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Sway and Slide in the Golf Swing

Perhaps you've heard the term "cover the ball". 

This refers to a golfer being on top of the ball throughout their swing but especially at impact.  "Covering the ball" is accomplished by keeping your posture as you rotate your body and club head away from the ball  in your backswing then rotating down and through impact. Seems easy right?

Alas sometimes it is not easy... And the problem may not be your focus...

Now there is lateral weight shift in the golf swing but if we do it too much then we get "sway" and "slide".  Both of which can result in a poor impact position and result.

Sway refers to you moving too far off the ball in your backswing. 


Slide refers to you moving too far past the ball in your down swing and follow through.

You guessed it... One can cause the other.  

Now there is much to focus on and execute in your golf swing and its important you are not tense and thinking of 10 things while you swing.  So could you be doing one or both of these moves because you aren't focusing?  Absolutely.

However, there can be other reasons why you sway and slide.  These reasons can be physical... Remember the most important piece of equipment in your golf game is your body.

If you have poor internal rotation in your trail hip you will sway off the ball too far in order to complete your backswing.  If you have poor internal rotation in your lead hip then you will slide too far towards the target to execute your downswing and follow through.

In both these cases you are using too much lateral movement to replace rotation and your ball striking will suffer.

So what is the fix? 

Well as a TPI Certified Trainer I first would screen your body to see if you had good rotational ability in your hips.  I would also have a look to see if your glutes are firing and your hips are stable enough to handle the minimalist lateral movement required to swing effectively. 

If you failed these screens then we would start practicing exercises that would stabilize your hips as well as increase their rotational range of motion. Here are just a few of these exercises:

Half kneeling med ball bounce pass.

Hip drops.

Bird dog hip extension with external rotation.

Bird dog hip extension with internal rotation.

Over time and repetition your stability and rotation would increase and you could cover the ball more often resulting in better ball striking and playing.  I will never coach your golf swing but I will make you better at the positions and motions involved. I will help you take care of your most important piece of golf equipment - Your body.

If you have any questions about TPI and Golf Fitness please contact Chris Saini at

Happy Swinging!