Slide – The Distance Killer in Your Downswing

A slide in your downswing is the lateral movement of the lower body towards the target.

Your lower body should be stable and not move.

The hip should rotate and not slide down the line.

Although you would think that any movement towards the target would help accelerate the swing it doesn’t work that way.

The upper body needs the lower body to be stable so energy can be transferred to aid rotational power. The hips should rotate like they are in a cylinder and help pull the upper body through the ball.

If the lower body slides it robs the transfer of energy up to the chain to the upper body.

This swing fault steals power and distance from your swing.

In reality 78 % of amateur golfers has some aspect of slide in their downswing; with 31 % have an excessive amount of movement.

The other 47% push the line.

I will explain that better later in the post.


Slide in Amateurs


Amateur Golfers that Slide up to the Line

Free Guide

I have prepared a free guide to help you correct your slide. 

It lists the exercises that will help you correct limitations causing you to slide towards the target.

There are links that will take you to videos of those exercises to show you how they are done correctly.

Click the button below and enter your first name and e-mail address so I can e-mail you the free Slide Guide!

Click to Download the Guide

What is the Slide Swing Fault?

The easiest way to describe slide is to show you with pictures.

I have taken a video of my swing to show you.

To make it fun, I also have compared my swing to Dustin Johnson’s.

Who do you think has a better swing?

The comparison will show you proper and improper hip rotation.

Not All Slide is Bad – in My Opinion

You will see in the photos that I do slide, or at least cross the line that many would consider a slide.

However, that is my regular iron play, as I do not usually take a full swing with my irons.

I take a short backswing and accelerate through the ball extending the club down the line.

Right or wrong, I find that I am more accurate and have better distance control with this type of swing.

That said, it is still a good example of a slide swing fault.

I will take a video of my driver swing and make a post it to see if I’m dreaming when I say I slide with my irons on purpose or if I just do it all the time.

The best way to diagnose a slide is to take a video of your swing from the face-on position.

To see the best way to do this you can read my post, How to Video Your Golf Swing.

As you see in the photograph below I have drawn a line straight up from the outside of my ankle bone.

Slide at address position

In the next photo, I have advanced the video to the point where the club contacts the ball.

The diagnosis is simple, if your knee has moved past the line towards the target, then you have a slide swing fault.

If your knee is bisected by that line, then you are approaching the line.

If you stay behind the line, then you do not have the slide swing characteristic.

So as you can see from those images I do slide towards the target or at least approach the line with my knee.

My hips are not rotating like they should.

I am losing power because my hips are sliding towards the target and are not functioning as a stable base.

Therefore, I am not being very efficient in transferring power from the ground through my legs into my core and upper body.

Since my base is moving, the upper body can’t generate as much speed as I could if my hips turned more around my spine axis.

DJ vs. Me

In the next two photos, you will see a side-by-side comparison of Dustin Johnson’s swing and mine.

DJ’s camera angle is a little skewed towards the front. It would be better if the camera was placed more to the left.

But, the angle is still ok to show how his hips turn around his spine.

Notice how far left his hips turn at contact with the ball.

The angle between his shoulders and hips is much greater than mine. From this, you can see how much more power he is generating.

Swing Results Due to Slide

Having a Slide will decrease the power of your swing, and decrease the distance of the shot.

This is especially true on longer shots like with your driver or long irons off the tee.

With your short irons, you will most likely lose backspin since the club is not generating as much speed as it would with a full hip turn.

The forward movement of the slide can also cause inconsistent ball striking.

With a stable base, it is much easier to return the clubface square to the ball consistently.

Physical Screens

Below are the physical screens that can be used to determine if you may have a Slide swing characteristic.

Having a positive screen for a limitation does not necessarily mean that you have a particular swing characteristic, only that you have a limitation.

People who fail any of the tests below have a good general correlation for Sliding through the shot.

These are limitations that should be corrected if you want to eliminate Slide.

Lower Quarter Rotation Test

The ability to separate movement between the lower and upper body is very important in allowing the body to rotate around the hip during the downswing.

If any joint or muscle restriction stops the hip from rotating properly, it will cause the lower body to move laterally towards the target instead of rotating.

Hip rotation is best evaluated using the lower quarter rotation test.

Pelvic – Torso – Seated Truck Rotation Tests

Being able to separate rotation in the upper & lower body is important to maintain swing posture.

If the lower body can’t stabilize to allow the upper body to rotate, momentum will cause the lower body to carry through towards the target.

The two listed rotation tests above will check for this limitation.

Bridge Extension Tests

The lower body needs to be stable to stop it from moving forward or slide towards the target.

The muscles that stabilize the lead leg are the glute muscles.

You need a strong butt to stabilize the lower body and hold it there, so the upper body can be pulled and rotated around the lower body.

Think about the force produced during the swing.

It takes a strong lower body to hold it in place while the upper body and arms move through the ball.

The glutes are King in the golf swing.

The single leg bridge with leg extension test can be used to evaluate the stability of the lower body.

Other Possible Causes Leading to a Slide

There are some non-physical causes that may cause a slide. These are:

  • Poor fitting shoes that don’t provide the support to stabilize the lead leg;
  • If the ball is too far forward in the stance it may cause you to slide forward to make contact with the ball; and
  • Another swing characteristic that may cause slide is the Sway. Sway is when you move away from the ball on the backswing. This will force you to move forward just to get back to the ball.


If you slide during your swing don’t worry.

There are exercises that will strengthen your glutes and increase your mobility.

I have prepared a free guide with those exercises for you!

It lists the exercises that will help you correct limitations causing you to slide towards the target.

There are links that will take you to videos of those exercises to show you how they are done correctly.

Click the button below and enter your first name and e-mail address so I can e-mail you the free Slide Guide!

Click to Download the Guide

Swing Assessment Program

Are you slicing or hooking the golf ball? Do you think your swing is costing you distance? Are the common swing faults, like early extension, over the top, and loss of posture costing you frustration and strokes?

Did you know that your golf swing can provide clues to swing faults? 

Using two videos of your golf swing recorded with your smartphone, I can identify which of the swing characteristics you may possess.

I have developed a Swing Assessment Program to assist in determining swing faults. Correct swing faults with simple corrective exercises.

Use the buttons below to learn more.

The "Learn More" button will take you to a page on this website that describes the program in detail.

The "Visit Course Website" button will take you to the area of my website where I host my golf conditioning programs.

Learn More! Visit Course Website

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Improve Your Golf Game with


delivered right to your inbox.

Receive articles with proven methods that will improve YOUR golf fitness.