch was making a common mistake: He was moving over to his trail side, without loading his trail side. He was sliding his hips, basically, which is a common mistake which costs amateur golfers both power and consistency.

2 drills you can use

Once they diagnosed that problem, the team got to work with two difference exercises that are common among tour players.

The first was a band around each of Lynch's need. Tullier told Lynch to push out slightly with both his knees as setup, which activated his glute muscles and "sets his pelvis" into a position which will allow him to turn his hips powerfully.

It's a good drill the rest of can use, either in the gym or on the range, to accomplish the same thing.

But that was a backswing feel. The second part of a good pivot is your turn through, and for that, Tullier and Ruggiero had Lynch drop his trail foot back, and work on turning an exercise band through with his arms. This helps strengthen the muscles in the torso and core, and gave him the feeling of turning off his right side, into his left side.

After a few reps with each, Lynch had ironed-out some of the issues with his pivot. Loading into his trail hip, then exploding through. That one-two sequence helped Lynch turn more effectively on both sides of the ball, and hit more powerful shots because of it.

Something for the rest of us to take note of, too.