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Where Tour pros distribute their weight at address

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Weight measurement devices, like BodiTrak, can truly simplify the learning environment when used properly. They help quantify a student’s feelings, and communicate truth to the student when their feelings don’t match reality.

BodiTrak data has been able to confirm that many elite players in the game start their golf swings with more pressure on their target foot. This encompasses our longer golf clubs too, including the driver. Below I’ll discuss why they do, and why you should too.

The concept is simple: counter motion. Think of cracking a whip. A whip makes a more explosive cracking noise when the tip and handle are moving faster in opposite directions.

How does this concept apply to golf? A golfer will create more lateral speed (the first link in the kinematic chain), and more explosive energy by starting with more pressure on the target foot. By applying more pressure to the target foot at the address position, a golfer is giving his body the ability to build more momentum when beginning the transfer of pressure toward the trail foot. That momentum is compounded by the quick change of direction from the trail foot, back to target foot, not unlike the crack of a whip.

Not convinced? If you start with more pressure on the trail foot, your body simply does not have the same amount of time to create equal amounts of momentum compared to starting with more pressure on the target foot. The counter motion will be slower, the cracking of the whip will be quieter and the kinematic sequence will be diminished.

I know many of you may be questioning this information, especially when considering the driver. Haven’t we all been encouraged to start with more pressure on the trail foot for our longer clubs? Data shows us that we want to achieve more pressure on our trail foot during the backswing sequence to maximize the concept of counter motion… not the address position. As the golf club gets longer, more pressure should reach the trail foot during the transition from backswing to downswing.

Here is what many of the elite players are doing on tour today.

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6 Iron Set Up

This golfer is using a 6-iron. At address, more than 60 percent of his pressure is on the target foot.

6 iron Change of Direction

This golfer’s pressure is just under 65 percent on the trail foot during the body’s transition from trail to target foot.

Driver Set Up

At set up with a driver, this golfers has more pressure on his lead foot.

Driver Transition

During the transition, this golfer has 70 percent of his pressure on his trail foot.

If you’re curious to learn more, a good friend, Terry Hashimoto, has a great deal of data confirming the information shared above. Check out the video below to see pressure mapping of PGA Tour Winners Russell Henley, Chris Kirk and Harris English, amongst others, and see how many of these elite golfers have characteristics of this foot work pattern.

By starting with more pressure on the lead foot with all your clubs, you are giving your body an enhanced ability to improve your foot work, which can help you create more of a whip-like effect for more speed, as well as improve your ability to be at a more efficient position at impact.

If you’re not doing this, give it a go. I think you’ll like the results.

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Certified Teaching Professional at the Pelican Hill Golf Club, Newport Coast, CA. Ranked as one of the best teachers in California & Hawaii by Golf Digest Titleist Performance Institute Certified www.youtube.com/uranser

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Dave

    Oct 11, 2015 at 10:04 am

    Long winded comment ahead- So, I understand the observation / concept / measurement / theory aspect of this, what I don’t understand is how you apply this? I’m no better than an average golfer, with good balance and body awareness (former collegiate athlete). I’m guessing the answer is to use it as a diagnostic tool and get the help of a qualified teacher to help you sort through it? Or trial and error and see what works? I tried this last year after reading a bit in this concept, and I struggled quite a bit. I see how if you take a typical, repeatable swing of a good golfer or tour player, these types of measurements are probably a great way to correct minor swing issues. They are probably doing 1 or 2 things wrong that can be corrected. Seems there are so are many things that could change where the center of pressure for MY swing lies at address: all of the alignments (feet, knees, hips, shoulders, heels/toes) could have 3 dimensions, then things like spine bend and tilt, starting position of your hands / to the club / to the ball, and many others could cause your body to shift weight. It gets more complicated in the backswing (much of which can be influenced by changes at starting position): takeaway direction/speed, whether you push or drag the handle, early/late hinge, length of swing, upright vs around swing plane, how you load and use the ground, etc. I think all of these things could impact your center of pressure, right? I know I overthink many things in athletics, but a measurement does little to help a player like me without an associated method.

    • marcel

      Oct 20, 2015 at 6:50 pm

      great write up Dave!

      my personal experience with sport and I am quite enthusiast. Tennis – i played for years with no guidance and after like 10 years i had so many bad habits on timing, footwork etc. I took me 18 months to repair at least something back… and prevent tennis elbow etc.

      in golf i took different route – i took lessons right after 1st bucket of balls. game improved understanding improved, biomechanics made more sense… i stuck with older coach AAA+ former NSW open champ – great teacher – no fancy gadgets. I noticed i play really confident when having lessons. I have gotten to 15 handicap – 300+ yrds straight drives, i4 200 yards and I am only 5’7″. i do a lots of gym and crossFit style training tho.

      golf is a precision game and i feel the coaching is the only way how to keep getting better… Jason Day has his golf coach on the bag – mental support and swing correction support – very smart choice.

  2. Alex

    Oct 10, 2015 at 12:46 am

    I notice the pressure is high in transition. What exactly is defined as transition? The exact moment the club changes direction?

    • Tim Mitchell

      Oct 12, 2015 at 8:50 pm

      Alex…the transition occurs when your pressure changes direction from your trail foot to your lead foot. Almost all good players start charging their pressure from trail foot to lead foot significantly earlier than when the golf club completes the backswing motion.

  3. other paul

    Oct 9, 2015 at 11:22 pm

    I wonder if you could redo this with no club in the hands. The club weighs enough to throw off the weighting a bit. It might be 50-50 with no club. Who knows…? If you stand neutral in an address position then the only thing moving weight to your front foot is the fact that hands and club are ahead (towards front foot) so that could be the small percentage forward that we see.

    • Frid

      Oct 10, 2015 at 11:01 am

      5% of 180 pounds is 9 pounds. I disagree that club position will affect percentages more than minimally.

  4. Chris Nickel

    Oct 9, 2015 at 2:10 pm

    Really interesting food for thought here…One question I have is how can you do this and keep your spine tilted away from the target both at address and at impact? Or is that not necessary? Thanks!

    • Alex

      Oct 10, 2015 at 12:44 am

      So – think of it this way…lean over to the right or trail foot, then push your lead foot into the ground harder.

      You can put weight (pressure) onto a foot without having your body aligned over it.

      We need to understand that I think…we tend to think weight = head aligned over it but in reality that’s not the case.

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Instruction

6 things to consider before aiming at the flagstick

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One of the most impactful improvements you can make for your game is to hit more greens; you’ll have more birdie opportunities and will avoid bogeys more often. In fact, hitting more greens is the key to golfing success, in my opinion… more so than anything else.

However, there is a misconception among players when it comes to hitting approach shots. When people think “greens,” they tend to only think about the flagstick, when the pin may be the last thing you should be looking at. Obviously, we’d like to stick it on every shot, but shooting at the pin at the wrong time can cost you more pain than gain.

So I’d like to give you a few rules for hitting greens and aiming at the flagstick.

1) Avoid Sucker Pins

I want you to think about Hole No. 12 at Augusta and when the pin is on the far right side of the green… you know, the Sunday pin. Where do the pros try and aim? The center of the green! That’s because the right pin is by all means a sucker pin. If they miss the shot just a touch, they’re in the water, in the bunker, or left with an impossible up-and-down.

Sucker pins are the ones at the extreme sides of the green complex, and especially the ones that go against your normal shot pattern.

So go back to No. 12 with a far right pin, and say your natural shot shape is right-to-left. Would you really aim out over the water and move it towards the pin? That would be a terrible idea! It’s a center of the green shot all day, even for those who work it left-to-right. Learn to recognize sucker pins, and you won’t short side yourself ever again.

2) Are You a Good Bunker Player?

A “sucker pin,” or just a difficult hole location, is often tucked behind a bunker. Therefore, you should ask yourself, “am I a good bunker player?” Because if you are not, then you should never aim at a pin stuck behind one. If I wanted to shoot at pins all day, I’d make sure I was the best lob wedge player around. If you are not a short-game wizard, then you will have a serious problem attacking pins all round.

For those who lack confidence in their short game, or simply are not skilled on all the shots, it’s a good idea to hit to the fat part of the green most of the time. You must find ways to work around your weaknesses, and hitting “away” from the pin isn’t a bad thing, it’s a smart thing for your game.

3) Hitting the Correct Shelf

I want you to imagine a pin placed on top of a shelf. What things would you consider in order to attack this type of pin? You should answer: shot trajectory, type of golf ball, your landing angle with the club you’re hitting, the green conditions, and the consequences of your miss. This is where people really struggle as they forget to take into account these factors.

If you don’t consider what you can and cannot do with the shot at hand, you will miss greens, especially when aiming at a pin on a shelf. Sometimes, you will simply have to aim at the wrong level of the green in order to not bring the big number into play. Remember, if you aim for a top shelf and miss, you will leave yourself with an even more difficult pitch shot back onto that same shelf you just missed.

4) Know your Carry Distances

In my opinion, there is no excuse these days to not know your carry distances down to the last yard. Back when I was growing up, I had to go to a flat hole and chart these distances as best I could by the ball marks on the green. Now, I just spend an hour on Trackman.

My question to you is if you don’t know how far you carry the ball, how could you possibly shoot at a pin with any type of confidence? If you cannot determine what specific number you carry the ball, and how the ball will react on the green, then you should hit the ball in the center of the green. However, if the conditions are soft and you know your yardages, then the green becomes a dart board. My advice: spend some time this off-season getting to know your distances, and you’ll have more “green lights” come Spring.

5) When do you have the Green Light?

Do you really know when it’s OK to aim at the pin? Here are some questions to ask yourself that will help:

  • How are you hitting the ball that day?
  • How is your yardage control?
  • What is the slope of the green doing to help or hinder your ball on the green?
  • Do you have a backstop behind the pin?

It’s thoughts such as these that will help you to determine if you should hit at the pin or not. Remember, hitting at the pin (for amateurs) does not happen too often per nine holes of golf. You must leave your ego in the car and make the best decisions based on what information you have at that time. Simple mistakes on your approach shot can easily lead to bogeys and doubles.

6) When is Any Part of the Green Considered a Success?

There are some times when you have a terrible angle, or you’re in the rough/a fairway bunker. These are times when you must accept “anywhere on the green.”

Left in these situations, some players immediatly think to try and pull off the “miracle” shot, and wonder why they compound mistakes during a round. Learn to recognize if you should be happy with anywhere on the green, or the best place to miss the ball for the easiest up and down.

Think of Ben Hogan at Augusta on No. 11; he said that if you see him on that green in regulation then you know he missed the shot. He decided that short right was better than even trying to hit the green… sometimes you must do this too. But for now analyze your situation and make the best choice possible. When in doubt, eliminate the big numbers!

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Instruction

Is There An Ideal Backswing?

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In this video, I talk about the backswing and look into optimal positions. I also discuss the positives and negatives of different backswing positions.

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Build A More Consistent Short Game Through Better Body Movement

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So far in my collection of articles on GolfWRX, I’ve talked at length about the importance of posture, stability and movement patterns in the full swing, particularly utilizing the GravityFit equipment for feedback and training load. Many coaches use the same equipment to teach better movement in the putting, chipping, and pitching actions.

To help give some more insight into exactly how they do this, I have recruited Matt Ballard to co-author this article. Matt is an Australian-based coach and short game specialist who has been working with Adam Scott for the past year.

Matt Ballard (right) with Adam Scott.

According to Matt, the short game issue that the club players he coaches struggle with is contact and delivering consistent loft with their wedges.

“Most people tend to get steep, the handle comes in first and not enough loft is delivered,” he says. “This means that the bounce of the wedge isn’t being used properly, which makes control of contact, trajectory, and distance very difficult. ”

As Matt explains in the video below, this problem tends to manifest itself in chips and pitches that are either fat or thin, fly to short or not far enough, and either check up too soon or go rolling on past the pin.

The really frustrating part is the inconsistency. Not knowing how the ball is going to react makes committing to a shot extremely difficult. This has the unnerving effect of turning a simple task into something difficult… and pars into bogeys or worse. For the past few months, Matt has been using the GravityFit TPro to teach correct set up posture and body movement for chipping and pitching.

“I use the TPro to first of all establish spine and shoulder position,” Matt says. “I like my students to have the feel of their shoulders and forearms being externally rotated (turned out). From this position, it’s much easier to control the clubface (i.e. not getting it too shut or too open). The second benefit of using the TPro is controlling the golf club radius during the swing, with the radius being the distance the club head is from the center of the body. Controlling the radius is paramount to becoming an excellent wedge player. The third reason I use it is to help teach that pure rotation from the thoracic spine (mid/upper back), minimizing the excessive right side bend (for a right handed player) that gets so many people into trouble.”

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Nick demonstrating how TPro drills can be performed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Essentially, Matt uses the GravityFit TPro to train a simple movement pattern that, once mastered, all but eliminate the typical problems normally associated with chipping and pitching.

“When (golfers) learn to turn using their thoracic spine and keep their arms in front of their body, it has a dramatic effect on how they deliver the club to the ball,” Matt says. “They are now able to maintain width or radius on either side of the ball, shallow out the club, and engage the bounce (sole) of the wedge to interact with the turf effectively, which is a key trait of all excellent wedge players. Doing this greatly increases their margin for error from a strike perspective and produces a far more consistent outcome in terms of loft, trajectory and distance control.”

Here is Matt’s 5-step process that you can follow with the TPro:

  1. Push handles out in front of your body, keeping slight bend in elbow.
  2. Stretch tall. Feel the green spikes in your middle/upper back and your shoulder blades on the paddles.
  3. Hinge forward into posture for pitching or chipping (the shorter the shot, narrower the stance.).
  4. Slowly turn chest into backswing, keep arms out in front of body, and maintain pressure on the spikes and paddles.
  5. Turn through to finish position using normal tempo, maintaining same pressure on the TPro and keeping arms in front of your body.

In summary, using the TPro and Matt’s drill can help you train a simple movement pattern that can give you far more control over the strike, trajectory and distance of your chips and pitches.

Click here to learn more about the TPro. To discover more pearls of wisdom from Matt, take a look at his website here and his social media activity here.

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