Steady Your Shot: Expert Tips on How to Stop Swaying in The Golf Swing

Are you losing control over your golf shots due to sway? It’s a very common problem and oftentimes caused by a physical limitation that you may not even be aware of. But it’s something that you can easily overcome.

I’ll walk you through how to assess the root cause of your sway, then provide actionable tips to help you stop swaying in the golf swing.

Understanding Sway in the Golf Swing

Sway in the golf swing describes the excessive lateral movement of the lower body, particularly the golfer’s pelvis moving away from the target during the backswing.

This swing error causes a chain reaction that impacts ball control. It contributes to inconsistent contact with the golf ball, reduced power and distance, and even poses potential injury risk.

Swaying in the golf swing can be due to a lack of understanding of good swing mechanics, perhaps in beginners, or it can be caused as a natural response to limited hip mobility.

Diagnosing the Cause of Your Sway

If you want to stop swaying, we need to determine if the cause of your sway is due to a lack of ability to rotate properly. This simple test can also be used as a drill to help you stop swaying permanently.

  1. Set an alignment rod pointing toward your target line.

  2. Place your 6-iron against the alignment rod, matching the sole of the club to the target line.

  3. Place your back foot at the intersection and get into your normal golf stance.

  4. Place another alignment rod across your waist, ideally through your belt loops

  5. Rotate into your backswing and observe the angle of the alignment rod on your waist versus the angle of your 6-iron. Attempt to match the angle.

Diagnosing cause of swaying in the golf swing using a 6-Iron and alignment rod. Image has a caption instructing the reader to "match this angle with your hips"

If you are unable to get the alignment rod on your waist to match the angle of your 6-iron, you have a limitation in your mobility. Details on how to get around limited mobility are provided in the next section.

Otherwise, if you can get the angles to match, you just need to work on your swing mechanics and can skip to the drills.

Workarounds For Limited Mobility

If the sway in your golf swing is being caused by a lack of hip mobility, there are a couple of things you can do very easily to immediately correct this.

Slightly flare your back foot, just turn your toes an inch or so away from your target. Then check your range of motion again with the alignment rods and your 6-iron. Note – you can also do this with your front foot to assist in your follow through if you struggle with your mobility there.

If you’re still coming up short…

Drop your trail foot back a few inches. You’ll want to line up to your target line as you normally would, then bring that back foot a few inches directly behind you.

If you have limited mobility, it is also recommended to see a medical professional who can assess your situation further and provide you with exercises or stretches to help get your mobility back. A Chiropractor, Sports Medicine Doctor, or Physical Therapist are usually great options.

Drills to Help You Stop Swaying in The Golf Swing

There are a few very simple drills you can do to help you stop swaying. Three are designed to get your right hip (for righties) to rotate properly, while the other is more of a reality check. What you “feel” versus what is happening are often much different.

Mirror Check Drill

The Mirror Check Drill is a simple yet effective method to monitor your stance and body movement during the swing. By standing in front of a mirror and practicing your swing, you can visually check for any excessive lateral movement indicating sway.

This exercise facilitates immediate adjustment of your posture as you observe yourself.

Alternatively, you can use a camera or smartphone to record full swings, allowing you to see any swing error, including sway.

Upper Body Rotation

Using an alignment rod, a club, or even just placing your hands across your chest, you can work on your upper body rotation. Use the club for a bit of stability, place it across your chest, just under your shoulders and pointing at your target line.

Bend slightly as if you are in an address position to hit a golf shot, then simply rotate your upper body. Stay focused on rotation, not sway. You’ll likely feel a stretch as you do this, this is a good thing.

The guys over at Me and My Golf do a great job showing how this drill should be done.

You can incorporate this into your warmup routine before any round of golf.

Butt Swipe Drill

All you need for this one is a club and a wall. Stand in front of the wall, at an address position as if you are lining up to take a golf swing. Move yourself back into the wall so your rear end is just against the wall.

Now, slowly move into your backswing (being careful not to bang your golf club into the wall). Your butt cheek that is away from the target should drag across the wall towards your target.

By having slight contact with the wall, you can feel the direction your hips are turning and be certain you are rotating properly instead of swaying.

Vertical Alignment Rod

If you are somewhere you can stick an alignment rod into the ground, you’ll want to place the alignment rod vertically, making it so it is standing straight up from the ground.

Now, address the ball as if you are going to take a golf swing, while placing your trail hip very close to the rod. Your objective is to rotate without shifting your weight into the rod.

Your body may actually feel like it is moving away from the rod as you do this.

Personalized Strategies to Halt Swaying

These drills and tips are general advice that may help most golfers struggling to stop swaying.

Customized strategies can offer a bespoke approach to sway elimination. Online coaching programs offer personalized guidance, helping golfers understand their game, prioritize improvement, and create a customized roadmap to progress in areas like swaying correction. Such programs can provide a personalized library of content for golfers, encompassing coaching plans, practice routines, and fitness regimens, all aimed at enhancing different facets of the game, including the mitigation of sway.

I have found the programs at Me and My Golf to be incredibly helpful for my game.

Integrating Tech & Feedback

Taking advantage of virtual swing analysis from professional coaches, or simply recording your own swing for self diagnosis can be surprisingly revealing.

What your golf swing “feels” like versus what you are actually doing are usually vastly different. You can learn a lot from taking advantage of the swing technology we have available to us today.

That being said, use this data wisely! If you’ve been playing golf for a lot of years, there are years worth of habits that can be difficult to change. I would not recommend doing wholesale swing changes.

Use the data, make some adjustments during practice sessions and see what resonates with you.

Swing Consistency and On-Course Application

If you are trying to stop swaying, or address any swing error for that matter, it is best to do it during practice sessions and “just play” when you get out on the course.

You can certainly think about it and go through the motions in practice swings, but when it comes time to take the real swing, I have found that it is best to just let it go and let your body do what is natural.

What you’ll find is, as you start practicing something that does not feel natural, it will start to become natural over time. You’ll start incorporating it into your regular swing before you know it.


Ok, if you believe you need to stop swaying in the golf swing first check to see if it is due to a physical limitation. Check your mobility with the rod and club setup I mentioned above. Flare or drop your rear foot if necessary.

Then, work on some drills to engrain the change into your practice swings. Pick one of the drills, all of which help you rotate with the hips, and ideally take video of yourself to gain additional feedback.

As with any swing change, it can take time to make improvements, so create a plan, stick to it, and “just play” when you are out on the golf course.

As I’ve worked through changes over the years, I like to do practice sessions where I am just going through all of the motions slowly, feeling each point. Then I’ll hit some golf balls while trying to incorporate what I’ve been practicing. This approach seems to work well for me, especially when combining it with video.

Good luck on the golf course!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I stop swaying when golfing?

First, you must diagnose whether your sway is a result of limited mobility. If it is, you can make slight adjustments such as flaring your trail foot, or even dropping your trail foot back to increase hip mobility. Then, focus on rotating your hips as opposed to shifting your weight. If you concentrate on turning your back toward your target in your backswing, and imagine your weight transfer is going to your lead foot in the backswing, this can help you rotate as opposed to swaying.

How do I stay steady in my golf swing?

You’ll see a lot of advice saying to keep your head steady during the swing, but this is largely erroneous. For a good athletic swing, your head is certainly going to move a bit. You cannot be so rigid in your swing that the head stays in some imaginary circle. For someone who sways in the golf swing, the head will move away from the target. Instead of focusing on the head, focus on your hip rotation and your head will likely feel as if it is going forward as you continue through your backswing.

Why can’t I stop swaying?

If you are actively working to stop swaying, but find it difficult, this is very likely due to a limitation in your mobility. Your hips aren’t allowing your body to turn, so you naturally sway to make up the difference. Check your mobility with an alignment rod and 6-iron. Place the rod online with your target, then place the golf club sole against the rod so the shaft is pointing behind you. Now use another club or rod across your belt line and attempt to rotate your hips to match the angle of the 6-iron. If you cannot get there, you don’t have enough mobility to rotate properly and may need to flare or drop your trail foot to increase that range of motion.

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