One of the most fundamental aspects of your golf swing is your balance. To make sure you have good golf swing balance, you need a sturdy and thoroughly practiced foundational position.
Every good golf swing contains within it a transfer of weight through the golfers legs as they make their swing. This movement can push some beginners off-kilter and even tangle them up in their legs.
It’s definitely not uncommon to see beginner golfers fall over after a particularly powerful and clumsy swing. If this is you, don’t worry, we’ve all been there!
But if you’re looking to avoid the pain and embarrassment of that happening to you, then we’ve got the guide for you!
So keep reading as we get into your golf swing balance and how to stay steady throughout your swing.
Let’s get started!
Swing Balance – The Fundamentals
1. Foot Position
Your foot position in golf is more important than you think.
One of the most common mistakes that beginner golfers make is not paying enough attention to their foot position. Not only is it an important part in maintaining balance throughout your swing, but a proper foot position can also help you aim more precisely.
For a good and sturdy foot position, you want your feet around a shoulder width apart.
This will give you the strongest and most balanced position before you start your swing.
How your feet are positioned at address then sets up how the rest of your swing will go.
If your feet are too close together, you risk knocking yourself over with a powerful swing. Similarly, with a foot position that is too wide, you might knock yourself backward with a full swing takeaway.
Foot position, however, does change depending on what kind of shot you are making. For example, your foot position when putting should be very different to your foot position when using your driver.
When putting, your feet should be slightly closer together, with a narrower stance. When driving, your feet should be further apart, with a wider stance. This is because when putting, you want to hit the ball squarely and face on, and when driving, you want to hit up on the ball.
Similarly, when playing out of a sand bunker, your feet should be in a slightly wider stance to ensure you get more loft on the ball. Some golfers even like to dig their feet into the sand to have a more secure position.
Your golf stance refers to everything else you are doing with your body at address.
This means your knees, your hips, your back, and your arms.
Lets run through what your golf stance should hopefully look like.
Getting your knee flexion correct in your golf swing can be something that takes a while.
You can normally spot a beginner by their knee position. They’ll either be stood upright or squatted down way too far. As with most things in golf, you’re looking for the sweet spot.
You want enough flexion in your knees to be able to shift your weight throughout your swing. If your legs are locked out straight, you won’t be able to transfer your weight properly.
You want your knees flexed, not squatted. Too much flexion, or too deep a bend in the knees, can affect your swing plane and cause you to hit a fat shot or top the golf ball.
Just like your knees, you want your hips slightly bent, not a full deep bend.
Your hip hinge should follow intuitively from your knee bend. The two go hand in hand.
The purpose of bending at the wait, or the hip hinge, is to get your hips out of the way in your swing. You want enough room for your arms to complete the full rotation and connect with the ball.
Keeping your swing balance is all about staying sturdy and strong in the swing.
Your spine angle actually plays a huge part in your swing balance, and maintaining your spine angle throughout your swing is essential for a good shot.
When you set up in front of the ball your spine angle changes with the movement of your knees and hips. You want this angle to remain the same throughout your swing.
Some golfers struggle with keeping their spine angle consistent by either leaning too far into or away from their swing. This is what can set you off balance during your shot.
In order to maintain your spine angle, you want to make sure your foundation, meaning your foot position, your knees, and your hips, are strong.
A lot of golfers send them selves off balance due to using their arms too much in their swing.
Ideally, you want your arms to be relaxed at your set up. A good way of making sure your arms are relaxed is by letting them hang down once in position. This will also help you get your club in position before you take your shot.
Letting your arms hang loose at setup works for all types of shots as well. Tiger Woods has commented that relaxing his arms and his putting grip when practicing helped him drop putts in the long run.
3. Weight Distribution
Every good golf swing includes a shift in your weight distribution throughout your swing.
Getting this right can be quite tricky and is a big reason why a lot of golfers struggle with their swing balance.
You don’t want to end up standing on one leg with the momentum of the swing literally sweeping you off of your feet.
Therefore, you don’t want to load all of your weight onto each foot during your swing. It should be about a 70/30 split each time.
If you load too much of your weight on either foot during the swing, you risk coiling too far around and not only upsetting your swing balance, but spinning around too much in your swing and finding yourself even more off balance.
Through your weight shift in your swing, your hips should also turn slightly, moving to a position that faces the target in a more open position. This will take you to your final position.
Enforcing the holding of your position throughout the entirety of your swing is the best way to build your swing balance.
Once in this position, it can help to hold your stance until the ball lands. This is a great way to practice holding your swing balance and to strengthen your stance.
Try practicing this before you hit the links though, you don’t want to be wobbling all over the place on the course.
If you struggle with keeping that balance, the only way to improve is by holding your position for as long as you can time and time again.
Drills to Try
A great drill to test your swing balance and improve is the Toe-Tap Drill.
You perform this drill by lifting the toes of your back foot immediately at impact. Once you’re in your final takeaway position, press your toes back down.
If the tap is immediate, you’ll know that you’re accurately transferring your weight. If it takes a few seconds, you’re likely still loading too much weight onto your back foot.
The Step Over
In this drill, you step through your swing with your back leg once in your final takeaway position.
This drill will enforce the idea of storing your weight in your front leg during your downswing and takeaway pivot.
You won’t be able to step through your swing if your weight is distributed incorrectly. Once you’ve got the hang of this drill, go back to taking a normal swing without stepping over.
If you’ve got it right, you should feel the difference right away, if not, keep practicing!
So, that’s our guide to troubleshooting your swing balance. It’s something that can take a while for some golfer, but hopefully it should be fairly intuitive.
The best thing you can do if you struggle with your swing balance is take the time to assess what is putting you off balance in your swing.
Whether it’s your knee flexion being too stiff, or your weight distribution in your swing being uneven, there are plenty of things you can do to improve and fix your mistakes.
Golf is a sport that takes years and years to conquer, and there will always be something new you need to improve on.
If you find yourself with any other issues, it’s always good to focus on your swing fundamentals and see what needs improvement, and you can learn more right here!