One of the Most Common Swing Mistakes: SWAY

Robin Berry
Owner and Personal Trainer
Fit To You
Scottsdale, AZ

More Information

"Hi. Scott Sackett here, Golf Magazine Top 100 PGA Instructor, and the writer you usually find in this column. Let me introduce a helpful column replacing my column for the next few issues. Some of the most common golf swing issues may be caused by a flexibility, balance, or strength issue, which can be remediated with an exercise or two. In this column you will be hearing from Robin L. Berry, owner and personal trainer with Fit To You, a mobile fitness training service. Robin is National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified, and Titleist Performance Institute trained to help you with just these types of swing corrections.”

Physical conditioning has been a big addition to the game of golf. Many golfers are now interested in working on developing or improving aspects of body motion that can affect golf swing performance. Here is a great way to improve on one of the most common swing mistakes: SWAY.

A sway is an excessive lower body lateral movement, away from the target during the backswing, that forces a weight transfer to the outside of the back foot. So, for a right-handed golfer, this is a lateral lower body movement to the right on the backswing.

There are a couple of physical characteristics that can be developed, through a series of exercises, in order NOT to sway in the backswing. One is to develop more hip flexibility by working on hip rotation. Lateral movement will dominate your backswing if the body is unable to rotate around the hip. Another is to develop the ability to disassociate upper body motion from lower body motion, maintaining lower body stability. This will allow the lower body to laterally stabilize while rotating into a large shoulder turn in the backswing. And, a third is to develop the ability to roll the ankles without moving the knees, providing the ability to laterally stabilize the right leg during the backswing.

Here are three exercises to help you learn to rotate in the hip, and maintain lower body stability, avoiding a sway.

HIP FLEXIBILITY –  Work on hip circles to improve hip rotation and flexibility.

Get on all fours (hands and knees) and draw in your stomach to stabilize your core muscles. Lift one leg outward and make the biggest circular motion possible, without losing your stability, for about 8 circles. Repeat with the other leg. (Hint: the motion is as though you were drawing a big circle with your knee)

LOWER BODY STABILITY –  Work on torso turns on one leg to develop the ability to disassociate upper body motion from lower body motion, thus sustaining lower body stability. (An added bonus…this also helps with hip rotation and flexibility!)  

Stand on one leg, cross your arms over your chest, and get into your golf posture at address (meaning, bending at the knees and creating the proper spine angle). Try to rotate the torso ONLY, back and forth for about 25 seconds, without moving the lower body. Repeat on the other leg. (Hint: if this is difficult do the same torso motion standing on both legs instead of one)

STABILIZE THE RIGHT LEG – Work on ankle rolls to provide the flexibility needed to stabilize the right leg during the backswing.

Sit in a chair, feet flat on the floor, and place both fists securely between your knees, holding onto the front of the chair. Roll the ankles, one at a time, back and forth by moving to the outside of your foot and then to the inside of your foot – all without separating the fists and knees. Perform 8 rolls on each foot.

Do these exercises three times a week, and see great improvements in both your physical abilities and your golf swing!

Robin L. Berry is owner, manager and personal trainer of Fit To You, LLC, a mobile fitness training service. Robin is a National Academy of Sports Medicine certified personal trainer and is trained in golf fitness by Titleist Performance Institute. If you would like to reach Robin, visit or email