Most golfers know that to hit the ball with any power, you’ve got to use your hips. I knew about this for years, and I tried to use my hips in my swing but somehow I never got it right. Even worse, I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong. It was at the Titleist Performance Institute, at a seminar on golf biomechanics that I finally saw the light.
I had been trying to rotate my hips toward the target, but in the process I always lost my posture and ended up standing up straight at impact. What I didn’t understand for ages, but could see clearly on video, is that your spine angle at impact should mirror the angle at address. When it doesn’t, and the hips move forward during the downswing, this is called Early Extension.
Once I understood the necessity of maintaining posture throughout the swing everything changed for me. Right away I began to get a lot more consistent. I wish I had understood it years ago, but it just wasn’t really emphasized in the instruction that I was getting.
When you early extend, there’s no room for your hands to move through the hitting area. Your hips are in the way and you’ve got to make crazy adjustments to get the club on the ball. This results in thin, topped or bladed shots and in general, really horrible contact. It is impossible to hit with any power with early extension.
So how do you fix it? As Anna and I demonstrate in the video above, a great fix is the Butt on the Wall drill. Focus on maintaining your spine angle at all times, and keeping contact between your butt and the wall.
Get in your 5 Iron stance and cross your arms in front of your chest. Then back up to a wall so your butt barely touches it. It doesn’t have to be a wall, just something stable that’s at least hip height. It could be your golf cart, a tree, a sign, or as we did in our video in Spain, you can even use a little trash bin. Keep your spine angle and rotate your shoulders and hips, and maintain contact between your butt and the wall!
Once you get the feel for the wall drill, try hitting some balls on the range with the same feeling. Have a friend video you from down the line and watch to see if you maintain your address posture throughout the swing. As you get better and better with the movement, you’ll begin to feel yourself sink into your right hip on your backswing, and into your left hip on your follow through. The result is more power and consistency. Watch the video, and try it yourself!