This is part 3 of a 3-part series on building a powerful and consistent golf swing

Part 1 – How To Load The Club During The Backswing
Part 2 – Foot Pressure In The Golf Swing & How To Feel It
Part 3 – [You Are Here] Golf Swing Side Tilting & Extending | Weight Distribution Data

I’ve always thought the older guys had the swing figured out more than we do today.

I have dozens of classic books from guys like Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Percy Boomer, John Jacobs and the list goes on and on.

The topic of weight distribution and foot pressure at different points in the swing is important to understand because many of the top Pros produce similar patterns.

If we can understand and learn these patterns, we can emulate them ourselves and in-turn improve our golf swings.

Let’s start by talking about the difference between pressure and weight.

Pressure

Basically this is what we want to feel under our feet during the swing.

The top Pros LOAD AND EXPLODE

They load about 80% of their pressure under their trail foot during the backswing

Then at least 80% of their pressure under their lead foot at impact

Unfortunately what most amateurs do to copy this move is slide/sway their body over their trail leg during the backswing.

This makes it very difficult to get the hips and lower body forward at impact.

So there’s an issue for most golfers in understanding weight distribution and pressure distribution.

Weight

Weight refers to the mass of the body moving in the swing.

If you move your head or hips towards your trail leg on your backswing, you’ve shifted your weight.

You can see this very clearly when videoing your swing using something like the V1 golf app.

Just draw a line next to your lead ear and trail hip. During your backswing, try and stay within these lines.

This is essentially a centered backswing.

But how do we achieve this functionally?

Well besides from the spine turning/rotating we also want some tilting/side bending (towards the target) and some extending from its original forward flex.

The spine moves 3-dimensionally

It Tilts, Turns & Extends

and this happens simultaneously throughout the backswing.

This keeps the head relatively stable and you’ll have pivoted around a central axis

(NOTE: Do you want to learn how to ‘Load’ and ‘Explode’ into your downswing like the Pros? Then you’ll want to watch this “Start Down Drill)

The Pouncing Cat

There’s a term used in golf instruction called ‘The Pouncing Cat’.

Imagine a Cat just about to pounce on some prey

The Cat is not just standing there and all fours

it’s getting ready to pounce, to explode (remember Load and Explode..)

This is what we want to feel at the top of our swing

and because we are preparing to explode forward, we want our lower body to start moving forward.

This happens before the club has finished its backswing in many of the Pros swings.

Take a look at Ben Hogan below, about to make his downswing.

His hips have moved closer to his lead foot, before the club has started its journey down.

His mass (weight) has moved forward at the top of his swing.

How he gets there with regard to the pressure under his feet is another subject. But given all the data we have from modern golf pros I would guess he loads the majority of his pressure under his trail foot during the backswing and starts to transfer this pressure to his lead foot at the top.

This leads us to some information from Mike Bennett and Andy Plummer which received some scrutiny.

Although they don’t really cover the pressure topic, as they thought it would simply confuse golfers (i agree)

in their DVD (stack and tilt 2.0) they describe having the weight (mass) slightly forward at setup and gradually moving the weight (mass) forward throughout the swing.

Take a look at Troy Mattesson below. Who talks about hitting a draw with ease and still hits the ball 300 yards.

Image from Stack and Tilt

This is because there has still been a pressure shift early on in his backswing.

Looking at the images above, I think this is spot on!

The weight (mass) model should be as follows:

Setup: 55% over lead foot
Top of Backswing: 60% over lead foot
Left arm Parallel on Downswing: 70% over lead foot
Shaft Parallel on Downswing: 80% over lead foot
Impact: 90% over lead foot

This is done by controlling the hip movement during the swing. The head should stay pretty stable.

So Once you combine this weight (mass) model with the pressure patterns (the feel under our feet) of the worlds best players. We can start to understand how to produce power and be consistent.

Here’s Sean O Hair talking about how he moves his hips closer to his lead foot during his backswing by creating space between a stick in the ground and his trail pocket.

Although he nailed the description of the backswing, he described the downswing incorrectly. The hips move gradually closer/over the lead foot. They don’t just rotate.

Look how Ben Hogans hips gradually move closer to the tree in background below. A little more at the top and even move at impact.

If you look even closer

you can see how he is loading pressure under his trail foot (image 2) but by the top of his backswing (image 3) he has clearly shifted his hips (weight/mass) forward in preparation to start down.

Then image 3 shows a huge increase in pressure under the lead foot.

This is also conducive with the data Boditrak sports has gathered from all the Tour Pros they have analyzed.

Early in the downswing is when the most amount of pressure is exerted into the ground through the lead foot.

Side Tilting and Extending The Body

The images above show the relative amount of turn of the shoulders and hips at each of these progressive stages of the backswing – Ben Hogan ‘The Modern Fundamentals of Golf’

His right leg has straightened (just a little) even though there is still some flex in it at the top. This allows him to turn his right hip and tailbone closer to the target. If he fully straightened his right leg – he’d achieve more hip and shoulder turn and greater rotation for more stored power. A good example of this would be someone like Bubba Watson straightening his trail leg.

But never the less his right hip is higher than his left. And in doing so he has allowed his upper body to tilt slightly toward the target and extend the right side of his body – which in-turn compresses the left side of his body. Which in-turn also keeps the head nice and steady.

The hips DO NOT turn level – this is bad information

The right knee DOES NOT stay flexed – this is bad information

Sean Foley showing a side tilting toward the target on the backswing and then shifting the weight forward with the lower body to start down. Sean Foley thanks Mike Bennett and Andy Plummer (S&T) for all he’s learned from them at the start of his DVD “The Next Generation”. – Pic from Golf Digest

Mis-information

I often have ‘The Golf Channel’ on at home with the volume low, while I make dinner etc. A very well known teacher who hosts numerous shows on that channel came on with a little 20 second burst of information.

He said “Your weight should be going in the direction of your swing“..

Wrong – Your Pressure should be going in the direction of your swing..

My friend Kevin came to visit me over the weekend from Chicago and he started laughing when I raised my voice to this guy on the TV.

To make my point I gave him a lesson and pretty much instructed him to start with his weight (mass) forward and pivot around his lead leg during his swing.

He naturally pushed down under his trail foot but he also swayed in the process.

By taking the sway out of his move, and actually keeping his mass (weight) slightly forward he struck the ball much better.

He said after our round of golf “That was the best I’ve ever hit it“. He simply started with some weight (mass) forward and moved it even more forward throughout the swing.

Quick reference notes:

Setup – start with a little more weight forward
Backswing Front leg – flexes
Backswing Back leg – straightens a little
Backswing – Tilt spine toward target
Backswing – Extend spine upwards out of forward flex

Please feel free to share this post with your golfing friends, and leave a comment below.

If you would like to know more about loading, power, and improving your swing and lowering your scores in general, you can grab The Weight & Footwork Model course (I call them development plans.. because that’s what I want you to do – develop your game) by clicking below.

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This is part 3 of a 3-part series on building a powerful and consistent golf swing

Part 1 – How To Load The Club During The Backswing
Part 2 – Foot Pressure In The Golf Swing & How To Feel It
Part 3 – [You Are Here] Golf Swing Side Tilting & Extending | Weight Distribution Data