Unlocking Your Swing Installment 3: Slide

Over the past two weeks, we've broken down the static swing characteristics that could be present in your golf swing. You can read those here: S-Posture and C-Posture. Today's post features an awesome collaboration with Adam Kolloff, Director of Instruction at the Jim McLean Golf School at Liberty National, who helps break down what a slide is and how it can alter your swing. Enjoy!

A common mistake in the golf swing is sliding on the downswing. The slide characteristic usually occurs when you haven't learned how to rotate efficiently with the lower half. Today, I'd like to break down how I diagnose and correct sliding, which I see in most golf swings.

While analyzing swings, I often check how far the lead hip travels laterally prior to impact, which helps me assess whether or not the golfer is sliding. The following clip will demonstrate a swing without slide and a golf swing with slide. Focus closely on the lead hip at ball impact with both swings. When the lead hip travels to the outside of the foot prior to impact, that's a slide.

When sliding, we create a false sense of rotation. When we compensate with lateral movement, the result can lead to fat or thin shots, heel contact, pushes, and hooks.

There are several ways to improve a slide. To start, you should focus on proper balance prior to rotation with the lower body on the downswing. In the video below, I break down three of my go-to drills to help eliminate the slide in my clients swings.

Here's a recap of each drill and the key points that you should be concentrating on:

1.) Feet Together

Start off with a narrow stance (about one club head width apart) and practice 3/4 shots without losing balance. This will be challenging at first for those of you that slide, because you won't be able to maintain balance at ball strike and follow through. You should practice this drill until you can consistently maintain balance through the finish.

2.) Static Hip Rotation

Setup to the golf ball and rotate your hips as much as you can while keeping the club head behind the ball. It's important to understand that you're not moving your club in this drill, just the hips. This drill will help you feel the lower body rotate independently of your upper body. The more rotation you can feel, the better. Remember, we're looking for rotation, not lateral movement.

3.) Slam the Heel

Swing the club back and lift the lead heel in the backswing. On the downswing, focus on driving that same heel into the ground and rotating through the lead hip. This will help you firm up the front side, forcing rotation through the hips. Golfers that slide typically do not understand how to do this. Continue to practice this drill until you can consistently create a firm left side after impact. 

Another way we can improve our ability to avoid sliding is through medicine ball drills in the weight room. Two of the best ways to create context for proper hip rotation are through Split Stance Anti-Rotation Medicine Ball Scoop Tosses and Medicine Ball Scoop Tosses, which you can see in the video below.

Keep in mind, there might be situations where these drills will not fix your slide. In these cases, you might have a mobility restriction that needs to be addressed. While your best option is to seek out an evaluation to assess your movement capacity, here are two drills that you can perform to help improve your current limitations over time. Keep in mind that these are not quick fixes and have to be performed consistently to really make a true change.

About the Contributor

Hey there, I'm Adam. I am a class A PGA Professional that teaches full time as the Director of Instruction at the Jim McLean Golf School located at Liberty National Golf Course in Jersey City, NJ. I was recently selected by Golf Digest as one of America's Best Young Teachers. Prior to moving to New Jersey, I lived in Miami and worked under Jim McLean at Trump National Doral for 3 years. In 2015, I published a book with Jim McLean called The Ultimate Guide to Trackman Swing Analysis. It’s been widely used by golf professionals across the U.S. and around the world. Teaching is not just my job, it's my passion! Here's the link to my Instagram and website, where I post drills that can help you improve your golf swing.

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