Teaching Tip: Check Your Weight

No, don’t step on a scale, although most professional golfers these days are in good physical shape. I’m talking about your weight transfer. Most beginning golfers are taught to keep their head still during a full swing. This holds true, but what most golfers don’t know is that you still need to transfer your weight from your back foot to your front foot at impact. What does this mean? Take a look:

Mid backswing weight back At impact weight back After impact weight back

Notice that when I swing the club, my head stays still, but as I reach the impact position I continue to lean backward. Most beginning and intermediate golfers do this to counter the heavy golf club swinging fast around their body. Unfortunately, this moves the point where the club impacts the ground to behind the golf ball, causing you to make larger divots, push the ball, and (if the ground is hard enough) bounce the club and blade the ball. So, how can you fix it?

Here’s the Golf Fix:

Step 1: Start by putting an iron across your waist about belt high. Hold the shaft of the iron with your fingers and put your thumbs in your pants pockets. Note that I am set up in my address position, like I am about to swing at a golf ball. You want to make sure that your golf club stays pressed against your hips at all times during this drill.

weight shift drill 1

Step 2: Start your backswing by rotating your shoulders, hips, and knees. At the same time, lift your front foot and step toward your back foot so that your feet are together at the “top of your backswing”.

weight shift drill 2

Step 3: With your feet together, lean towards the target forcing you to make a step with your left foot back to its original position. You will notice that your weight now shifts from the back foot to the front foot. Make sure to do this “weight shift” before you rotate the hips and shoulders back towards impact. Notice my chest and belt buckle still point towards my back foot, indicating I made my weight shift before I started rotating.

weight shift drill 3

Step 4: Straighten your front leg and rotate your hips and shoulders around the front leg. Your goal is to use the front leg almost as a post and rotate your weight around it. Again, note that my head has not moved much during this drill. Shifting your weight doesn’t mean you need to move your head; the majority of your power comes from the core, hips, and legs. If you can move your hips from the back of your stance to the from of your stance without moving your head, you will have more control and increased distance.

weight shift drill 4

The finished product looks like this:

Do you want me to discuss a particular part of the golf swing? Comment on this post and let me know what you are interested in!

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Teaching Tip: Straighten Up for Straighter Shots

So, you want to hit the ball straighter? Here is a quick tip to get you on your way to splitting those fairways and finding the flag stick. I compared one of my students to one of the best ball strikers that has ever lived. Below is the analysis:

If we take a look at both players’ address position, we see some similarities and also noticeable differences. I drew some colored lines on the pictures (which I will explain later) for visualization purposes.

Randy is a mid-high handicap golfer

Randy is a mid-high handicap golfer

Tiger Woods is a professional golfer

Tiger Woods is a professional golfer

First, take a look at the yellow line in each picture. I drew this line to show the relationship between foot position and balance. Most amateur golfers address the ball with a majority of their weight over their toes. This makes golfers hit behind the golf ball and when they do make good contact with the ball, it produces either a hook or a pull due to over rotation of the hands at impact or a fade without the wrist rotation. Tiger (bottom) has the back of his heels positioned directly underneath the middle of his hips, allowing him to balance his weight evenly across his feet. Randy (top) has a little bit more bend in his knees throwing his weight more towards his toes, which may feel more comfortable and stable at address, but as he swings his body tends to move more towards the ball. Here’s the Golf Fix: Address your golf ball with your knees slightly bent and allow your hands and arms to dangle freely over your toes. Push your hips backwards so that your butt is sticking out behind your heels. This might be a little uncomfortable at first, but it will help your clubhead get on plane faster.

Next, let’s look at the red line. Notice that the red line starting at the lower back of Tiger Woods is flatter than the red line starting at Randy’s lower back. This is partly caused when golfers do not shift their hips backwards at address. A steep lower back angle causes a golfer’s posture to be more upright. In Randy’s case, this forces the golfer to arch the top of his back, hunching the shoulders. An arched upper back limits a golfer’s ability to make a full shoulder rotation. Less rotation means a steeper swing, and a steeper swing means more opportunity for a golfer to hit a slice or a hook. Here’s the Golf Fix: At address, roll your shoulders back and raise your chin slightly almost as if you were doing a vertical push-up. This will broaden the shoulders and allow your left shoulder (if you are flexible enough) to turn underneath your chin during the backswing. If you combine both of these teaching tips, your swing plane should flatten out a little bit, allowing for a larger shoulder turn and a straighter ball flight.

Want more tips? Leave me a comment and let me know what part of the swing you are interested in.