Weight Shift in the Golf Swing
All the great ball-strikers have shifted their weight during the golf swing, so I think it makes a lot of sense to follow their lead. Interestingly, amateurs struggle quite a bit with weight shift in golf, even though they don’t in other sports. Why is it that when we throw a ball, swing a baseball bat, or make any other athletic motion we have no problem shifting our weight, but when it comes to golf, we are a mess?
Jimmy Ballard teaches that the golf swing should be much like many other athletic motions. Therefore, by mimicking certain feels from other sports, including a proper weight shift, a lot of good things can happen.
For example, Ben Hogan noted that he felt like the right arm worked in the swing the way a short stop would step and throw the ball underhanded to the second basemen on a double play.
Ballard talks in his videos about the motion of the right hand also feeling like a boxer throwing a right uppercut, and the motion of the left hand feeling like you are trying to strike someone with the back of your left arm and hand-similar to a tennis backhand.
My father-in-law, who played on the Tour for years, talked a lot about feeling his weight, at the top of his backswing, as pressure on his right heel. A quick test of weight transfer is to turn to the top of your backswing, and see if you can feel the weight in your right heel, and also easily lift your left heel off the ground. For many, including Nicklaus, the next move, to initiate the downswing, is to replant the left heel and step onto the left foot. If you have made a good move to your left side, you should be able to hold your finish with almost all of your weight being firmly on top of your left foot, and your right toe will be just lightly touching the ground.
The only exception is with the short irons or scoring clubs like an 8 iron on down through your wedges, where the necessity of crisp contact and a more compact swing for greater accuracy dictates staying with the bulk of your weight on your left side throughout the swing. Ken Venturi was famous for placing a golf ball or two under the outside of his right shoe while hitting balls to not allow his weight to slide right on the takeaway, and to give him leverage off the ground to initiate the downswing.
Since leg interaction with the ground gives us the ability to turn our hips back toward the target and create swing speed in the downswing, make sure you don’t cheat yourself by trying to keep your weight too stationary through the swing.
So when thinking about weight shift, try to keep some of these sports analogies in mind as they can help you to feel the proper motion.