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Golf Tips: Don’t lose sight of good footwork for transitions

By: Shawn Kelly
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You may have heard of the axiom that the transition of the golf swing starts from the ground up. This means that at the top of the back swing the feeling of transition should start with the feet and legs and the transfer of weight from the back foot to the target foot. To make an efficient effortless full golf swing, you must transfer your body weight from the back foot to the front foot and then end in balance standing on the target side leg. This would be the same for any other athletic motion where you are trying to advance a projectile toward a target. Throwing a ball and hitting a tennis ball are good analogies. To allow your weight to shift from one foot to another is a product of where your sternum is. We have talked in past articles about your balance points and how the body rotates around the sternum from foot to foot to create weight transfer. This is the key to proper footwork in the swing. As you swing the club back, allow your sternum to turn over the back leg and foot. You should feel like the back foot has been nailed to the ground and in a ready position to transfer to the other foot. If your weight has moved too far to the outside of the back foot you have over-rotated the body. The transition comes from the feeling of pushing off the back foot and uncoiling the body to get the sternum over the target foot and leg. The back foot should move up on to the toes to clear the back hip with all your weight shifted to the target leg and the outside of that foot. I always hold this position for a two count to make sure of balance. If you are in balance over the target leg and foot at the finish of the swing, you have probably made a playable golf shot. A good pair of golf shoes with serviceable spikes will give you the traction and support needed for proper footwork. Flat-soled sneakers or worn out spikes can make it difficult to get ground support needed for transfer and balance. I see students every day with improper footwork and balance. Efficient footwork and balance don’t come readily and they’re hard to feel because you are holding a club in your hands and you’re upper body is moving at a different speed than your legs. It just takes a little understanding and some drills at home, then you will be on your way to better footwork and more solid golf shots. Drills for improvement The “cross your heart drill” that we have discussed in the past is the best for feeling how your sternum works during the swing. Try hitting some balls with your feet together. This allows you to feel weight transfer on a smaller scale and create the timing with the arms. Try this with a mid iron and don’t go for distance, just try to hit it half of its normal distance.