Weight Distribution In The Golf Swing

Here, we look at weight distribution in the golf swing and how it differs depending on the club you're hitting

weight distribution in the golf swing

Understanding weight distribution in the golf swing can solve a lot of common problems golfers struggle to overcome. That's why we've enlisted the help of PGA pro and Golf Monthly Top 50 Coach Kristian Baker to explain the do's and don'ts in the video and article below...

Weight Distribution In The Golf Swing Explained

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, along with standing the right distance from the golf ball, will give you a good solid base from which you can make a full, athletic swing without losing your balance.

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. Let me explain how it works...

How Your Weight Shifts In The Backswing

weight distribution at the top of the backswing

While staying centred, the weight distribution in the golf swing has shifted to the inside of the trail foot

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. As they move towards impact, 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.

Weight Distribution With Driver

When it comes to the driver, keep the weight fairly evenly spread at address but make sure you're in a set-up position that promotes a good driver launch angle. That means the ball position 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 (see the image below) - one of the biggest driving mistakes in the game.

Reverse Pivot & Weight Distribution

weight distribution and the reverse pivot

A reverse pivot as demonstrated here will result in a loss of power and accuracy

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.

RELATED: 8 beginner golfer mistakes and how to fix them

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 at the top of the backswing.

Once you've mastered that, work on pushing off so the weight moves through the ball, towards the target and into a nice finish position.

Weight Distribution & Angle Of Attack

As with everything in the golf swing, one movement will cause a chain reaction. One of the reasons to pay close attention to how your weight moves is that it will have a direct impact on your angle of attack through impact. If your weight is too far back as you head towards impact, your attack angle will be too shallow. Conversely, if your weight moves towards the target too much or too early, you'll hit down on the ball from too steep an angle.

Either way, poor strikes and sub-optimal ball flights will be the inevitable result. 

Kristian Baker
Top 50 Coach

Location: Sunningdale Heath Golf Club

Kristian worked at Wentworth for 23 years and was the Head of Instruction for over a decade. He has worked with a huge number of leading professionals and amateurs and his most successful amateur was the 2017 British Amateur and 2012 English Amateur champion Harry Ellis. He is now the co-owner of Sunningdale Heath and is also the author of The Winning Golf Swing. 

Teaching philosophy:

Help the golfer to understand their impact tendencies and swing through evidence. Data and evidence makes a student and coach accountable.

The player must have a clear understanding of their issue and the solutions. Keep it as simple as possible for the student to understand (regardless of ability) and give them a clear understanding of our plans. I think it’s also very important to understand the students personality and circumstances.

Greatest teaching success story:

Teaching Ross Fisher from 2001 to 2009. During this time he went from being a county player to gaining his European tour card and being in the top 20 in the world rankings. During this time he led all four majors in a single year and won the grand slam crown for compiling the lowest composite score. He won several amateur events and as a professional the European Open. During the time I coached him he improved his amateur and professional ranking every year. Other students include Zane Scotland, Stephen Brown and Inci Mehmet.

Describe what you do to ensure clear communication with a student:

The use of technology can often be seen as making something more complex. Used in the right way it actually simplifies an issue and creates clarity. Assessing each individuals best way of leaning and understanding and then constantly trying to adapt to them and their ways.

Students learn best when…

They have a clear understanding of the what to change, why and how