Illustrating Proper Footwork In The Golf Swing With Skates
Most amateur golfers have difficulty transferring their weight in the golf swing. This is partly from a misconception of weight transfer and partly from poor footwork. Proper footwork is the key to properly transferring your weight in the golf swing. The great Jack Nicklaus was told by his first and only swing coach Jack Grout to roll his left ankle on the backswing and his right ankle on the through swing. This swing characteristic stuck with Nicklaus throughout his entire career and allowed him to properly transfer his weight back and through the golf swing.
Let’s look at a good way to illustrate this proper footwork in the golf swing – with a pair of skates. Ice skates or hockey skates are similar in that they have an “edge” making it easy to roll your ankle from side to side without losing stability in your feet. If you did lose stability you would fall over. As a result, it is easy to feel where your weight is pressured in your feet and the proper weight transfer.
In the backswing there should be pressure on the inside of your right foot, similar to being on your inside edge of your hockey skates. This keeps your knees stable and allows your pelvis to pivot properly. Notice in the left image, you don’t want to roll your right ankle out on the backswing. By doing this, you will lift your right foot off the ground, sacrificing stability and power. As Jack Grout told Nicklaus, roll the LEFT ankle on the backswing, but not so much that it rolls the weight to the outside of the foot. You want to feel that the ankles are mobile while your feet are stable on the ground.
During the through swing or forward swing, pressure should be increased on the inside of the right foot as you push your center of gravity forward towards the target. The proper weight transfer will have a right leg that flexes and then extends in the forward swing. This action is similar to pushing the inside edge of your right skate into the ice or ground (blue arrow) to stride forward (red arrow). By pushing into the ground, you are essentially forced to roll your right angle as Grout told Nicklaus to do on the forward swing. As we take a closer look at the picture below, the move on the left depicts no transfer of weight initiated in the feet, while the right side picture clearly shows the forward movement of the center of gravity with a push off of the right foot.
See if you can replicate the proper footwork techniques the next time you’re out on the range and use the visuals of the skates to guide your ankles. Be sure to focus on the mobility of your ankles while maintaining stability with the bottom of your feet on the ground. Talk to your Certified Personal Coach to apply these techniques to your game!
I just discovered, through many years of trial and error, that my weight shift going back was FALSE, meaning that it only appeared that my weight was transferring properly but wasn’t. I used to play much more often (4/5 times per week) and was able to get down to a seven handicap (with suspect putting), but for the last dozen years I’ve had fewer opportunities to play, and what has developed has been a degraded swing that might look okay but was not okay, as my shots have been getting increasingly terrible (low/left). Last night while half swinging a club in the house , I felt that my forward (left foot) was too anchored to the ground as I drew the club back and creating a mild but deadly reverse pivot. I wasn’t swaying (weight was still to the inside of my right foot) and I wasn’t moving backward before impact, but the effect of my planted LEFT foot on the backswing caught up in my swing to cause either thin shots or hitting the ground before getting to the ball.
Seeing this video confirmed my very recent “epiphany”. The skate example is exactly what I needed to see to resolve a major swing flaw. My poor footwork has led to an overly flexed left knee at impact, so I haven’t been hitting off a solid left side. I used to do this correctly (remembering the work I did to build a good swing) but had stopped due to inactivity and simply forgot what proper footwork FEELS like. This is absolutely brilliant! Now, I just have to hit actual shots to confirm the diagnosis.