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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.

Screen Shot 2015-09-18 at 1.26.33 PM

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

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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Comparing the recreational beginner to the elite player

As a player, I know there are rounds of golf where I feel like I worked extremely hard to achieve the results and there are also rounds that are effortless and just plain easy. Why do we go through these peaks and valleys in golf?

As an instructor and player, I want to explore a deeper understanding of what it means to be playing out of your mind vs. playing in your mind.

I want to address both beginners and elite players on their quest for better play. All beginners and elite players must understand that, as players, we are all experiencing ups and downs. The bottom line is that some handle them better than others.

Why is this a feeling golfers have: “playing out of your mind”?

Well, it is pure relaxation. It is fluid, seamless, continuous motion. No hang-ups. No hiccups.

The next big question, how do we achieve this regularly?

We get to this without forcing it, by believing in our makeup. It is locked in our subconscious. It is a controllable, uncontrollable. Subconsciously, your nervous system is in the green light. You are just doing. This is peak performance. This is the zone. This is playing autonomously, out of your mind.

I believe that over time, a golfer’s game is compiled in his/her built-up expectations of the player they truly believe they are. Expecting to make a putt vs. just so happening to make it feeds two different minds. When you place an expectation on an action tension is created. Tension creeps into our nervous system and our brains either respond or they don’t. This is called pressure. This is what I call playing in your mind. You are in your head, your thoughts are far too many and there is just a whole lot floating around up there.

The more players play/practice, the more they will expect out of themselves, and in result, create that pressure. (ie. Why progress is difficult to achieve the closer you get to shooting par or better). The best players are better at responding to that pressure. Their systems are auto-immune to pressure. (ie. Think of practice like medicine and think of a pre-shot routine like the Advil to help calm the spiking nerves.)

  • Playing in your mind = high tension golf… you might need an Advil.
  • Playing out of your mind = low tension golf… you are in a good headspace and are doing all the right things before your round even started.

The key to understanding here is that we can play in both minds and achieve success in either situation. It is all about managing yourself and your re-act game.

Subconscious playing is beyond enjoyable. It is more recreational in style. I believe beginners are playing more subconsciously, more recreationally. I believe elite players can learn from the beginner because they are achieving superior moments and sensations more subconsciously, more often. All players at all levels have off days. It is important to remember we all have this in common.

The goal is always to play your best. When I play my best, there are no preconceived thoughts of action. It’s simply action. Playing out of your mind is an unwritten script, unrehearsed, and unrepeatable on a day to day basis, you’re living it.

Say you have that one round, that out of your mind, crazy good day. The next few days, what do you do? Do you try to mimic everything you did to achieve that low number? As good players, we take these great days and try to piece it together into a script of playing. We know we can get it down to almost damn near perfect. The more a player rehearses the better they get. Edits are made…knowing that things are always shifting. Visualization is key.

No doubt, it’s a huge cycle. Players are in a continuous race to achieve results in numbers. Players looking to reach great success should generate a journal/log and compile a record and playback method and revisit it repeatedly.

There is no secret or magic…it takes mastering the minds to achieve the best results more often. Most important, as players, we must recognize that during our amazing rounds…

  1. We are relaxed
  2. We are having fun
  3. We are just doing

In this game, the deeper we go, the more we propose to be there. It will always bring us back to the basics. One complete full circle, back to the beginner in all of us. So, the next time an experienced player sees a beginner on the first tee…take a moment and appreciate that player!

Remember to enjoy the walk and believe that hard work always works!

Please reach out to me at dmfiscel1482@gmail.com to learn more about the zone and how to become accustomed to playing autonomously.

 

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