You might think you use your arms when you play golf, but your legs in the golf swing have more impact on how well you hit the ball.
The golf swing is a complicated sequence of movements and to be successful your body parts have to stay connected.
Your arms, your head, your spine, your feet, your knees, and your hands all play a role, but today we are going to focus on your legs in the golf swing.
We think the legs are the most important body part. We think that legs in the golf swing are what separates a PGA tour professional from a high handicapper.
Don’t believe us? Keep reading – we think we can convince you and will share our favorite swing thoughts to better use your legs in the golf swing.
Let’s get started!
Legs In The Golf Swing – Why Is It So Important?
There are several reasons why it is a good idea to engage the legs in the golf swing – we are going to focus on three examples.
A common mistake made by amateur golfers is thinking that power comes from swinging your arms faster. This is not true.
Speed in your swing will help you hit the golf ball farther, but this is not achieved by simply using your upper body.
You need to use the ground to create leverage and what part of your body is on the ground? We will give you a hint, it isn’t your arms.
You can create force by pushing off the ground and by having a stable stance throughout your swing.
The legs in the golf swing are the key to unlocking your power!
The Legs Keep Your Arms Under Control
You may have heard the swing tip before that you need to “Stay Connected”, but what does this mean?
You want the different parts of your body working together during your swing – pulling in the same direction.
A disconnected swing means your upper and lower body are doing different things. One is over-turning while the other isn’t turning enough.
This can lead to loss of power and wild shots – duck hooks, snap slices, and even shanks!
Use your legs in the golf swing to control your arms. Don’t over-swing!
Once your lower body stops turning your arms/shoulders turn should stop as well. This will keep you connected and improve the consistency of your ball striking.
Don’t Believe Us? Check Out The Professionals
We get it – sometimes you have to see it to believe it. You can watch any professional golfer and you will see how to use the legs in the golf swing.
That being said, we have some favorites. Take a look at Jon Rahm’s swing.
Notice how his lower body controls the length of his backswing and how he uses the ground to generate force and power.
You will also see that a shorter golf swing can be better. This is good advice for any player that is struggling with consistency.
The final thing to learn from Rahm’s swing is that you don’t need a long swing to generate power.
He never gets close to parallel and absolutely crushes the ball!
5 Swing Thoughts To Help You Use Your Legs In the Golf Swing
We hope we have convinced you of the importance of your legs in the golf swing. Now it is time to focus on the “how”.
Swing thoughts are a great way to stay calm and focus when you play – they give you a simple mantra to remember that can quiet your mind when you are feeling some nerves.
The first rule of swing thoughts. You should only have 1. Keep it simple. We have provided 5 options below, but we don’t want you to use them all at once.
Try them one at a time and find the one that works best for you.
#1: Let Your Arms Hang (No Tension)
We want your legs to drive your swing – the arms simply need to come along for the ride.
One way to achieve this result is to give your arms a break. Let them relax when you are in your address position.
If your arms are relaxed, your lower body must take over. Now your legs will control your golf swing.
Try this at the driving range before you head to the course. It may feel weird at first, but once you get the timing down you will hit the ball great.
How you use your legs in the golf swing will determine if you improve or continue to struggle.
#2: Start The Downswing With Your Legs
The golf swing is a 7-part sequence and we think most golfers make a mistake during the transition from backswing to downswing.
Many things can go wrong during the transition.
You can get quick (there should be a pause). You can over-extend your arms (you should say connected).
You can re-route the club (you want to bring it back down on the same path). You can lose your spine angle.
All of these mistakes can be resolved by knowing how to use your legs in the golf swing. Start your downswing with your legs!
Don’t pull with your hands or get aggressive with your arms. Instead, use your lower body to initiate your downswing.
Not only will this help you hit the ball straighter, but you will also pick up some distance. The best of both worlds!
#3: Clear Your Hips
We don’t think you can learn a lot about the golf swing by watching Happy Gilmore, but we do agree with one thing Chubbs told Happy: “It’s all in the Hips, It’s all in the Hips”.
Chubbs may have lost a hand to an alligator, but he understood the importance of your legs in the golf swing.
Do you ever feel like you are stuck? Do you have a hard time getting the club back to square at impact?
If so, you may need to simply clear your hips. Get them out of the way so your body can properly turn through the ball.
Here is a simple drill – when you reach the top of your swing, before you start your downswing, turn your hips through the ball.
You will be amazed how your arms now have room to complete your swing. Don’t let your lower body block the motion of your arms.
#4: Shorter Backswing – Don’t Pull From The Top
Similar to #2 above, we want your lower body to lead the way once you finish your backswing. A shorter backswing can help you achieve this motion.
Instead of using your hands to pull the club to the ball, let your hands drop and use your lower body to return the club to the impact position.
Learn to use the legs in the golf swing and you will have more control over your golf ball. Keep your backswing short and simple for more consistent ball striking.
#5: Use Your Legs To Make The Correct Weight Shift
We all know that your weight should shift during your golf swing. It should move to the right during your backswing and back to the left during your downswing (right-handed golfer).
The question is – how can you make the correct weight shift? The answer is your lower body.
Feel your weight move to your right foot and then push off it to shift the weight back. Use the legs in the golf swing to get this feeling.
Making the correct weight shift will help you in many different ways. You will find that you have more power and hit the golf ball more consistently.
More power + better consistency = lower golf handicap. This is the equation to get more out of the game of golf!
Learn to properly use your legs in the golf swing and you will have more fun on the course.