Avoiding a Lateral Slide

pro tip feature

Sliding in the golf swing occurs when the lower body moves laterally toward the target during the downswing.   If a lateral slide occurs during the downswing it is difficult to stabilize the lower body and eliminates potential power and speed. During the correct sequence in the swing, power is effectively transferred from the lower body up, not the upper body and down.  Therefore, the correct sequence starts with the lower body transferring energy to the upper body while the upper body, arms and club uncoil through the forward swing.  Without a stable lower body players lose power and inefficiently develop speed and power incorrectly.
Many players think about the rotation of the pelvis by imagining their body in a barrel. The barrel prevents a lateral sliding motion, however it allows a hip rotation throughout the swing. The proper rotation of the hips eliminates a lateral slide.

A lateral slide in the golf swing can be the result of a swing fault or physical limitation.  There are several causes that lead to a physical limitation.  The player must have the ability to rotate into the lead hip without any joint or muscular restrictions.  Without the proper rotation a lateral slide will dominate the swing.  Second, the lower body must create separation from the upper body.  The correct separation creates a stable lower body and the correct rotation of the hips and upper body.  Finally, the glutes help stabilize the lead leg during the downswing. The following drills and exercise will help teach the proper hip rotation and eliminate a lateral slide.

avoiding a lateral slide

PGA Tour pro Sean O’Hair demonstrates the proper stabilization of the lower body and lead leg throughout the swing. If there is a lateral slide the lead leg and hip would pass the yellow line.

Impact Fix Drill

Begin by addressing the golf ball in your normal set up. Next, open the hips and upper body slightly and allow the right knee to bend slightly and move a little closer to the left knee. This drill starts in the correct impact position, which begins with the left leg straight, left arm straight, firm left wrist and shaft leaning slightly forward. Next, simply swing the arms back and return to impact in the same position.

Lead Leg Drill

Preventing a slide requires stabilizing the lead leg so the body rotates properly. Begin by taking your set up, however, place your right foot back and on the toe while the majority of your weight stays on the lead leg. Next, make a few swings and feel your hips rotate and maintain stable. The lead leg acts as a post while the front pocket rotates counter clockwise. If you try to sway during the drill you will lose balance and begin to fall forward toward the target. The Lead Leg Only Swing will help improve balance and prevent you from sliding during the downswing.

Body Turns

This is a good exercise to feel the correct sequence and finish position of the golf swing. Place a club behind your neck with your hands on both ends. Stand with your feet shoulder width in an athletic set up position and rotate the left shoulder under the chin to simulate a backswing. Next, rotate the right shoulder to the left so the chest faces the target and the left leg is posted up in a straight line. The left leg should remain straight while the left hip rotates to the left. The upper body turns, left leg stays straight and left foot remains flat while the right heel comes up off the ground and the body turns to the left.