The Rory McIlroy Hip Stall

First off, if any of you get the sense I am saying Rory McIlroy has a bad golf swing during this article, start over and realize it’s an indictment of golf instruction on the micro and macro levels.

In the last month I have seen nearly a dozen people practicing a mid downswing hip stall. I knew exactly what they were doing, but to make sure, I asked one of them. I got the answer I expected.

“I read (heard) that Rory McIlroy generates club head speed and power by stalling his hips.”

It’s times like this the public is lucky I find penitentiary a deterrent, or else I would go on an 11 state spree of violence. The intent of which is to incapacitate the purveyors of this stupidity on unsuspecting seekers of distance.

Rory McIlroy stalls his hips for one reason and one reason only. His hips are very fast, out race his arms in transition and the hips stall to allow his arms to catch up. When his backswing hip turn is light, this is exacerbated. See the 10th hole Sunday at the 2011 Masters for an example of the perils of this Pauline.

This is a case where a great player has learned over thousands of hours to overcome something the average golfer cannot.

However, in this era of copying the anomalies of great players, we have people who do not understand the swing very well, promoting these anomalies as the reason for greatness, instead of realizing the greatness is in spite of these “magic moves.”

There is one important thing in the golf swing. Linking the arms with the rotation of the body. All of this hip restriction for X-factor, leading with the lower body and leaving the arms behind, ring the bell, hold the lag…do two things.

They make it nearly impossible to link the arms up…and create the need for a hip stall. That is why McIlroy stalls his hips. He has minimal backswing hip turn and fires them really fast and leaves his arms behind. The big difference is Rory is athletic enough to speed up his arms and stall his hips to somehow link up at impact. This makes him great, not the move…which is why you don’t copy the moves of great players.

Rory has a little of what I call the 68 ballerina move. He makes it work, most can’t.

No one has a perfect swing and the odds of learning to compensate the same way the guy you’re trying to copy did?…..might as well risk your financial future on a lottery ticket.

Maybe we should copy the way he tilts his head at impact with his right ear glued to his right shoulder…or maybe these things are just a result of the body reacting during a dynamic move in an attempt to create the best ball contact.

PS-Next article will be on what a 68 ballerina move is. Hint….you have seen it recently here.




  1. TG

    Great post Monte! Rory plays so well ‘inspite’ of his hips, not because of it. Rory was more than likely brought up firing those hips so hard because he was told to clear those hips as fast as possible and has now had to adapt his action to coping with them – but what a fine job he does with that! It’s fine testament to his ability that he’s been able to become so good with this type flaw in his game and manages it to his advantage.

    The ironic thing is thousands around the world try to groove his hip stall, and yet Rory probably pro actively manages this every day in practice to try and reduce it and keep ontop of it – something he’ll probably need to do his whole life as it’s ‘his bad habit’. It’s kinda comforting to think we all have them though.

  2. Jake G

    Great post. Guessing the 68 ballerina is something along the lines of arms at p6 and hips already at p8 and up on the toes? I have also seen several people on the range practicing this hip stall. Crazy how bad majority of instruction is!

  3. Calvin

    I always forget to stall my hips.

  4. Geoff Dickson

    A conscious move to stall you hips during a downswing that takes a few tenths of a second?……it just ain’t happening.

  5. Daniel

    Another view of the hip stall might have something to do with his kinetic link. Many a good player generates power from the ground up. Heard that before? To transfer the power, the hips must stall momentarily to pass on energy to the shoulders which then momentarily stall and pass it onto the arms, then stall and pass it onto the hands and the club driving into impact. Do it in that order (we all do arms first!) and you’ll hit it far, consistent and with compression.
    Watch a heap of clips good and bad and many do it. Throw a ball, your hips will stall, chop a tree, your hips will stall. It’s linking inherent to human movement. Sure, you shouldn’t actively try doing it, it happens when you’re using ground forces to generate power. It’s a good move but you need to know what you’re doing. Good article though.


Leave a Reply

Share This