Earlier this week, video surfaced of Tiger Woods swinging his driver during a practice round ahead of the Hero World Challenge. In taking a quick look at his swing, one thing in particular jumped out at me that I thought I would point out for you.
Notice that during his swing, his left foot spins out a bit by the time he gets to his finish.
The swing we’ve all been waiting for … https://t.co/IayDADea5y
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) November 30, 2016
This observation inspired me to write this article, which is a piece I’ve actually had in mind to do for quite a while.
In modern golf instruction, it’s fairly common to see setups being taught in which the feet are perpendicular to the target line. Geometrically, this sounds fine and dandy. The problem, however, is that most people in their present physical state don’t have the mobility in their hips to be able to accommodate this type of setup… even many pros.
This includes myself.
Often times, what you’ll see is that the player will have no problems in the backswing and downswing. Then at some point in the through swing and/or on into the finish, the lead foot spins out or comes off the ground because it physically is unable to stay in the same place due in part to insufficient hip mobility. This is what you see in Tiger in the above.
Were it actually to stay in the same place, it could cause problems with the shot outcome…or worse yet, potentially lead to injury.
One way of improving the mobility of your hip is through golf fitness, particularly with something to target internal hip rotation in the lead leg.
However, aside from golf fitness or just starting that lead foot out in the first place where it finishes in the follow-through, here’s a simple four-step at-home trick to get your feet better set up.
1. Face the target parallel to your target line.
2. Balance yourself on what would be your trail leg and then without forcing it, turn your lead foot in as far as you can comfortably and set it back down on the ground.
3. While keeping that lead foot in the same place, pivot back to where you would be standing perpendicular to the target line.
4. Get into your personal golf posture.
Voila! You are all set up in a position that accommodates your own personal body’s hip rotational capabilities.
Here’s what the finishing foot position looks like face-on for me.
Although the lead foot may appear to turned outward quite a bit when you set up, it’s not to the point that it should limit your backswing motion. Most people can turn their feet outward farther than they can inward. So most should still be able to complete their normal back swing even with the more “open” lead foot.
As for the rear foot, to me where you put that will depend on what’s comfortable for you and/or what you want to accomplish with your backswing. For example, if you want a shorter backswing, you might make that trail foot be perpendicular to the target line. If you want a longer backswing, you could turn it outward a bit. It just depends on the person.
Anyway, in my experience, there are several common benefits I’ve observed that come from incorporating this type of lead foot setup.
- You might get a better sense of the target with more of your body facing in that direction.
- You may be able to “clear through the ball” a bit easier. Sometimes this leads to more distance because your body won’t need to slow down in anticipation of running out of room to swing due to a mobility issue.
- Since you won’t be needing to make some compensatory move to avert injury, you might swing and finish with better balance. This could not only lead to more distance, but potentially additional consistency and accuracy as well.
- You’ll probably be putting yourself at less risk for long term injury.
Give it a try! Hopefully your game (and long-term health) will thank you!