One the most difficult tasks I have faced in improving my golf swing is trying to start my downswing with my lower body first. Most of the great golfers start their downswing by shifting their weight from the back leg to front leg FIRST before they release their arms. As the club goes back the body actually moves slightly forward. This weight transfer from back to front provides a base where a golfer can use the ground to create power. After watching a video of my swing, this is one of the main reasons I feel I don’t get the distance I want. It is also one of the most difficult things to truly put into effect. So I have put together 5 of the best golf weight shift drills I could find to help grasp this crucial aspect of the golf swing.
The weight shift in the golf swing is called by many different names. Pro instructor Sean Foley called this move a “squat” in which head dips on the downswing to create power. Tiger Woods was a master at this “squat” or “jump” action. It is very important for the average golfer (like me) to have a visual of what actually starts the downswing because it is not an easy move. The best video that I have come across to help explain the idea of weight shift comes from teaching pro Shawn Clement. He uses the term “fall” to describe the transfer of weight.
Once you have an idea of what you are trying to get accomplished on the downswing you can begin practicing a few golf weight shift drills. Below are my favorite drills to help get the correct feeling in the downswing.
Golf Weight Shift Drills
Drill #1 – One Leg (Shawn Clement)
Of all the golf weight shift drills Shawn Clement calls this one the 2nd best. He even goes further calling it the 2nd best of all golf drills. I am not so sure about that but I do know that it has really helped me understand the importance of weight shift. Clement shows that you can hit it just as far off one leg as you can off two. In addition, it truly gives you the feel of what happens on the downswing and where your weight needs to be at impact.
To do this drill, take your normal posture and bring your right foot back so that it does not pull you to either side. Make sure to stay on balance. No weight should be on the back foot at any given time. Now, just swing keeping the weight on the inside of the left ankle through the swing.
Drill #2 – Down The Wall (Chris Ryan)
Chris Ryan is a PGA National Academy Instructor and uses this drill to work on starting the downswing and will help understand the sequence of the swing. You need to start the downswing with the lower body moving toward the target. This drill works on keeping the club back (because it has to slide down the wall in the drill) and allowing the body to move first. Furthermore, this drill will train the club to shallow and stay in the proper position.
To do this drill, you will need a wall and an alignment stick or ruler (you can use your club if you like). Start the drill in a good posture with your heels about a foot from the wall. Take a normal slow backswing and at the top of the swing have the end of the stick or ruler touching the wall. Now, start your downswing keeping the stick or ruler touching the wall until it is about shoulder height. Finally, just finish your swing. This downswing drill really helps get the hands and clubs to shallow before moving towards the ball allowing your weight to shift.
Drill #3 – Step Right Step Left (Clay Ballard)
Clay Ballard from Top Speed Golf has a great weight shift drill that helps practice the feeling of creating power in the downswing. He is one of the top instructors whose main focus is to increase golfers clubhead speed. The “Step Right Step Left” drill is one of my favorites as it focuses on getting the weight on the inside of your right foot on the backswing and the inside part of the left foot on the downswing.
To do this golf weight shift drill, start with your feet close together and take a mini step right with your right foot as you take your backswing. Now on the downswing you will take mini step with the left foot and finish your swing. The weight should move to the inside of the right foot and finish on inside of the left. He recommends 100 reps of this drill before taking your game to the course.
Drill #4 – Doc’s Drill (Jim Suttie)
Jim Suttie is one of the top 50 golf instructors and does not like the term weight shift when talking about starting the downswing. Instead he prefers the idea that it is “pivot”that transfers the weight and not a shift. He wants 70% of your weight on the inside part of the right foot on the backswing. Then the weight moves to the left pivot point on the downswing. Dr. Suttie’s drill is somewhat similar to Clay Ballard in that it involves the golfer stepping to create power.
To do this drill, address the ball normally but then bring your left foot next to your right so they are together. Put the club positioned between you feet and square to the ball. Now, take your backswing and as you get close to the top step forward with your left foot much like a baseball player. Check for divots after the shot to know if your weight is on your left side.
Drill #5 – Ball Ahead Of Feet (Michael Breed)
Another one of the great golf weight shift drills comes from Golf Channel’s Michael Breed. This drill will help you shift your weight and not hit the ball fat. Most golfers who hit the ball fat have their weight still on their back foot at impact. That is why weight shift is so important. Breed’s drill will fix those fat shots that plague so many average golfers.
To do this drill, have tee the ball up and grab a 6 iron. Tee the ball up “outside” your lead foot. Now go ahead and hit the ball. This will get your weight properly transferred. Practice this drill slowly at first and increase speed only after you are able to hit the cleanly.
Practice Practice Practice
The weight shift is one of the most difficult and complicated tasks in a golf swing. Most average golfers don’t shift their weight correctly. There are many different theories on how to get it done but all I know is that if you want to create power then you better shift your weight. It will take practice and is not something that you will notice right away. Hopefully, by doing these 5 golf weight shift drills you will improve your distance off the tee and lower your score.
Here are some great GOLF WEIGHT SHIFT and BALANCE swing trainers:
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A Different Approach
If you are looking for different approach to shifting your weight you might want to try the “Stack and Tilt” method promoted by instructors Michael Bennett and Andy Plummer. This method has you keep your weight over your front foot more during the swing. Check out their book below: