Body in Motion: How to Pivot for the Perfect Golf Swing

Ever watched a PGA Tour pro play golf and wonder to yourself, "Man, I wish I knew how to play like them."? If you are like many of us golfers out there, chances are the answer is "Yes".

While there are many nuances to perfect if you wish to attain the level of play that you see from the professionals, one of the key elements of a golf game is the art of the pivot. This motion helps to determine how powerful and clean your shots are, and is essential to master in order to shave strokes off your score.

 In today's article, we will be taking a look at various tips that you can apply to your next game of golf to perfect your own pivot.
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Before you swing

Stance: Before addressing the ball you may wish to practice how you stand.

  • You will want to have your hands positioned with your dominant hand a little lower than the opposite one. This will help your swing to gain more power during your forward swing.
  • Much like your hands, slightly tilt your spine in the direction of your dominant hand. This will get you into position for your pivot.
  • Try to keep your legs straight in position, but not too stiff. While your legs will remain straight for the majority of the pivot, you will want to be able to move them slightly during the swing.
  • While your feet should remain planted straight on the ground, keep most of your weight on your dominant foot. This will transfer to your other foot by the end of your swing.

Practice: You will likely want to practice your pivot prior to taking your shot to make sure that you have everything perfect. Of course, you'll need to know exactly WHAT you need to practice on, as we will now describe.

The Motions of the Pivot

  • Coil the Spine: As you start your pivot, twist your spine up and away from the ball in the direction of your dominant hand. As you follow through with your swing, you will uncoil your spine so that you are facing the direction of your ball and then the direction that you want the ball to go. This motion will aid you in the rest of your swing, allowing you to move your body and club flawlessly.
  • Hands: As you swing your hands should remain in the position that you already have them holding the club, with the dominant hand slightly lower. At the peak of your back swing and follow through your hands will face opposite directions than before, with the opposite hand now facing the ground.
  • Shoulders and Arms: Your shoulders will follow the motion of your spine as you twist it and take your shot. The shoulder on your dominant arm will face a little lower to the ground prior to your swing and will move accordingly as you wind your back to take your shot.
  • In addition to your shoulders, your arms should also naturally follow the motion of your spine, moving up, down, then up again as you follow through with your shot. Try to keep your elbows from locking up and becoming stiff as well, as this can have dire effects on your shot.​​​​
  • Hips: The motion of your hips plays possibly the largest part during your pivot as it can determine the effectiveness of your shot. As you start up your back swing, pivot your hips to face away from your target.
  • As you follow through, use your hips to help move weight from your dominant foot to the other while you twist your spine and legs. At the end of your pivot, your hips should be facing forward towards your target along with your upper body.
  • Legs: Your legs will remain straight and motionless up until right before impact with your ball. As you prepare to make contact, use your legs and hips to shift weight from the dominant foot to the other, slightly bending at the knee as you do so. At the end of your swing, your legs should be pointing towards your target, with your dominant knee slightly bent and the foot on the same leg on its toes.
  • Head: Throughout most of your swing, keep your head facing downwards with your eyes staying on your ball. As you make impact with the ball you can then turn your head to keep an eye on where your ball lands.
  • Shifting Weight: As stated a few times already, it is important to shift your weight from one foot to the other during your pivot. This is because the shift in weight will help you to put more power behind your ball while keeping it on its proper path. Your weight will start mostly in the heel area of the foot on your dominant side. As you swing the weight should be transferred from the heel, to the bottom of the foot, and into the heel of the opposite foot.
  • Angling: I'm not good at geometry, so I generally try to stay away from the topic of angles altogether. But in the case of your pivot, it is good to know what angle is best for you to come down from your back swing. By rule of thumb, in this case, it is believed that the golden number for the angle of your swing is between 90 and 110 degrees.
pivot golf swing


Practice makes perfect in the case of the pivot, and with the tips above you will now be able to start focusing on the problem areas of your own pivot. Once you have this essential technique down you will be one step closer to becoming the pro you always envisioned yourself as, and be ready to play tournaments in the big leagues!