Understanding weight distribution in the golf swing can solve a lot of common problems golfers struggle to overcome. It won’t be the same for everybody as we all have unique swings and bodies, but there are some general principles that will be of use if this is an area in which you think you’re having issues.
It all begins at address. In general, with an iron in hand you want the weight to be balanced equally between both feet and to feel like it runs through the front of your ankles. That’ll give you a good solid base from which you can swing.
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The generations of old used to make much more pronounced weight transfers as it was believed that golfers needed to shift everything over to their right side going back and then through onto the left going through. While that isn’t wholly inaccurate, if you compare a lot of the modern players’ actions, it looks like they remain very centred throughout.
Despite appearances, however, their weight is constantly moving. In turning to the top, the current cream of the crop coil up brilliantly, with the weight shifting to the inside part of the trail foot. This gives the look of being quite stacked on top of the ball but they’re actually in a great position to unwind and push off their back foot, bringing the torso and arms nicely into impact to generate huge amounts of power – at this point, roughly 70 per cent of their weight is already through and onto their left side.
One thing to watch out for if trying to emulate this, especially with an iron in hand, is the lead foot becoming too unstable. There are some examples in the pro ranks where this happens – Jordan Spieth and Bryson DeChambeau come to mind – but by and large you want your left foot (right for lefties) to remain planted. This is because it helps to firm up the lead side, allowing golfers to swing more aggressively through the ball.
When it comes to the driver, keep the weight fairly evenly spread but make sure you’re in a set-up position that promotes good launch conditions. That means the ball should be lined up with the inside of your lead heel and the spine should be tilted away from the target slightly.
Amateurs are often guilty of swaying when they unleash the chief, meaning that, instead of the weight moving back then through, the opposite happens. To keep balance with a backswing sway, the upper body tends to lean towards the target, resulting in the dreaded reverse pivot – one of the biggest driving mistakes in the game.
When the pelvis shifts back and forward laterally, the low point is constantly changing, thus making it incredibly difficult to find the centre of the face consistently and costing you precious yards.
So, what does a good pivot look like and how should your weight be distributed through the golf swing?
Well, turning rather than swaying is a good place to start. This will get you set up in a much more athletic position at the top of the backswing.
From there, you want to feel like the lead hip initiates the move towards the ball, which will ensure the weight shifts forward and brings the club nicely on plane. Then you can turn through the ball with your entire body, which will result in more centre strikes, and therefore more power and accuracy.
Simple enough, right?
Go to the range and practise getting into the correct set-up position with a variety of clubs, before working on turning rather than swaying. Remember, the weight should feel like it shifts to the inside of your trail heel.
Once you’ve mastered that, work on pushing off so the weight moves through the ball and into a nice finish position.