Every golfer, amateur or professional, knows the importance of having a good swing when it comes to casual play or competitive drive. The two most important influential factors in the quality of a golfer’s swing are the fundamentals of having the correct hip rotation, and the ability to shift your weight correctly throughout the initiation and completion of every shot.
If you are unaware of the correct method to shift your body weight, it will lead to not only rookie mistakes popping into your swing, but also leave you strained and fatigued in ways you never thought possible. Moreover, it will prevent you from consistently striking accurately and will cause faults to occur in your balance, often making you feel like tipping over when you complete your swing.
This is the negative influence that an improper weight shift can have on your game. This will not help improve your handicap unless you learn how to perfect your weight shift. To perfect your weight shift in golf is easy, and with practice, you will master the art of using your weight to assist your game and not bring it down.
Perfecting your weight shift might also eliminate any golf slice that might be present in your swing if improper balance is the cause of the problem. But by practicing the correct shift of weight, you will gain better positioning for improved impact of the ball.
How to Identify Improper Weight Shift
Not all problems that occur in a golfer’s swing are due to weight shift influences, but can also be caused by improper alignment or incorrect hip rotation. To identify if your problems are due to improper weight shift, you should attempt to diagnose the following traits in your game. If you are unable to tick off any of these symptoms, then the cause is likely to be found elsewhere.
- You feel as if you are leaning backward following each strike with both feet closer together after contact with the ball
- Your feet will move around too much, often as a sign golfers would wear out shoes quicker than other competitors. If you are right-handed, your follow-through should end on the tip of the right toes. If that doesn’t happen, your weight shift is off
- You do not experience a stretch in the right glute or hip muscles at the top of the backswing
- Your head is forward in front of the ball upon impact and not behind as it should be
If you relate to any of the problems mentioned earlier, such as slicing the ball, inconsistent accuracy, and improper balance, and also can be observed making the above errors, improper weight shift is the cause of your problem. The good news is that it can easily be rectified. Here’s how.
Tips for Quick Improvement
- Take your stance firmly with your head positioned behind the ball.
- Maintain an easy leaning space and tilt the body away from the ball when taking your stance.
- Your head should only move 1-2 inches from the target when drawing up your backswing.
- Hold the draw for a moment, making sure that you feel the stretch of the right glute or hip muscle.
- Attempt to put 60-80% of your weight on the trailing flank; this is the right side for right-handed golfers when reaching towards the height of the backswing.
- When taking the shot, as you enter the descend, the hips and shoulders should unwind and move in time with each other.
- Keep your head positioned behind the ball upon impact.
- When reaching impact and the closure of the follow-through, your weight should have shifted smoothly and gradually to where 70-80% of your weight is now on the opposite flank.
It’s All in the Stance
The initial stance as you set up to hit the ball is an essential discipline that has to be perfected if you want to correct an improper weight shift. To find the correct stance, if you are unfamiliar with it, consult a professional instructor, or if you are familiar with it, stop neglecting its importance. If you set up with your head ahead of the ball and your body held stiff, it will be difficult to shift your weight properly.
For the correct stance for right-handers, the best idea is to intentionally focus on having the ball aligned with the inside of the left ear. This is a way of measuring the perfect distance the head should be from the ball upon setting up the stance. Ensure that you maintain the necessary loose tilt of the body as you take up the stance.
The leading shoulder should be fractionally higher than the other to know you have the right measure of tilt. The best practice to improve the stance can be done in front of a mirror or reflective window.
Manage Your Head
Head movement can play an essential role in improper weight shift, and many golfers are confused about the amount of movement their head should make. In essence, if the stance is correct, you will only need one to two inches of movement to shift your weight properly during the draw to provide a powerful swing.
Flex That Leg
To make sure that you have the proper stance and correct movement during the draw, you should feel a slight strain in the right glut or hip muscle. If you tire from competing and fatigue appears more in any other muscles more than the glute or hip, then it is a clear indication that your stance and movement are wrong.
This is the most common reason for improper weight shift. Something to remember is never to attempt to straighten the rear leg; this only adds strain to the back and causes complications to occur in the strike.
If any of these tips do not fix your game, I’d suggest looking into hiring a coach, or other means of improving, because the problem may be more severe and have a complicated cause.