One of the most misunderstood movements of the golf swing is the pivot on the backswing. Actually, unless the player is Very young or unusually agile, I advocate a lateral shift of weight rather than a corkscrew pivot. For golfers who have had bad backs or are getting on in age, this lateral shift is far more effective. For golfers of all ages, it is much more conducive to good balance.

To achieve a lateral shift, the player should take the club head back in a straight line until his hands get hip high. Then, the cocking of the wrists and the normal coiling of the hips will put the player in a hitting position at the top of the backswing where he will not only have excellent balance but will also be able to keep the club head on line through the ball much longer than otherwise. This makes for straighter and longer shots. I have seen golfers over 60 years of age outdriving men 20 years younger because they used a correct lateral shift.

By lateral shift I do not mean lateral sway. Nor do I mean not turning the hips. What the lateral shift means is this: a moderate hip turn, with the back and the shoulders making a more restrained turn than in the corkscrew type of pivot.

from JIMMY HINES Thunderbird CC, Palm Springs, Calif.