RBC Heritage

Harbour Town Golf Links

Unlock Extra Power By Rotating Your Hips

By Tom Watson Photos by J.D. Cuban
March 30, 2016

The movement of the hips is important for generating clubhead speed at impact. But most golf instruction focuses on how the hips unwind as the club swings into the ball. Not to be ignored is how they should rotate on the backswing.

The hands, arms and shoulders start the swing, which in turn gets the hips to rotate. Notice I said "rotate." You don't want the hips to slide. Brace on the inside of your right foot, and turn your right butt cheek behind you. Remember these keys: The right hip turns back, and the left knee moves toward the ball (below). That combination lets you fully wind the upper body, storing power that you'll use to fire the club through impact.


Hip rotation in the second half of the swing happens in a flash. As you shift your weight forward by pressing down with the left heel, your hips will slide slightly, no more than a few inches toward the target. That slide happens as the hips start to undo their backswing turn.

Your end goal in the downswing is to transfer your weight to your left heel while rotating your hips until your bellybutton faces the target. Let your hips lead the way, and you'll max out your speed at impact.

The hips take a beating over years of playing golf, which is why I had a hip replacement in 2008. Stretching and exercises that strengthen the muscles around the pelvis are important. If you must have surgery, don't think your best golf is behind you. I almost won the British Open at age 59, and I've been able to compete in the Masters every year since 1975, this one being my last.