Use your knee to improve your golf swing
I have written a number of posts about the takeaway but today I want to focus on where it all begins-the legs and specifically with the left knee. Lets start with our address.
The Brace Connected Address
The Ballard swing begins with what Jimmy calls the ‘brace-connected address’. Specifically this means that the inside heel measurements are at outside shoulder width with the right toe perpendicular to the target line and the left toe flared out a little towards the target. Fans of Ben Hogan will recall this address in the book “5 Lessons”. Keeping your back foot perpendicular is critical as it will add bracing to the ground as you make a coil.
Above the waist, Jimmy takes a different approach than other instructors. Unlike many teachers, Ballard wants you to keep your butt underneath you rather than poking it out behind you. With a “taller address” your legs are better able to feel the ground and your legs can work more efficiently and naturally. You can further improve this “gripping” feeling by adding a little pressure with your knees by slightly pressing them toward each other at address.
Get into an Athletic Position:
By standing tall you will notice that you are in a natural athletic position with a solid base. As a check point, while at address, you should feel as though you are able to catch a 50 lb. sack of potatoes. Preparing to catch such weight is a good measure to see if your weight is too far forward or you are too bent over.
From this address position you can begin the takeaway by simply moving your left knee towards your right knee. You will notice this naturally moves your left hip and whole left shoulder. Essentially you begin the backswing without ever manipulating the club. You can read our other posts as to how to correctly coil into the top of the backswing, but once you are there, you push off of the inside of your right toe where your right knee kicks out toward the ball, so that your whole right side, including your right hip and right shoulder and right hand all move down the target line.
A great drill to help feel this leg movement is to get into the address position we described above and simply kick your left knee towards your right and watch the club move back to waist high. Then kick your right knee forward and watch the club head square up and travel down the target line. At the follow through your head, chest and belt buckle will all be facing the target. Make sure that when you kick your knees this way, you are actually feeling your weight transfer from the inside of one foot to the other.
You can use further practice this by hitting punch shots at the range. When done properly, you will feel your legs using the ground for leverage and this will result in straighter, longer golf shots.