We all know that the weight has to be forward/on the front leg at impact. What many people struggle with understanding is how to ensure the weight is on the front side at impact.
This article will help you understand the why and how and hopefully answer any questions you have about getting your weight forward at impact.
As with any teacher, the principles he/she teaches should always relate back to certainties or a definite. In golf, one of the certainties or laws during impact is that the club head should be traveling downwards delivering a descending angle of attack. This means the shaft should be leaning forward during the actual striking of the golf ball.
One way to help ensure the club shaft is leaning forward at impact is to have the weight on the forward foot.
I can’t tell you how many people I have coached over the years that have turned up for their first lesson swinging the club in a way that produces a weight back and shaft leaning back impact position. It’s A LOT!
Let me Hit You With Some Knowledge
Vilfredo Pareto was an Italian engineer, sociologist and economist who had the Pareto Principle named after him. The 80/20 rule..
The 80/20 rule, once you know it’s out there and exists can be found in so many places. I’ve come to the conclusion that it definitely exists in the golf world. Since around 1998, when I first start teaching people as an assistant professional in the northern Birmingham area of England, I estimate I’ve given around 15,000 golf lessons to people around the UK and now since 2008 here in the land of the free.
Of those, let’s say few thousand people who I have coached (as many people had more than one or two lessons) 80% of those people didn’t have their weight forward at impact during the first lesson they had with me. Roughly 20% did, and these people where the best players and most knowledgeable about the swing.
I’ve also earned 80% of my income from about 20% of my client base.. Interesting!!
Wow, think about that for a second. 80% of the people that turned up for their first lesson with me weren’t getting their weight forward at impact. That’s crazy!
Have you ever hit a fat or thin shot? It was probably because you didn’t have your weight forward at impact.
I had to figure out why it was, that most people were turning up for their first lesson not getting their weight forward at impact. And here’s what I found out.
Many people associate a weight transfer with a lateral movement from side to side. It makes sense. If we wanted to throw a ball for example we’d not only turn our body and get ready to bend and extend our arm in a throwing action. We’d also move a little from side to side. It’s a natural feeling to produce power.
But the truth is, in the golf swing we don’t want a side to side action. It’s true we want lateral movement with our body but it should only be toward the target during the downswing.
It’s changing nowadays because of all the great information out there. But there’s still a great majority of people who still move side to side to achieve a weight transfer. This also affects balance because obviously you’ll be more inclined to roll onto the outside of the back foot during the backswing, making it even harder to get back onto the front foot and leg by impact.
Plus the downswing simply happens to fast to ever have a good chance of getting back to a good front sided impact position.
Nowadays I make it a staple of my teaching that the weight should be established forward during the setup and some attention should be focused there during the whole swing.
What do I mean by focusing the attention on the forward leg during the swing?
Well think of it like this, During the backswing (assuming you’re a righty) your hands, arms and club are moving to the right. This movement and the weight and momentum of the movement is going to want to pull your body along (laterally) for the ride.
Basically the center of your body (your head) is going to want to move to the right as well because that’s the direction the mass is traveling in. Now unless we realize this and make a counterbalancing movement, the head and the center of our body will move to the right.
Not a good move if the whole idea is to stay centered with no lateral movement of the body during the backswing.
So, to truly keep the body centered during the backswing we need to start feeling as though we are applying pressure into the ground with the forward leg. This will help keep us centered and stop any unnecessary lateral movement of the pivot/body to the right.
Makes sense right?..
So, so far we are establishing a little more weight on our forward leg at setup, and then increasing that pressure during the backswing. Thus, establishing the forward leg as the anchor of the swing.
There’s also another reason I’d like you to put your attention in your forward leg during the swing. That’s because during the backswing the spine should lean towards the target.
I know, I know, I’m sure this is getting deep for some of you but just go with it and digest it. I promise you understanding this info will help you become a better player.
So here’s the deal with the spine, and there will be other blogs and articles and videos where I’ll go into it a little deeper. But for the left shoulder to move in a downward way (perpendicular to your spine angle) during the backswing, we need to feel as though the spine is leaning to the left (towards the target).
Now, here’s where a little bit of knowledge comes into play. What you feel isn’t actually what is real!
Just because you feel like your spine in leaning towards the target doesn’t mean that you actually are. You see, to actually lean your spine left you’d have to also move your head left.
This is a big NO!
If you keep you head still, and feel like your leaning your spine towards the target, you’ll actually start to achieve a nice pivoting action with your body. Your left shoulder and left hip will move in a downwards action, and your right shoulder and right hip will move in an upward motion. The right side of your body from your foot to your shoulder will feel like it is stretching.
If you’re not feeling this kind of action during your backswing you’re probably not pivoting properly. Therefore, not feeling as though you’re leaning or tilting your spine towards the target.
Again this is important to stay centered as during the downswing the spine leans/tilts away from the target as the hips move laterally closer to the target.
So what does the right/back leg do during the backswing?…
Well, here’s the thing. Because we are now applying deliberate pressure into the ground through our front leg. We also want to do the same with our right leg. This will stabilize the lower body so the upper body and namely hands and arms can perform the desired action with the club. Once your body stops pivoting in a stable dynamic way, your hands and arms will start to manipulate the club just just to get it back on the ball in a decent fashion.
The right leg actually straightens a little during the backswing to enable the hips to pivot properly. Namely the right hip moving upwards and the left hip moving downwards.
But just as with the front leg, the back leg should apply force into the ground as it straightens.
Don’t forget the weight of the club, your hands and arms have all moved to the right. This in itself will move weight into your right side.
If done properly, you should feel as if your tailbone is moving closer to the target during the backswing.
Here’s a video I made a while back that will help you get it.
Please subscribed to my YouTube channel if you haven’t already done so. I’ve got some more videos in the pipeline soon..
Force plate data
What’s amazing about the technology we use nowadays is that we can actually find out where the weight is at any point during the swing.
Below I’ve laid out two excellent golfers force plate data during the swing. Force Plates or a balance board is basically something golfers can stand on to give a reading of pressure under the feet.
What’s important to note is that neither Susan Peterson or Grant Waite move laterally during the backswing. They both straighten their back leg during the backswing as the front leg flexes more.
Percentage of weight on both legs at given points in the swing:
Setup: Front Leg = 59% Back Leg = 41%
Top of Swing: Front Leg = 29% Back Leg = 71%
Transition: Front Leg = 54% Back Leg = 46%
Impact: Front Leg = 77% Back Leg = 23%
Finish: Front Leg = 98% Back Leg = 2%
Percentage of weight on both legs at given points in the swing:
Setup: Front Leg = 63% Back Leg = 37%
Top of Swing: Front Leg = 40% Back Leg = 60%
Transition: Front Leg = 46% Back Leg = 54%
Impact: Front Leg = 91% Back Leg = 9%
Finish: Front Leg = 96% Back Leg = 4%
(data supplied by Medicus golf. Watch the full video here)
So what does this mean?..
Well, it means that two of the very best ball strikers on the planet both setup with more weight on their forward leg. They both load more weight into their right leg during the backswing not by swaying but by straightening their right leg a little which produces a pushing downward effect.
There’s a gradual acceleration during the transition of the swing with the weight. Meaning, there’s almost a patient settling of the weight at the start of the downswing before the fast acceleration of movement down to impact. This goes hand in hand with the fast, slow – fast, slow rhythm we want to try and achieve during the backswing and downswing. Or 1,2 – 1,2 beat that goes with a good swing.
At impact the majority of their weight is forward, and moves even more forward to a finish position.
It basically means that even though we are putting our attention in the forward leg, we are still going to transfer weight due to the right leg straightening and forcing pressure into the ground.
Therefore, both feet should be pushing down a great deal during the backswing. The front foot because we want a counterbalanced swing and to use the left leg as the anchor. And also the right leg because of the straightening or decrease in flex it establishes.
This is how we should control the weight transfer during the golf swing. It’s the most efficient and effective way of ensuring the weight is forward at impact!
We should establish a little more pressure in the front leg during setup. Let’s say 55/60% for a normal shot. Start applying more pressure into the ground with the front leg to counterbalance the club, hands and arms moving to the right.
As the right leg decreases it’s flex in the backswing it also pushes downward. This actually increases pressure into the ground providing more weight in reality under the right leg. This is so important to understand because so many people try and move laterally with their body to achieve a weight transfer in the backswing. Remember, there will be more weight under the back foot so long as you straighten your back leg a little to apply force into the ground.
When performed correctly the tailbone should actually move towards the target in the backswing. The flexing of the front leg and straightening of the back leg provide the correct hip movement so that the spine can tilt/lean towards the target during the backswing.
We also want a patient transition into the downswing. There should never be a violent change of direction with the hands, arms and club. If we adopt a movement that has a gradual transition into the downswing, this will facilitate the necessary loading of pressure of the club in the trigger finger of the right hand and also start the loading of the weight into the front leg slowly and deliberately. This is what we see the best players in the world do.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject, please feel free to leave any questions or comments below and I’ll answer them personally
All the best
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