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The Twist
By Erika Larkin on 3/12/14
In both the backswing and the downswing, it is important to be able to move the hips and shoulders independently from each other for proper swing sequence and power. In essence, we want to gently 'twist' to properly windup and unwind at the ball.

To practice and test your ability to accomplish this separation ad proper twisting motion, do the following:
  1. Get into your golf posture as if you were going to hit a 7-iron.

  2. Cross your arms over your chest so that your hands are on your shoulders.

  3. Try rotating (twisting) your hips back and forth (not side to side) while keeping your shoulders steady? If you cannot, have someone hold your shoulders and try again.

  4. Try rotating your shoulders back and forth while keeping your hips steady and pointed straight ahead. If you cannot do this, sit on the edge of a chair and try again.

Once you have mastered these tests (practice, practice, practice!), ask yourself if you actually accomplish the 'twist' in your swing. During the backswing, you should let your hips rotate first followed by shoulders / arms. In the downswing, once again let your hips lead just ahead of your shoulders / arms.

A great way to think about the motion without getting too mechanical is this: Imagine how a baseball pitcher unwinds to throw the ball — he plants his front foot, throws his hips forward, then his chest, and then the arm fires. That separation creates a chain reaction which creates power. Many students I see do not have this proper sequence, particularly in the downswing. Once they feel it and start to ingrain it, it makes a huge difference in the feel and results of their ball striking.

Good luck and have fun practicing your twist!


Erika Larkin is the Director of Instruction at Larkin Golf Learning Community, at Stonewall Golf Club in Gainesville, Virginia. She was named the 2012 Middle Atlantic PGA "Teacher of the Year" and the 2011 "Top Golf Pro" by Washingtonian Magazine — and she's SkyGolf's newest columnist! She writes on a variety of topics including instruction, so if you have a question for her or an idea for a column, e-mail her at ErikaLarkin@pga.com. Enjoy!


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