A lot of students come to me saying that they are struggling with consistency through the set. I then ask them what their common bad shot is and the four most popular answers are:

  1. a push slice

  2. a thin to topped shot

  3. a fat shot, or

  4. a pulled shot straight left.

If any of these apply to you, keep reading!


As we all know, the hips play an integral part of the golf swing but it’s how we use them that is the key. A lot of people’s misuse of the hips comes from the common fault of literally trying to help the golf ball off the ground into the air. Most people that take the game up will come from sports where they are used to hitting an ascending ball, catching a ball that is falling out of the sky or not even using a ball at all! What actually gets the golf ball in the air is the club-head travelling on one arc going back and returning back on the same arc. The natural loft of the club is what actually gets the ball in the air.

When we use our lower body, or more specifically our hips, to try and control the swing, we risk the club not travelling on the same arc and more often than not, taking on a different path.

I am going to explain four of the common bad shots and why a lateral hip slide causes them. With each of the scenarios let’s assume there has been a slight sway to the right during the backswing.

common bad golf shot #1 Push slice


This occurs when the left hip laterally moves to the left without any rotation, the hips therefore outrace the golf club, leaving it behind with only the heel of the club being able to make contact. Once the heel gets to the ball, this generates a large amount of sidespin and the ball can only go right.

common bad golf shot #2 Thin shot


Again the hips are leading the way on the downswing, but this time as they slide they force the left shoulder to pull up with them. Once that left shoulder pulls up, it takes everything up with it and the club is only able to make contact above the equator of the golf ball.

common bad golf shot #3 Fat shot


We again have laterally moving hips leaving the club behind, but this time the hands want to do something about it! More often than not though, the hands will do too much and accelerate the club past the hands and cause either a fat shot with the irons or a scooped or skied shot with the woods.

common bad golf shot #4 Pulled shot


This is the bad shot for most people that will actually feel the best but just go way to the left! It is those laterally sliding hips again outracing the club, but this time they move so far to the left that they leave the body and arms behind. The arms and hands then overdo it, literally whip around the body with a lot of acceleration with the toe racing past the heel of the club sending the ball straight left.


Quite simply we have to try and isolate the hips and give them more of a supporting role. When you set up, feel really strong in your lower half and feel like the turn that you make on your backswing is only generated through your shoulders, more so with the left shoulder. Remember that the shoulder turn will always naturally rotate the hips going back.

Once you feel like the shoulders can’t turn anymore, feel a slight pause at the top of the backswing and then initiate the downswing with rotating (not sliding or laterally moving) hips and an accelerating upper body. We want that club to get to the ball before sliding hips! The arms should naturally move down the chest and a natural rotation should occur through the upper body, moving the lower body in a rotating movement with it.

*Note that there must be some lateral movement with the hips towards the left but at no point should the left hip get any higher than the right*

All of a sudden we will have a feeling that the body is moving to the ball with both the arms and the lower half (hips) synced and well timed.


Half swings are always a good way to get this feeling and build up the timing, as well as a relationship between the arms and the rest of the body.

When you’d like for me to take a look at your swing, come see me at the Sydney Golf Academy, Moore Park Driving Range (Wed – Sat).

I am always happy to help and answer any questions.

You will be redirected to the Sydney Golf Academy site. Simply choose your preferred lesson or package and select ‘Bobby Walia’ as your instructor at time of booking.


hi, I’m Bobby Walia

Bobby is fast earning a reputation as one of the best and most innovative golf coaches in Australia. He brings over 15 years of international experience to his teaching. From playing professionally on the Sunshine Tour in South Africa, to his adventures studying and coaching in San Diego and Berlin, Bobby has also hosted clients on many of the world's best golf courses.

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