Pushing Your Weight Around
One of the most glaring errors I witness in the swings of most amateur golfers who are not low single digit players is an incorrect or almost non-existent weight shift through the downswing. Whether it is a chip, short pitch or full swing shot, the weight has to be moving toward the target and predominantly on the left side at impact. That’s the only way you can “stay ahead” of the club so that proper impact can be made.

What I see in mid- to high-handicap players is that they initiate the downswing with the arms and hands, which forces the body turn to be stopped as a counteragent to this upper-body turn. The result is the poor shots most amateur golfers hit. It’s not that their upper body movements are that wrong, it’s just that they are out of sequence with the lower body to generate maximum power and consistency.

So, how do you fix this? It’s really not that hard, actually. But you’ll learn it quicker without a club at all. Here’s a drill to really learn what the lower body is going to be doing to move your weight to the left side during the downswing.
  1. Take your posture for a mid-iron shot, and cross your arms across your chest, fingers of each hand on the front of the opposite side shoulder.

  2. Slowly move your hips so that your left rear pocket moves straight back toward your left heel. Just a few inches will move your weight significantly toward the outside of your left foot.

  3. The key here is to not allow your shoulders and upper body to initiate this move. All you should be feeling is the left rear pocket moving back and around slightly. This will cause you belt buckle to point over your left toe.

  4. Do this motion repeatedly . . . slowly . . . and deliberately, feeling how the slight movement of the hips really gets your weight moving toward the left side. Once you get the feel of this, extend the range of rotation of your hips a little at a time, seeing how it forces your entire body to move “on top of” your left foot, so that your chest now faces down the imaginary target line.
Practice this rotation move of the lower body until you can do it easily in perfect balance. Once you get the feel of it, let your arms hang into their address position and do it some more, feeling how the rotation of the hips then forces the upper body to rotate, followed by the arms. During the downswing, the only way great golf can be played is if the hips start the rotation downward first, which pulls the upper body, which pulls the arms, which pull the hands, which pulls the clubhead.

The key is to make/let your hips lead the entire action. Let me know if this little drill doesn’t give you the feeling of a more powerful swing through impact.
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[ comments ]
BAKE_DAWG40 says:
I had this problem toward the end of the season on chips and pitches. All upper body. I'm going to use this drill over the winter and see how it goes.
cvargo says:
Great advice hope this helps my short game
jpjeffery says:
This is my big problem, I think.

I know I can do it, just not when it matters, so I need to make it second nature.
aaronm04 says:
I've tried this countless times. Lead with the hips. Push down with the left foot. Clear the hips. Other thoughts to communicate this but every time I've tried this, my lower body outraces my upper body, the club gets trapped behind me, and I hit a high weak shot straight right. The only way I've managed to stop seeing this shot is to lead with my upper shoulders and think about swinging the butt end of the club at the ball. I may try this on the range again but given my past failures with it, I may just stick with what is working for me.
legitimatebeef says:
Word up. I've pretty much decided this is the most decisive action in the golf swing. The pivot, or weightshift whatever you wanna call it, it's the engine of the swing. For myself I've discovered that I can make certain backswing errors as long as I make a good hard pivot, my shots will be serviceable. I can try to improve over time by refining swing paths and positions, and what not but the quality of the pivot is what most determines the quality of shot.

I don't really struggle to get my weight over to my left side. But my problem is not keeping the left side solid, not breaking down, not backing out of it. I've noticed that there's lots of different planes but among pros almost every swing features getting to the left side in a way that's aggressive and at the same time solid and consistent.
jfurr says:
This was a big "a-ha" moment for me in working on the swing in recent weeks. I was confused about starting the downswing. I knew that going at it from the arms was bad, but attempts to use the core/hips were confused. Spin out. I went back to the Hogan hankerchief wipe, the forward hip moves laterally and back. It's tricky, but night and day results when timed correctly.
jpjeffery says:
@aaronm04 Perhaps the trick to avoid the upper half, or at least the arms and the club, getting left behind is to relax the arms and just let the club fall. This, I think, is the essence of the passive swing (and incidentally, I'm no shill of that teaching theory, there are plenty of other people who have said a similar thing, inc. Ernie Els).
jpjeffery says:
Just come back from the practice area at Beckenham Place Park where I was trying the technique as described by Terry above, using almost exclusively my P-Wedge.

I could certainly feel it working, and when I did get it right (about 60% of the time), without any effort to hit the ball fast (and so 'hard'), the ball flew high, straight and about 80yds with a best of about 88yds - all accompanied by a nice 'chock' sound of the ball being pinched in to the ground and followed by a divot under or, better still, after the ball.

This just might be the trigger move I need. Thanks, Terry.
Tim Horan says:
Get your self a Leaderboard training aid (listed on Oobsite). If you don't transfer your weight you simply fall off! It is like learning to skate...once you have the basics you refine them and learn from your mistakes.
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