Proper Weight Distribution for Power and Accuracy
by Rob Krieger – PGA Director of Instruction
Daily, ever since I started teaching golf, I discuss weight transfer and the proper utilization of footwork to provide more power and hit straighter golf shots. For most amateurs, it is very easy to read one thing or hear a discussion on the Golf Channel and assume it is correct for every type of golf shot. Contrary to this belief, different shots require modifying weight transfer due to the objective of the golf shot. Knowing this can make you a better player.
In general, a major issue at impact, the lead or front leg needs to be a solid post, weight is on the instep or center of the front foot, not the outside of the foot, and by no means on the back leg. Here are different shots and the ways to use the ground to transfer weight and the body’s momentum toward the target to achieve the desired results.
Full Swings—Ball on Ground Max Distance
Set Up. Weight distribution for most shots on the ground can be 50/50, all the way up to 75/25, lead to trail foot. This helps encourage hitting the ball first and striking the ground in front of the ball.
Take away. The weight shifts laterally or bumps to the inside/center of the trail leg becoming the back post, in which the body can rotate. Shift/bump first, then rotate. There is no rotation of the hip until after the hands get past the outside of the thigh of the trail leg from the shift/bump.
Top of Backswing. The majority of the weight should be on the trail leg or back post, just like a batter in the batter’s box. Also, the weight is on the inside/center, not the outside of the back post.
Transition Back Toward Ball for Impact. The weight now needs to shift, or bump back toward the lead leg creating the front post. This is a lateral shift-first, slightly, so the weight goes to the inside/center of the foot. This makes for a stable post on which the hips can rotate. The sequence is shift/bump first to establish a solid foundation on front post, then rotate around that post.
Impact. The majority of the weight is on the front post, but it is still centered on the front post for stability, power, and accuracy of squarely striking the clubface. After impact, the weight will roll to the outside of the front post’s foot, but never does the weight get there before impact.
CAUTION: If the weight gets to the outside of the foot before impact, this creates an unstable base and the arms struggle to maintain a correct path as well as clubface squareness, leading to inconsistent shots lacking power.
Full Swings—Tee Shots Max Distance
Set Up. Weight distribution at address should be reversed from when the ball is on the ground with anywhere from 60-90% of the weight on the back foot on the inside/center of the back foot. The reason to do this at address is so that it eliminates the variable of shifting weight so you can create a stable back post before beginning the swing. This will also create more incline in the shoulders in which to hit the ball on the upswing.
Take Away and Top of Backswing. With the weight on the back post, the lower body can turn easier, but the weight cannot roll to the outside of the foot. A baseball player digs the inside of the back foot into the dirt so they can push off when they need to shift their weight. They do not dig in the outside part of the foot, it is always the inside of the trail foot—no shift, just rotate to start swing.
Transition Back Toward Ball for Impact. The weight needs to shift/bump back toward the lead leg creating the front post. This is a lateral shift first, so the weight goes to the inside/center of the foot. This makes for a stable front post on which the hips can rotate; shift/bump first, then rotate.
Impact. The majority of the weight is on the front foot and still centered on the front post for stability, power and accuracy of striking the clubface properly. After impact, the weight will roll to the outside of the front post’s foot but does not get there before impact.
Pitch Shots—Half to Three-Quarter Swings
Set Up. The goal here is to control the power and muscle used to have the ball go a consistent distance so you know how far your golf shot will travel. Because this is a shorter swing, we open our stance to the target. Think of it as pre-setting your impact position. Place seventy-five percent of your weight on the front foot creating your front post, head is behind the ball. Some players will also close their stance and keep the shoulders parallel to the target in order to better stay behind the ball. Do what works best for you.
Take Away and Top of Backswing. The weight remains on the inside of the front post, and there is no weight shift, just a small rotation of the hips with a half to three-quarter backswing pivoting on the front post. This is mostly an upper body move.
Transition Back Toward Ball for Impact. The upper body begins the move back to the ball by moving the sternum horizontal to the ground and back to the ball, keeping shoulders level, not dipping or dropping them. Weight is maintained on the inside to center of the front post.
Impact. Weight is still centered on front post, hips and shoulders are open to target with the head behind ball. After impact, the weight will roll to the outside of the front foot, but not before impact.
Improving your footwork and understanding where your weight is throughout the swing allows the body to maintain stability and balance, creating more golf balls hitting the center of the clubface
with much more accuracy, power, and distance. Centeredness of contact is important for consistency so power can be added later once hitting the sweet spot on the clubface is consistent.
Good Luck and Always—Fairways & Greens.