The golf swing involves a specific sequence of movements that must be in the correct order and at the proper speed to get good results. Part of this sequence -- the movement of the hips -- is essential to generating power and keeping the club on the correct swing path. Practice a few basic drills and you will be well on your way to keeping your hips from jumping ahead in the sequence.
The Role of the Hips
Ben Hogan writes that the hips are key to initiating the downswing. A common mistake among amateurs is that the arms and shoulders should be the first parts of the body to move from the top of the backswing. Although the hips do begin the downswing move, leading the sequence, firing them too quickly can lead to the upper body lagging behind. When the upper body falls behind in the downswing, it becomes virtually impossible for the clubhead to catch up and become square to the target at impact.
Rotate, Not Slide
PGA professional T.J. Tomasi makes the point on the Golf Tips website that the hips should rotate rather than slide going into the downswing. Hips that slide toward the target not only throw off the proper sequence of upper body closely following the hips, but also causes the spine to move toward the target, which further disrupts the swing path of the club. True rotation of the hips in the golf swing will result in your belt buckle facing the target at the end of the follow through.
Hip Turn Drill
A helpful drill to familiarize you with the feeling of properly paced hip rotation is reported by Brad Brewer on Golf Channel's website. Place a golf club across your hips, parallel to the ground and hold it in place with one hand on each side. Assume your ready position and practice rotating your hips slightly to the right as you would in a backswing and then rotate back fully to the left with your belt buckle facing the target. You should feel this rotation coming from the ground up, with legs driving the turn to move the hips at the proper pace.
On the Knees
Renowned golf instructor Jim McLean advocates a drill in which you practice hitting balls while on your knees. Using the driver for this drill will be easiest, as it encourages a flatter swing plane than shorter clubs. Take some time to acquaint yourself with the adjusted swing you'll need to make to hit balls from this position. Once you're ready, make balanced swings, not trying to hit the ball too far. This drill will force your lower body to be quieter and keep the hips from firing too quickly or sliding out of position.