Weight shift, as you've learned by now, is an incredibly important fundamental of all hitting and throwing sports, but especially golf. The problem is with golf, because our feet tend to be planted in the ground and not moving, we tend to forget about shifting our weight and swing everything from the waist up, and really even from the shoulders up for most amateur golfers.
One of the things that I do all the time with my clinics is I have the students go through what I call a weight shift sweep. We sweep from the most dramatic drills, and in a short period of time we work through condensing it to being a normal swing. What I mean by that is I take a big movement, a big weight shift drill, and then I slowly start making it more and more and more like in the context of a real golf swing. I want to show you that drill today because it's something you can practice every single day. If you struggle with weight shift, this drill will make it so simple to get weight shift built into your golf swing, and best of all, just like everything else with Rotary Swing, you can do it indoors without hitting balls.
The first one is the big one. Now, I've talked about this drill in other videos, but I'm going to put it all in the context of how I use it in the real world because, obviously, when you're going out to practice, and you're going to go off to play, and let's say you're struggling with your weight shift, you don't have time to do 300 reps on working on your weight shift. So how do we just kind of get something simple, and get a good kinesthetic feel to help us with that round that day so that we can start shifting our weight and helping everything fall into place and sequence correctly?
This is my favorite one to start with, and it's just a step drill. All you're doing is you're just working on a little dance move. You start with your feet together, and you're going to step to the right and step to the left. Now, of course, I'm going to do this while swinging a golf club, but if you're really struggling with your weight shift, at first you don't have to swing a golf club at all. What I want you to get used to is feeling weight transfer and feeling it in your feet.
Yeah, you probably don't think about your feet a lot in the swing, but guess what? They're just as important as tires to a race car. It's the only contact you have with the ground, so if you can't feel what your feet are doing, and you don't feel that you're on your heels, or on your toes, or on the balls of your feet, you need to become aware of that. The easiest way is to take away all the distractions and start feeling it with the most simple move, which right now, I can feel my weight go to my ankle, and then over to the ball of my feet, and it flattens out into the middle of my foot.
I can feel this happening, and also I'm noticing how little movement it takes, relatively, to transfer 100% of my weight. Now, so many of us, we struggle with swinging, transferring even 10% of our weight. Right now, obviously if I lift my foot up, 100% of my weight has been transferred to the right, and 100% to the left. So clearly, weight shift, not that hard. You can do this.
Now what we need to do is put this more into the context of a swing. So, I'm going out and getting ready to warm up, or I'm just at home working on these drills. I'm going to start with my feet together. I'm going to take a step and swing down. Take a step to the right, take a step to the left. Lift my foot up. Pretty simple, right? But what is this doing? It's giving me a sense of rhythm and balance and timing and tempo, to help me feel when my weight's to the right, fully planted, as I start to shift to the left it pulls my arm down, the club falls into the slot automatically, and as I release the club my weight's all on that left foot and I'm nice and balanced.
This drill is the fundamental movement to the golf swing. If you can take these steps, to the right and to the left, and learn to release the club properly at the right time, you've got weight transfer down. Now, the trick is you can hit balls like this, but it's a little tricky because we're moving around a lot and, obviously, golf's hard enough without the ball moving all over the place in relationship to our eyes.
What we want to do next, after you've done this drill a lot and you feel, "Yeah, I can do this. I can transfer my weight 100%, no problem, so why am I struggling with it in my swing?" Well, we don't get the freedom of all this movement, we'd struggle with consistency too much. So how do we start making this more like our normal swing? Good question.
Now what I'm going to do is make the step smaller. Instead of starting with my feet completely together and taking a big step that I'm really trying to exaggerate, I'm really trying to get a good feel of letting my hips move in the swing and feel what that feels like, I'm going to start with my feet a little bit more of a normal setup, but maybe a little bit narrower, and take a little step. Now it's pretty simple because now it's more like a normal swing. It'd be a lot easier for me to hit balls here, starting with my feet really narrow, taking a tiny step, and a tiny step back to the left. So we slowly just start making that move smaller and smaller.
Now, eventually you're going to get to the point where your feet are in a normal setup, and instead of stepping, I just want you to lift your feet. So instead, my feet aren't going to move this time, but I'm going to lift my left foot, and lift my right foot. So now I'm just going to keep doing this. I'm just lifting my feet up and down instead of stepping laterally. Now my head's not moving as much, my pelvis isn't moving as much. I went from a big exaggerated move, where my pelvis had to move a lot, so now it's just barely rocking back and forth. That's really helping starting to make it more like how it's going to be when I swing a golf club normally.
Then the next step. How do I get from there? And again, you can do all of this stuff right before you warm up, or as you're warming up to hit balls. You could do this in five minutes, you can do it in 10 minutes, you can take an hour to work through all these. So now, instead of lifting my feet up completely, all I'm going to do is lift my heels up. Now my feet are going to stay on the ground. I'm going to lift my left heel up as I go back, lift my right heel up as I come through.
Again, all we're really focusing on here is weight transfer, so the fact that my heel is coming up in the air, obviously I don't really want to see you do that in the real swing, it's not necessary. But what I'm want you to feel is that your left foot becomes light, that you don't feel like if I had my fingers under your foot that you'd crush them. Right? So lifting your heel up is not really the technical thing that we're trying to accomplish. What we're trying to feel is weight transfer.
How do we start making that more in the context of the swing? Keep your feet moving as you're kind of starting to work through this. I want you to keep getting comfortable with your legs being alive in the golf swing. We need them for power and control. So now, instead of lifting my heels up completely, I'm just going to lighten them. What I mean by that is feel like you just kind of lift your heel up in your shoe, but don't literally let your foot come off the ground. So my heel is still on the ground, but I still feel the lightness on the left side.
Now, because I didn't lift my foot up completely I didn't transfer as much weight. When I'm lifting my left heel up, this is still like 95% on my right side. As I start to lift, just feeling the lift of the heel inside the shoe instead of lifting my heel off the ground, well now it goes to maybe 80%, give or take, which, guess what? That's how much you want to transfer in the real swing.
What you've done is you've gone from 100% down to 80%, to build it into the context of the swing so that you can feel how to shift your weight. Now I'm just barely lifting and releasing. A little lift, release. Now, what I'm really feeling is that same movement of my hips feeling relaxed and being able to freely move during the swing, but without me being so bound up and trying to just swing the club with my arms and hands.
If you work through this sweep drill, from the most exaggerated to the least exaggerated, it'll help you warm up faster every time, and keep building in weight shift into your golf swing.
-Dr. Jeffrey Broker, Assoc. Prof. in Biomechanics at University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and Former Senior Biomechanist for U.S. Olympics Committee
-Hub Orr - Happy PREMIUM MEMBER of RotarySwing.com
-Sam Jarman, PGA Golf Instructor in the UK