Learning to manage and control your body weight during the golf swing is possibly the single most important thing to learn to help you develop the best swing mechanics for you.
How do you know if you’re controlling your body weight properly?
Your feet are the best area to give you feedback as to what’s happening with your body weight.
Obviously, during the golf swing, we are moving quite quickly and you may not be aware of what’s happening between your feet and the ground. But this is a vital place to learn about controlling your body weight and, therefore, it’s important to slow down to develop this awareness and feedback.
Moving your weight well but slower will give you more consistent power than going fast but with poor control of your weight.
In today’s article, we’re going to look at one particular area of the golf swing, and how you should move your body weight to enhance your ability to hit accurate and solid shots. That area is the initial part of your downswing.
How and where you move your body weight during this part of the swing can really affect the timing of your golf swing. Do it well, and your arms and club will come through last, just like the best tour players; move your weight in the wrong way and you will likely over-use your wrists, hands and shoulders to try and connect properly with the ball, but invariably this type of timing sends your shots astray.
So, let’s now look at what a good move and a poor one look like. It is important for you to feel both to enhance your learning and groove a better movement over time.
I will start each demonstration from a ‘good’ backswing position, where my hips have rotated and my weight has shifted to favour my right side.
Top of back swing
In this first image, my focus is to make sure that my mid-section (hips and pelvis) moves in a relatively straight line to begin the downswing. During this first move, my hips unwind a little but not that much – this allows me to move my weight from the right foot towards the left foot, but, very importantly, I’m balanced on top of my feet. This control of my body weight and feeling how it works on my feet will give me the best timing in my swing.
Now let’s look at a very common poor move … again, from a good top of the backswing position, I’ve opened my hips too early, my weight is travelling sharply towards my left heel, which makes me unorganised and unsteady on my feet. In response to this, I will have to overuse my wrists and shoulders to try and connect properly with the ball, but, as mentioned above, invariably this doesn’t work.
Weight into left heel
Let’s look at another example, again from a good top of the backswing position. On this occasion, I have moved my weight forward towards my toes. This causes what is often referred to as an ‘early extension’.
My weight has really left the centre of my feet and is not moving in the direction of the target but, in this case, towards the ball, which once again causes me to overuse the wrists and arms to try and correct this poor movement with my weight.
Weight forward to toes – early extension
Now, for the sake of clarity, because the golf swing is an arc, your body weight will also trace an arc, but, from my experience, most golfers are trying to ‘over-turn’ and this throws their body weight off, meaning they are not well organised on their feet, and this is what leads to compensations with the hands, wrists and shoulders.
Learn to move your body weight well, as described above, and you will hit more solid shots and you will complete your swing in a balanced, compact way.
Finish of swing
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Scott Cranfield is a PGA Master Coach. For over 30 years, he has dedicated his life to helping golfers achieve their goals through a natural approach that embraces the true laws of how the human mind and body work. Scott’s unique approach has led to the creation of multiple training programmes, and the experience of coaching every standard of golfer from complete beginners through to Ryder Cup players. As well as enjoying a long TV career with Sky Sports and Setanta TV, in 2011 Scott was honoured with the award of PGA Master Professional & Coach.