by Frank Peter
The following Golf Lesson is reprinted with permission from the "Golf Beginner Guide", a full 272 page resource for Golf Beginners. For only $29.50 you get an incredible amount of invaluable tips, lessons and advice - great value for money. Click the above link to find out more!
It seems like it should be easy: Start the swing with the weight evenly distributed on both feet and finish with it on the left foot and right toe. After all, we do this every time we take a step and in any sport I can think of. Proper weight transfer is necessary to powerfully propel an object. Yet, for some reason, many golfers can't seem to resist helping the ball get up in the air by hitting up or at it. This lesson will help you understand some of the ways to hit through the ball with a correct weight shift.
Understand Weight Shift
So often, it's hard for students to understand and feel their weight shift. A good way to begin is to close your eyes and take a few practice swings. Afterwards, give each foot a percentage weighting for the beginning (at address), middle, and end of the swing. If you're swinging properly, the beginning or address position should feel like your weight is evenly distributed between your left and right feet on a flat lie. At the top of the backswing, if you've made a good turn without swaying, it should feel like 80% of your weight is on the inside of your right foot and 20% is on the inside of your left foot. The follow-through should feel like the opposite of this. If these closed-eye swings are opposite or way off these numbers, try the following drills:
Walk through the Shot
Take your normal address position and swing a club to the top of the backswing. As you come down and through the ball, make an effort to step forward after you've made contact--just as though you are walking. Gary Player made this move famous and still does it on many shots. This drill and position emphasizes that you've made a good weight shift.
You "Can" Do It
Place an object such as a soda can about a foot behind your ball. Now, using a short-iron, try to hit your ball without hitting the can. You'll notice that you're forced to come down at a steeper angle. By swinging with this steeper angle, you're also forced to shift properly off the right foot and take a divot in front of the ball. When you don't, you'll find yourself hitting behind the ball or topping it, which is often the result of hanging back on the right foot. After a few swings, try putting that same object in front of the ball about 2 feet. The goal here is to swing out over the can as low as possible on the follow-through without actually hitting it. This extension drill promotes a strong weight shift to the left leg and gets you to hit through rather than at your ball. This is great for those who have a problem topping the ball.
Swing on a Slope
To feel the weight shift happening naturally, try swinging while standing on a downhill or uphill slope. On a downhill slope, for example, gravity pushes your weight toward the front foot, making it easier to finish the swing with the weight fully transferred. When doing this, be sure to keep your shoulder line fairly parallel with the slope of the ground to avoid hitting behind the ball.
Keep Your Weight Inside
Keeping your weight on the inside of the right foot during the backswing is critical to shifting properly. Allowing the weight to get to the outside of the foot doesn't give you a strong base to push off from when "springing" over to the left side. This can also lead to the dreaded sway, which results in a lot of wasted movement and is corrosive to good swing mechanics. To find a proper position, keep the right knee over the inside of the foot at address and throughout the backswing. Obviously, it's not good medicine to think about this during the swing, but stop at the top of the swing occasionally and check your position. In time, this will pay off in added power and more solid hits.
There are many more ways to drill the concept of weight shifting inside, but first you must learn how it feels and start noticing what 's going on throughout your swing. After you can do that, you will see the correlation between solid shots and good shifting. This is how the pros make it look so easy yet hit it so far. Also, try getting that right toe of your golf shoe dirty, which is a good sign of fully shifting and turning. As always, don't forget to have some fun.