Sports Golf

Golfers need to feel it in the feet

Dave Castellan

The Portage Golf Club is hoping to open the course this weekend.

The Portage Golf Club is hoping to open the course this weekend.

When I think of a good golf swing, it usually starts from the ground up. I will observe superb balance and lightness on the feet throughout the execution of the full swing pattern. Why not approach your setup for the golf swing similar to building a house? You would not start with the roof or walls until a good foundation had been established to support the structure.

While developing a sound foundation in your golf swing, focus on where your weight distribution is located. Ideally, you would like the weight evenly distributed between the balls of the feet and heels at address.

If you reach too far to get to the ball, your weight will go too much on the toes. If you remain upright and bend your knees with too much flex, your weight has a tendency to go back on the heels.

While maintaining a solid balanced base, this enables one to activate a proper weight transfer from the start into the load position during the backswing, then redirecting the weight shift to the forward foot on the downswing.

Most golfers lose sight of how balance plays such an important role in creating an ideal tempo or pace to one’s golf swing. When you play your best, it feels as if you are light on your feet, so movement comes easily while maintaining optimum balance. To maximize power, it is the footwork that carries the weight into the load position during the backswing while the downswing transition starts from the ground up with the lower body moving first, followed by the uncoiling of the torso, the arms and club through the impact zone. The worst fear of PGA Tour stars is having a tired or a dead leg feel as this will result in the upper body taking over, which will break down the ideal sequence of motion during the golf swing.

Picture the golf swing as a circle and without solid balance, the centre could move laterally, vertically or back and forth, creating serious inconsistency in trying to return to the original address position where one started.

As in other sports, footwork plays a huge role in one’s success. All one has to look at is a hockey player with dead legs. The balance would be lost along with any speed. A tennis player would lunge for the ball instead of being in position to retrieve a volley.

One of the great quotes given to me by the late George Knudson was “Put the brains in the feet.” When you have a sense of lightness and balance, you may find the tempo of your swing will become much more fluid.

Try this drill to see how good your balance really is. Place a tee in the ground and address it as you would a ball. Try several swings with your eyes closed while making contact with the tee. Start slowly and gradually build up the speed, making sure you hold your finish.

If you struggle to hold the finish in a comfortable, well-balanced position, you know you have your work cut out to improve this area of your golf game.

Dave Castellan is director of instruction at Horseshoe/Deerhurst Resorts.

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