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Balance in Golf | Get Grounded to Improve Your Golf Swing
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Published: February 16, 2014
Understanding balance in golf can be confusing. It seems like you're always getting conflicting advice from one golf instructor to the next.
So where should your weight be distributed, from heel to toe, at address in golf and why?
Most golf instructors and golf books will tell you to set up on the balls of your feet because that's a more athletic position.
Now, it's true that it's "athletic." If you were a baseball player, say a shortstop, you would need to be ready to move in any direction.
The same goes for a basketball player or a linebacker; you don't know which direction you're going to need to go, and you need to be able to move at a moment's notice.
In those cases, setting up on the balls of your feet is great.
The problem with that for golf is that we're not trying to go anywhere. In fact, we're trying to do the exact opposite.
We're trying to stay centered. If you're trying to stay centered and not move in any direction, you need to be anchored to the ground.
In order to anchor yourself you need to find what true balance is, and that's what we're going to talk about here.
Try It Now: Rock Forward, Rock Back
True balance in golf is very easy for you to find, but you can't just read about it. Stand up and do this simple little exercise:
Stand up straight in a natural posture with your feet underneath your hips.
Keeping your eyes open at first, rock gently forward onto your toes. Don't bend forward, just keep your body nice and straight.
Rock forward onto your toes, then rock back onto your heels.
Repeat this rocking exercise five times with your eyes open. Become aware of the pressures that you feel in your feet.
You'll feel your feet tense up as you move toward your toes, then as you move back onto your heels, you'll feel your toes lift off the ground to help you keep your balance.
Pay attention to these feelings as you rock gently forward and back.
Now Close Your Eyes
After you have repeated the drill five times, do it again with your eyes closed. Just rock forward and back.
Now you can observe for yourself where you feel balanced. Are you balanced when the weight is:
Out on your toes?
Back on your heels?
Somewhere in between?
The truth of the matter is that you will only feel true balance in golf when your weight goes right through the center of your ankle.
That's the way your body is designed. When you're in neutral joint alignment - or just good golf posture - you can imagine a straight line going through the middle of the joints in back of your knee. That's where your body's structure is designed to bear your weight.
Your body is engineered to be balanced through the center of your ankles. That's where it is the most structurally sound, and that's what you need to keep in mind when you set up for the golf swing.
Find Your Balance Point
Close your eyes. Gently rock forward onto your toes, then rock back. Find the point where you settle in, just over the center of your ankles.
You'll feel your feet relax. Your toes won't be curling up in your shoes, and you won't feel them lifting off the ground to keep your balance either.
You'll feel nice and balanced. That's your true balance point.
Your body is designed to work this way. As we get into the follow through, golf downswing and other parts of the golf swing, being over the center of your ankle is going to be imperative to protect your back, your knee, and your hip against injury.
It's very important to take the time to understand where your true balance point is.
Just close your eyes and go through the drill to find where you're naturally balanced. This is the first step of getting into posture.
As you get over the center of your ankles you're going to feel very balanced and athletic.
You should not feel off balance, like you're falling forward onto your toes.
Getting Grounded Helps Your Swing
If you've struggled with follow through in your golf swing, you'll probably find that part of the problem is that you're setting up way out on your toes.
You've got all this force in the golf swing going out and away from you. Why would you set up already leaning in a direction that's going to allow you to be pulled off balance that much more easily?
In fact, you need to be back so you can fight the outward forces. As you're rotating, you'll be able to counterbalance that force even more, but you have to be over your ankles.
Your true balance point in a neutral posture is right over the center of your ankle.
As you flex your knees and hinge from the hip it will move slightly forward, just in front of your ankles.
When trying to achieve true balance in golf there's a range, 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 feel balanced, 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 address.
Checkpoints for Practice
- 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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