Finding True Golf Swing Balance

Finding proper balance is a key fundamental to a sound golf swing. This video talks about how to find true balance and gives you a drill to help you setup balanced every time.

  • Setting up on the balls of your feet is often recommended for mobility - but we're not trying to move!
  • You want to stay centered and anchored during the golf swing
  • Find your balance point by rocking forward and back, then settling into over your ankles

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Grant
Craig .... You can use the rotary connect for legs too? Forgive my newbie question.
April 24, 2021
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Grant. Absolutely. Take a look at RotaryConnect Lower Body Drill Video.
April 24, 2021
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Estevan
Hi there! I am new to all of this and am excited to get started. I just received my RotaryConnect today, but I would like to know when it would be ideal to start using it. I am thinking it makes sense to start using it at DEAD Drill Step 4: Add Lead Arm. What do you think?
November 14, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Estevan. For arm usage you really won't need it until both arms are swinging the club. However, for leg usage you can go ahead at start with DEAD 2. Making sure the leg work is good during the weight shift/transition phase.
November 15, 2020
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Estevan
Ok, got it. Thanks!
November 15, 2020
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Daniel
I have an unusual body shape. Very long, skinny legs and arms and a very small torso. After following your setup videos religiously I end up with an address position where my butt is sticking way back and my upper body is bent very far forward. It feels great--totally balanced both at address and during the swing. So no issues there. But it looks weird because my body is forming a very sharp angle. Am I missing something? Or is this the new normal given my body proportions?
October 21, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Daniel. It may be due to your proportions. However, if you would like to post an image of your setup on this page. I would be happy to make sure all is correct.
October 22, 2020
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Daniel
Sounds great but I don't see where to post images. I'm on the main website. Do I need to go to the Facebook group to post images? Somewhere else? Please assist. Thanks.
October 22, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Daniel. You can post to facebook, or here. You will see when you click reply. "Upload and Image". For ex: Here.
October 23, 2020
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Daniel
I don't have that option on my screen regardless of web browser. Is this maybe a membership upgrade feature that I need to buy into?
October 23, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Daniel. Not that I know of. Been there awhile. Do you have flash enabled? Also, you can put it on the facebook page as well.
October 23, 2020
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Mario
I agree with Chuck completely. I've been playing golf for 45 years and was always told that the key to balance is to keep your weight between the balls of your feet. I started thinking of the swing like this. If you had a heavy duffle bag with handles on each end and had to throw it as far as you could while maintaining balance there's no way you could maintain balance with the weight over the balls of your feet. Once I started keeping my weight and balance point over my ankles I have been hitting the ball much more solid and have gained 8-10 yards with my irons. And I am always in balance, posing on those good iron shots. I am 63 years old, 5'4" tall, and weigh 160lbs. For me to find this key at this stage in my golf career is a blessing. I am hitting the ball further than I did 20 years ago. In fact now when I play with the other (old guys) they make me move back a tee. Thank you Chuck.
August 21, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Mario. Love it. Thank you for the post. Keep progressing forward! Just not too much towards the toes .
August 22, 2020
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Mike
As we get older the front of the pelvis tends to drop unless one makes a conscious effort to hold it up. My question is: Should one make sure that the front of the pelvis be held up before bending forward from the hips. If not, it seems to me that ones rear end can end up scything in an opposite direction to the turn…….
December 5, 2018
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Mike. You are looking for a nice and neutral spine to facilitate proper rotation. When hinging forward from the hips if you have that pelvis dip you can tend to get the spine out of sync. You may need to adjust your pelvis to not have excessive drop.
December 5, 2018
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Anthony
I have seen a short drill by Eric Jones where when you are in correct balance you are able to wiggle your toes without losing balance. If you are too far forward or too far back you cannot do this. Do you agree with this?
December 13, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Anthony. Wiggling your toes should be possible when centered over the ankle.
December 13, 2017
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Mariam
Hi Craig, Chris Tyler said something interesting during my last review that I am sitting too far back at address which is making it difficult to move dynamically. It's difficult to shift back because I don't have anywhere to go (weight is already back on my heal at address). One point I didn't quite understand perfectly is that he said weight shift is going to work more like a figure-of-eight. I think I understand the start of the figure of eight (neutral to back right as load up right glute in back swing). My understanding is that the start of the transition is squatting to neutral (at which point I assumed weight would go from right heal to left heal). Figure-of-eight concept makes me think I might have this wrong? Thanks so much to you and everyone at RST for your help.
August 28, 2017
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Ross
Setting up with the weight over the ankle joint makes sense. Finishing with the weight over the lead ankle makes sense too. What is the ideal during the rest of the swing? Looking down the line, should the weight be over the ankles throughout? If so what counterbalances the arms as they swing through impact?
August 27, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Ross. The weight should be centered over the ankle joints through the swing. Make sure you Anchor to the Ground (video). The glutes will be used to help stabilize the hips as your body rotates away from the target and you release the club. You shouldn't have any issue maintaining stability.
August 28, 2017
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ALEX
Hello, I'm a French golf teacher and i've been following RST for a while now and i truly think of RST as part of the best in the buisness and my personal favorite. I don't have very much experience as a golfer or teacher (i've been teaching for 4 years) and i've decided to study your site. For me aswell as for my teaching. I only have this small precision to make on this video. When it comes to mecanics, balance is of course, in this case, neutral joint alignement BUT : 1) on a 2 dimentional frame (back to forward), balance is made of 2 points of pressure to be able to "keep" balance ; The heel and the ball. Thats why the foot is made the way it is : The Plantar Arc. Now, on a 3 dimentional frame, as for tripod, you need an extra balance point or pressure point. The tripod's third leg... In our case it's another foot. Since the heel and the ball are very close to each other, we need 4 pressure points to be able to maintain balance. So the pressure point isn't completly at the center of the heel, it's between the ball and the heel to use the foot as it's made to be and use those 4 pressure points... To be precise, the knee joint "should" in a mecanical sens, be just over the area of the foot were the top shoe lace is... To equally divide our weight between those 4 points. I hope you found my comment worth a discussion, Best regards, Pierre Alexandre T.
March 6, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Pierre. Your goal is to be balanced over the center of the ankle joint with a connection or line running from the ankle joint to the back of the knee joint. I see some of your points with regard to the balance. Your overall goal is to not make the ball or toes of the feet the focal point to try and maintain correct positioning.
March 8, 2017
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Tram
Maintain balance from Impact to finish. If I understand this lesson, the weight on the left foot should be concentrated on the left heel during the whole swing to facilitate balance. The pb comes when hitting with driver. This long club creates a huge centrifugal force at impact and there is tendency to draw the club outward which from time to time tumbles the body and makes lose balance at finish. What is your recommendation to get balance every single time of swing. Thank you very much.
January 21, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Tram. Proper post up and release. If you focus on not over driving the hips and syncing impact (Step 2 3 4 - 5 Step System). Also, allowing for a smooth release (Flip vs. Release and Vijay Release Drill). You should be able to maintain better control and finish on a nice posted lead side. Let the club do the work. Even though there is a lot of centrifugal force allow the club to swing freely through. Don't add extra through the shot.
January 22, 2017
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Mark
How do you log reps?
January 5, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Mark. We have printable worksheets under the Swing Reviews Tab --> Checkpoints for Practice. Also, the log count for the site is currently available under the 5 Step System Drill Only Videos.
January 6, 2017
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Yuefeng
Thank you Craig for the confirmation. You were really sharp to note in my swing review that I placed too much weight forward at the top of my backswing, which caused me to lose the tush line. I did some practice swing (without ball) to focus on shifting weight to right heel in my backswing last night. And everything looked much better on video - I maintained tush line better, right foot started rolling instead of lifting, and I even got more lag than before. However, after I checked the scratch mark on the mat, I suddenly realized that in my new swing I would actually have hit the ball with the toe edge, or even completely missed the ball from the inside, which really scared me. I reckon if I lost my tush line and still hit the ball on center, now I keep my tush line I would perhaps indeed miss the ball assuming nothing else in my swing changes. Is there anything else I need to change on my swing to compensate for this? Or hand eye coordination will help do the trick as long as there is a ball? Thanks a lot.
December 13, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Yuefeng. Now that you have some room. Elements of the swing maybe changing. It does take some new coordination to reach the better spot at impact. However, check to make sure you didn't change you path on the way down. Usually the toe swipe comes from being a hair steep.
December 13, 2016
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Yuefeng
Hello, want to quickly clarify the dynamic balance through the swing. Assuming at set up, weight distribution is about 50/50 left to right, and 50/50 heel to toe, is it right that 1) at top of backswing, weight is about 20/80 left to right and 80/20 heel to toe, and 2) at impact, weight is about 80/20 left to right and 80/20 heel to toe? Thanks much.
December 13, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Yuefeng. Your synopsis seems on par.
December 13, 2016
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Don
I thought wt was ~80% on R heel at the end of takeaway. Wt then moves toward the left foot PRIOR to the top of the backswing. Maybe 50-80% on L at the top. Please clarify.
April 15, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Don. Yes, weight will be shifted to 80% in the takeaway. You will start the downswing before completing the backswing with the goal of having 50/60% back on the lead side by squat to square.
April 15, 2020
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Tym
Rock Back to Front on your Feet to find a neutral position.
October 24, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Tym. Do you have a question about this video?
October 25, 2016
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Denis
Chuck, I imagine you answered this question someplace on the site but to save a lot of searching can you give the recommended specs for a video camera. I have a iPhone 6, and a couple video cameras there all ok but none have fast enough frame rates to show slow motion swings without distortion. On another note I've nearly finished a 7!/2 hour lesson plan at one of the national golf instruction chains. I don't think I've improved much with the instruction I've received. They can't say I didn't work at it, I developed tennis elbow to the point I couldn't pick up a club. I think I'll upload the beginning and the last video lessons. I mentioned your site and instruction to them, how I thought they could improve lesson plans by taking a more detailed approach to solving swing faults starting with setup up and balance as you have described. I even directed them to this website. They agreed with some of your ideas and disagreed with others. I don't know how much time this individual spent examining this web site in order to form a solid opinion. I'm sold on the lesson plans provided here and anticipate being a much better golfer in the future thanks to your help.
September 25, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Denis. Thanks for sharing. I'm happy to hear that you feel improvement will be in the near future with the RST System. Chuck and myself use iPads, iPhones, and Androids. Some of the newer software can help with the frame rate. But, there aren't a whole lot of good ones on the market that have great frame rate for the cost. You could also take a look at some of the Casio model cameras. They have many options for FPS adjustments.
September 26, 2016
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William
I find that when I consciously relax my feet after set up (from the calves down) it helps me keep my balance through the swing.
November 13, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello William. Being relaxed at setup is crucial. It gives you the ability to engage the muscles correctly instead being overly tense and not activating properly.
November 13, 2015
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Nguyen
Hi Guy Does the knees need to be straight or can be relaxed? As I found a little bit stress and uncomforable when trying to straighten the knees to find my true balance. Thank!
August 30, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Nguyen. You don't want to lock them, but it should be easier with the legs straighter to find the proper balance. If it is causing too much discomfort though. Allow for a touch of bend. No need for pain when training these new positions.
August 31, 2015
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Edward
Is it fair so say that when it in the set up your weight should be over the arches of your feet? (i.e. between the heel and the ball of the foot)
July 11, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Edward. You should strive to have it more centered over the ankle joint.
July 12, 2015
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Norman
Hi RST Team, how much or little should the left and right foot flare out during setup
August 20, 2014
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Norman. Typically the feet should be as square as possible. However, I understand how the feeling and visually it is tough to achieve. If you want to flare, its ok. Try and keep it very minimal though.
August 20, 2014
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William
Is Adam Scott on the balls of his feet more than you would teach?
July 1, 2014
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hey William. Adam is a little bit towards the balls of his feet.
July 1, 2014
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Brian
I agree that putting weight at the balls of the feet creates potential for unwanted movement. However, when I tried to center my weight further back from where they were (balls of the feet), I keep falling back on my follow through. Does this mean I'm too far back? Thanks for your help! Brian
June 29, 2014
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hey Brian. You can put the weight to far back on the heels. Make sure you are over the the ankle joints. Not the back of the foot. If the position is correct. You might not be shifting enough weight to your lead leg. Take a look at the Understanding Weight Shift Part 3 Video in the Weight Shift Section to get on that lead leg.
June 30, 2014
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john
I have been practicing perfect posture and weigh distribution, noticing how much it affects ball contact. I am trying to work on consistency in center strikes. As you know all too well, when you hit the center "meat" of the club, the ball goes straighter and farther. Here is my question: how do we work best on center-ball contact (mine tend toward the heel when I "miss")? When I am in good posture and balance, I have a much better chance of striking dead center. How do we work on better ball strikes in the center. And I'm not referring to shaft lean or angle or compression necessarily. Just clean, center-struck shots. I use impact tape all the time as feedback. Please comment. Thanks!
April 9, 2014
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René (Certified RST Instructor)
Hi John. It sounds your moving towards the ball in your down swing. Be sure you have your glutes engaged the whole time down and through impact and your weight is moving from your right ankle to your left ankle and not towards your toes.
April 10, 2014

Golf Swing Balance              

  One of the most confusing aspects of understanding golf instruction is getting conflicting tips from different instructors. One of the most confusing things that's out there is where your weight distribution should be from heel to toe at address. Most golf instructors and most books that are written will tell you that you should set up with your weight on the balls of your feet because that's a more athletic position to be in, and that's true. If you were a baseball player and you were a shortstop and you needed to move in any direction or a basketball player or a linebacker and you don't know which direction you're trying to go and you need to be able to move at a moment's notice, setting up on the balls of your feet is great.

                The problem with that for golf is, we're not trying to go anywhere. In fact, we're trying to do the exact opposite. We are trying to stay centered. If you're trying to stay centered and not move in any direction, you need to be anchored to the earth. In doing that, you need to find what true balance is, and that's what we're going to talk about in this video. True balance is very easy for you to find. I don't want you to just take my word for it.

                I want you to stand up, and I want you to go through this simple little exercise with me. All we're going to do is, we're going to get standing vertically, just feet nice and natural posture, feet just natural with the just underneath your hips. All I want you to do is, with your eyes open at first, I want you to gently rock forward onto your toes. I don't want you bending forward. I want you just to keep your body nice and straight, then rock forward to your toes, then rock back to your heel. Just do this five times with your eyes open.

                I want you to become aware of the pressures that you feel in your feet. You'll feel your feet tense up as you move toward your toes. As you move too far back on your heels, you'll feel your toes kind of lift off the ground, like you're going to lose your balance, so just gently rock forward and back. Now what I want you to do is, I want you to close your eyes and do this same drill. Just rock forward and back and, what I want you to do is, you tell me where you feel balanced. Do you feel balanced with weight out on your toes or do you feel balanced on your heels, or is it somewhere in the middle?

                The truth of the matter is that true balance is designed for your weight to go right through the center of your ankle. That's the way your body's designed. All of your joints, when you're in neutral joint alignment or just good golf posture, there's a straight line going through the middle of these joints and back of your knee, and that's where your body's structure is designed to bear your weight. If that's where your body's engineered to be balanced is through the center of your ankles, that's where your body's the most structurally sound, and that's how you need to set up for the golf swing.

                All you're going to do is gently rock forward onto your goes, rock back with your eyes closed, and find where you settle in right about the center of your ankles, and you'll feel your feet relax. You'll feel your toes won't be curling up in your shoes, and you won't feel them lifting off the ground. You'll feel nice and balanced. That is how you're going to find where true balance is. It's important to understand that your body's designed to be this way.

                As we get into the followthrough and the golf downswing and all these things, being over the center of your ankle's going to be imperative to protect your back, your knee, your hip, and all these things from injury, so it's very important that you take the time to understand where true balance is. Like I said, you can do it with your eyes closed. Just go through the drill yourself, find where you're balanced and then, as we go through later on getting into posture and you get over the center of your ankles, you're going to feel very balanced and athletic. You won't feel off balance like you're falling off forward onto your toes.

                If you struggled in your golf swing with this whole followthrough, which we see all the time on the range, you're going to start to understand part of where that's coming from, is that you're probably set up way out on your toes. You've got all this force in the golf swing going out away from you, so why would you set up in a direction that's going to allow you to easily be pulled off balance in that direction? In fact, you need to be back so you can fight the forces going away from you and, as you're rotating, that will help counterbalance that force even more, but you have to be over your ankle.

                True balance is going to be, as you're in your posture right over the center of your ankle, as you flex your knees and hinge from the hip a little bit, it'll move slightly forward just in front of your ankles. There's a range that you could look at from the center of your ankle to maybe an inch and a half or so in front of that. That's where you're going to be balanced and athletic and able to move.

                The more you're out on the toes, the more you're going to struggle with activating the big muscles in your backside on the backswing and the more difficulty you're going to have getting back to the left side, getting over your ankle, and being able to rotate properly and, more importantly, safely. Sway forward, sway back. Just rock forward on your heels and toes until you find your balance, and you will start to be in a much better position at golf setup.

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