First things first, let’s start by explaining what weight shift in golf swing means.
Also known as weight transfer, weight shift in golf swings describes the transfer of your weight from one side of your body to the other during the sequence of the swing.
When you set up in address, the best way to start is to have a nice equal distribution of weight on each foot.
Then, as you take the club away (your backswing) your weight should transfer onto the back foot. In effect, your weight transfer moves with the swing direction.
Then as you start the downswing your weight transfer moves with the swing so that when you strike the ball, the weight has now transferred to the front foot.
Getting the correct weight transfer in golf is crucial to your game. It might sound simple, but it can be hard to master – and we’re here to help.
In this article we’ll guide you through:
- The importance of good weight shift in golf swings.
- The 4 best how-to tips for mastering weight shift in golf swings.
- Weight shift in golf swings: 4 common errors.
- 5 drills to correct errors in your weight shift.
Importance of Good Weight Shift in Golf Swings.
The movement of the golf swing with the correct transfer of weight is the most fundamental way to generate power within your swing.
Shifting your weight correctly will also allow the body to turn further creating more length in your swing. This also contributes to generating power.
If you can load up all the weight onto your back foot, this creates a natural point where your backswing is completed.
When at the maximum backswing point that your body allows, you can begin the downswing.
With the weight loaded onto the back foot, you should feel that all the power is coiled up and ready to unwind. This will happen naturally as long as the weight transfers onto the front foot on your downswing.
4 How-To Tips Weight Shift in Golf Swings Correctly
#1: Address Position
As mentioned earlier, an even distribution of weight between each foot at address is the perfect place to start.
It is also important to have a good balance in your feet in terms of the distribution of weight from the toes to the heel. Perhaps a little more weight balance towards the toes but only a 60-40 split.
If this weight distribution is out of kilter, it will make it difficult to shift your weight laterally as required throughout the swing.
#2: The Backswing
As you take the club away, your weight then transfers to your back foot.
At the top of your backswing, you should now have between 70-80% of your weight on your back foot.
Of course, this is a subjective figure, but with practice, you will soon find the feel that equates roughly to this numerical number.
#3: Weight Shift Through Transition
As you move back down from the top of the backswing, the first move in terms of weight transfer is by using the lower body, the upper body follows naturally.
On impact, you fire your hips to help you finish the correct weight shift as well as to maximize power.
What does it mean to be firing your hips?
Well, when you set up to swing, your hips are square to the ball. Ideally, on impact, your hips (and consequently your upper body) have rotated to now be open facing towards the target.
This is firing your hips. A good analogy for this swing principle that you may have heard people saying is that you want your belt buckle facing the target at impact.
#4: Weight Shift In The Follow Through
At the top of the follow-through, virtually all of your weight should now be on your front foot.
At this point, on your back foot, only your toe should be touching the ground.
If you achieve this naturally, it probably means the weight transfer through the whole swing has been pretty good.
Weight Shift in Golf Swings: 4 Common Errors
Keeping things as simple as possible, there are FOUR common mistakes made by amateur golfers.
One constant with all of these errors is that your swing power is significantly reduced and consequently the distances you may be hitting the ball are seriously compromised.
#1: No Transfer
That rigid golfer with little flexibility in their body epitomizes this error.
There is very little shift of weight throughout the swing. This player still has both feet firmly planted at impact, and for many, in the same position at the completion of their swing.
If you naturally have limited flexibility, try some yoga-style stretches before your game to limber up and perfect your weight shift in
#2: Hanging Back at Impact
The second error is hanging back at impact.
Many golfers grasp the concept of shifting their weight backward on the takeaway, but then struggle to transfer it forwards on the downswing.
This is referred to as either hanging back/falling backward. The weight transfer back to the front foot is the paramount factor in gaining power and also has a direct bearing on the quality of the strike.
This is a common trait for beginner golfers as they believe this helps in getting the ball airborne. They are, in effect, trying to lift the ball into the air.
#3: Reverse Pivot
By definition, this is when the weight shift is the exact opposite of what is required.
At the top of the backswing, the golfer has all their weight loaded on their front foot. This often happens when you drop the front shoulder down to the ground on the backswing and the back shoulder lifts up too high.
Weirdly this can feel like you are transferring the weight properly, even though you’re not.
You should be able to identify whether you are making this wrong move by feeling where the weight distribution is in both feet at the top of the backswing.
#4: Swaying or Sliding During the Swing
A common mistake made because golfers think swaying or sliding during a swing is assisting in generating power.
The overall principle may seem correct but is flawed.
When you transfer your weight onto the back foot on the takeaway, your upper body should hardly move from its original position. Too much body movement makes it much harder to make solid contact and will have dire consequences on your timing at impact
To try and simplify understanding preventing this wrong movement, we can return to the position of your belt buckle throughout the swing, as mentioned above.
If you have great flexibility and can make a full turn, then it will be facing directly away from the target line at the top of the backswing.
For many, this full turn is not possible, but at the very least, the belt buckle should have turned significantly towards this point.
If your belt buckle remains almost square to where you started your swing, then you are swaying and not turning.
Along similar lines to swaying is sliding. The two almost go hand in hand. Sliding on the takeaway is when your back leg buckles.
You can identify this happening when your back knee moves past your back foot and with this movement your hips will have also moved backward. Conversely, on the downswing, your front knee and hips are now ahead of the ball at impact.
Once again, the hips will remain fairly square on impact and the result is a lack of power and poorer quality of strike.
Weight Shift in Golf Swings: 5 Drills To Correct Errors.
Let us examine a few simple drills that may assist in finding the correct weight shift during the golf swing.
#1: Step Through Drill
This is an over-pronounced movement to encourage you to understand transferring your weight properly back onto your front foot at impact.
When you take your swing, as you pass at impact, step through with your trailing leg so that it gets past the front foot.
#2: Shoe Drill
Place a spare shoe (a trainer) under your front foot so that your toe is standing on the toe end of this shoe.
When you start the downswing and transfer weight onto the front foot, the correct pressure will raise the heel of the shoe you are standing on further from the ground. If there is no change, then you still have too much weight on your back foot.
#3: Club Drop Drill
Place the face of a wedge under your back heel so the shaft is pointing up and away from you.
Then swing as normal and if you are transferring your weight correctly, the wedge under your heel will drop to the ground before impact as the back heel should be off the ground at this point.
If the club drops to the ground after impact, then the weight transfer sequence has not happened as desired. You must still be hanging back with too much weight on the back foot.
#4: Ball Throwing Drill
This obviously requires equipment that you may or may not have readily available. Ideally, you would use a heavy medicine ball although a basketball will suffice. Of course, you also need room to throw the ball!!
Hold the ball on both sides when setting up in your normal address position. Then move as you would for your normal golf swing and at the impact point, throw the ball as far and as straight as possible.
If you are not moving your body properly, this becomes a throw with your arms being the only source of power. The ball will not go far.
Persevere with this drill and gradually you will identify the process required to shift your weight correctly that allows the ball to travel further when you throw it.
Keep going until you repeat this movement correctly then return to swinging a golf club in the same way.
#5: Toe Tap Drill
Here, you are trying to lift your back foot toe off the ground immediately after impact before returning it to the ground – a toe tap. Hopefully, you will not fall over!!
If you can achieve this, then you have transferred your weight forward as required. If it takes you a couple of seconds to complete this movement, this means that you still have too much weight on the back foot.
Hopefully, one or a combination of these drills will help in improving your weight transfer. Get this right and you will soon be striking the ball with more power and consistency.
If you’re still confused and need some visuals to master weight shift in golf swings, try watching one of Youtube’s many tutorials here.
Expecting wet weather during your golf game?
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Interested? Read this: 4 tips to Master Golf In The Rain + Must-have Rain gear