How to shift your weight in the golf swing?
The use of the ground in the golf swing is often something the average golfer doesn’t consciously think about or necessarily associate with being a part of the golf swing. The ground has always been there, right under our feet, so why think any further about it. What if I told you that our interaction with the ground is an important piece to a good golf swing? How we stand on the ground, how we ‘use’ the ground throughout the swing, influence what our body does. This influences what the club does, which ultimately influences what the golf ball does. It all starts from the ground up.
What we are specifically going to be talking about is pressure, which is the result of the interaction that takes place between your feet and the ground, known as Ground Reaction Force (GRF). Before we dive in any farther, let’s discuss the difference between pressure and weight because we hear them misused a lot.
What is pressure and how does it differ from weight when we talk about the golf swing?
Pressure is simply how much force is being applied perpendicularly in a given area. Weight is the average location of the mass of the body. When you’re standing upright with your arms by your side, your center of mass would be located somewhere around your belly button.
Here’s a great example:
I heard once from a gentleman named Dr. Sasho MacKenzie that really painted a great picture on the difference between pressure and weight. Imagine you’re standing tall with both feet on the ground. At this position, your weight (or center of mass) would be located around the belly button with pressure being evenly distributed between both feet (50-50). Now imagine someone is going to slide a magazine under your right foot. As you start to make the necessary movements to lift your foot, without knowing it, your actually having to push off the ground, increasing pressure in the right foot so that you can pick your leg up. Once your leg is off the ground and the magazine can slide under, you'll notice that your weight (center of mass) hasn't moved much from its original starting position, but your pressure has now gone 100% into your left foot. So, here’s the key take away from that example. You can move pressure without large movements in mass. This is a good thing when we make a golf swing! You don’t want your weight moving excessively. What you do want, is your pressure to move almost the entirety of your instep.
Now the important part.
How do you shift pressure properly, and what should it look like? What they have found with all the best players in the world is that they shift their pressure to their lead leg much earlier in the downswing than amateur players do. Below is an example of this from PGA Tour player Kevin Kisner, who is currently ranked 19th in the Official World Golf Rankings. What you’ll notice about his pressure is that in the image on the far left, he has reached his peak pressure in his trail foot at 80% while still completing his backswing. In the middle image when he has reached the top of the backswing he only has 75% in his trail foot. This means that he has already started to shift his pressure to his lead side while still working to complete the rest of his backswing. By the third and final image, he has 62% of his pressure in the lead side just before the left arm is parallel. This is a very common trend amongst all the best players in the world.
This lateral shift in pressure helps generate speed, power, and other beneficial elements in club delivery. Amateur golfers can benefit from all these things. This can often be a challenging thing for people to feel or understand without the help of an instructor, but thankfully we have a great tool that can help! It’s called the Sheftic Pressure Board and was built by PGA Professional and Director of Instruction at The Merion Golf Club, Mark Sheftic. Mark paired up with Dr. Robert Neal of Golf Biodynamics to calibrate and build this aid so that it teaches you how to shift your pressure, the correct amount and the timing/sequencing of this move. With the help of this tool, you’ll start to understand how pressure should work in the golf swing, as well as generate feelings that will help you achieve this in your golf swing. This tool is a great place to start if you want to start hitting the ball more solid, gaining distance, and improving accuracy. If you think you could benefit with a lesson on the Sheftic Pressure Board, visit our website at www.ajgolfacademy.com today to book a lesson. Let’s ‘shift’ your game in the right direction with the help of the Mark Sheftic Pressure Board. Get a board here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072PZ5BNF