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I have been fortunate in my experience as a golf swing coach to work with all kinds of clients with all kinds of golf swings. Through the years, however, I’ve seen that one of the major things that separates fairly consistent ball strikers from golfers who lack consistency is their ability to use the ground to move their body and generate power efficiently.

Understanding the role that the placement of your feet has in your golf swing is huge. This article is intended to inspire and intrigue your curiosity so you are willing to take the next step, which would be to stop guessing and visit a TPI Expert and/or an experienced swing coach who understands how your body moves and assists you in building a setup and golf swing that works with your body.

There is, in fact, an old saying that pretty much sums up what’s going on with the ground in our golf swing: “Good footwork = good golf.” Our feet are, after all, the only contact we have to the ground. Luckily, due to new technologies (force plates and pressure mats like Boditrak), we can measure what’s going on under our feet as our pressure shifts throughout the golf swing. We now actually have the measurable data to prove what was once very hard to prove.

You Are An Individual! 

If there’s one thing my experience as a golf instructor has taught me, it’s that we’re all individuals who move a little differently due to genetics and lifestyle. Because of this, how we place our feet on the ground can either help or hinder our ability to hit good golf shots. This video should help to shine some light on some different strategies of how you can work on finding a position to place your feet on the ground that is best suited for you.

What Does This Mean?

Suppose you were lacking the ability to rotate your hips efficiently (the hips are designed to be mobile joints). That would prevent you from having the ability to turn your hips and transfer your pressure into the ground efficiently in the backswing and/or in the forward swing. In this case, it could be an advantage to flare your feet slightly in order to assist your body in turning efficiently. The same goes for the width of your stance. The wider apart your feet are in your stance, the more stabile you will be. If you are lacking mobility and flexibility, then your joints and muscles are too stabile already, so you might benefit from having a narrower stance that creates less stability so you can move more freely in your swing.

One last pitch to visit an expert. Certain joints in your body are designed to be stable, while others are designed to be mobile (like the hips), but the body is clever. When it can’t get mobility from one part of the body, it tries to get it from another. These compensations can not only sabotage your ability to utilize the ground efficiently, leading to bad ball striking, but they set you up for pain and injury. Find a TPI Expert near you.

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Adam is a PGA Professional and TPI Certified Fitness and Medical Coach. He enjoys working with golfers of all ages and levels of expertise, and his approach is to look at every golfer as an individual to try to help them achieve their goals as effectively and efficiently as possible. He is also the author of two books: The Golfers Handbook - Save your golf game and your life! (available on iTunes and Amazon) And his new book, My Mind Body Golf Coach Adam also offers online lessons and offers a monthly membership to help golfers stay committed to the process of improvement. All this and more can be ordered through his website www.golfadamstevenson.com "The golf swing may be built from the ground up, but the game of golf is built from the head down" - My Mind Body Golf Aside being an author, Adam is also a public speaker, doing workshops and lectures introducing concepts of athletic movement for golfers of all ages and levels of expertise.

9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. ButchT

    Oct 10, 2017 at 2:55 pm

    Too long for info conveyed. Contrast was terrible. Sounded awfully nervous. I do appreciate the effort – thank you.

  2. Vegas Bullet Dodger

    Oct 5, 2017 at 5:41 pm

    Flair the toes and bend the knees for distance…
    Don’t let anyone tell ya otherwise

    • Demar

      Oct 5, 2017 at 7:39 pm

      … and good advice for sitting on the toilet too

  3. Engineer Bob

    Oct 5, 2017 at 4:03 pm

    Great introductory video on “utilizing the ground” and foot positioning.
    I sense that you have ‘experimented’ with force plates/mats to quantify the GRFs (Ground Reaction Forces) and observed how the “Center of Pressure” shifts back and forth in the golf swing.
    Of course trying to explain GRFs and CoP and even a Closed Kinetic Chain to golfers on this forum will frighten them off. They still think/hope their clubs are ‘powerful’ and their golf swing only needs some tweaking with a couple of good ‘golf tips’.
    In my view, a “TPI Expert” without force plates/mats is not really an ‘expert’ because you cannot eyeball GRFs and CoP shifts. Your thoughts?

  4. EnzoD

    Oct 4, 2017 at 8:40 am

    Most nervous video presenter ever. The information appears contradictory.

  5. Mat

    Oct 4, 2017 at 6:13 am

    This video is schizophrenic. Paid by the word?

  6. NG

    Oct 4, 2017 at 1:25 am

    Nearly broke my ankle with the toes in like that, even though it was easier to draw the ball that way

  7. Acemandrake

    Oct 3, 2017 at 4:58 pm

    Open & narrow: My chiropractor suggested this stance in order to take stress off of my lower back.

    It worked.

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Instruction

The Big Shift: How to master pressure and the golf transition using prior sports training

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If you’re an #AverageJoeGolfer, work a day job, and don’t spend countless hours practicing, you might be interested in knowing that sports you played growing up, and even beer league softball skills, can be used to help you play better golf. We’re sure you’ve heard hockey players tend to hit the ball a mile, make the “best golfers”, while pitchers and quarterbacks have solid games, but baseball/softball hitters struggle with consistency. Did you know that a killer tennis backhand might help your golf game if you play from the opposite side? Dancers are way ahead of other athletes making a switch to golf because they understand that centeredness creates power and consistency much more efficiently than shifting all around, unnecessary swaying, or “happy feet.”

Lurking beneath fat shots, worm burners, and occasional shanks, are skillsets and motions you can pull from the old memory bank to apply on the golf course. Yes, you heard us right; your high school letterman jacket can finally be put to good use and help you improve your move. You just need to understand some simple adjustments different sports athletes need to make to be successful golfers.

In golf, shifting from your trailside into your lead side is what we’ll call the TRANSITION. Old School teachers refer to this motion, or shift, as “Foot Work”, New-Fangled-Techno-Jargon-Packed-Instruction uses “Ground Pressure/Force” to refer to the same concept. Don’t worry about the nomenclature; just know, as many GolfWRXers already do, that you must get your weight to your lead side if you want any chance at making solid and consistent contact. TRANSITION might be THE toughest motion in golf to master.

The good news for you is that TRANSITION happens in all other sports but in slightly different ways, depending on the sport. Golfers can more quickly learn TRANSITION, and speed up their swing learning process by understanding how prior sport experience can be applied to the golf swing.

[The basics of a solid golf move are; 1) you should have a SETUP that is centered and balanced, 2) you move your weight/pressure into your trail side during the TAKEAWAY and BACKSWING, 3) TRANSITION moves your weight/pressure back into your lead side, and 4) you FINISH with the club smashing the ball down the fairway. Okay, it’s not quite as easy as I make it sound, but hopefully our discussion today can relieve some stress when it comes time for you to start training your game.]

Baseball/Softball Hitters

Hitting coaches don’t like their hitters playing golf during the season, that’s a fact. The TRANSITIONS are too different, and if they play too much golf, they can lose the ability to hit off-speed pitches because their swing can become too upright. Golf requires an orbital hand path (around an angled plane) with an upright-stacked finish, while hitting requires batters to have a straight-line (more horizontal) hand path and to “stay back or on top of” the ball.

Now we apologize for the lack of intricate knowledge and terminology around hitting a baseball, we only played up through high school. What we know for sure is that guys/gals who have played a lot of ball growing up, and who aren’t pitchers struggle with golf’s TRANSITION. Hitters tend to hang back and do a poor job of transferring weight properly. When they get the timing right, they can make contact, but consistency is a struggle with fat shots and scooping being the biggest issues that come to mind.

So how can you use your star baseball/softball hitting skills with some adjustments for golf? Load, Stride, Swing is what all-good hitters do, in that order. Hitters’ issues revolve around the Stride, when it comes to golf. They just don’t get into their lead sides fast enough. As a golfer, hitters can still take the same approach, with one big adjustment; move more pressure to your lead side during your stride, AND move it sooner. We’ve had plenty of ‘a ha’ moments when we put Hitters on balance boards or have them repeat step drills hundreds of times; “oh, that’s what I need to do”…BINGO…Pound Town, Baby!

Softball/Baseball Pitchers, Quarterbacks, & Kickers

There’s a reason that kickers, pitchers, and quarterbacks are constantly ranked as the top athlete golfers and it’s not because they have a ton of downtime between starts and play a lot of golf. Their ‘day jobs’ throwing/kicking motions have a much greater impact on how they approach sending a golf ball down the fairway. It’s apparent that each of these sports TRAINS and INGRAINS golf’s TRANSITION motion very well. They tend to load properly into their trailside while staying centered (TAKEAWAY/BACKSWING), and they transfer pressure into their lead side, thus creating effortless speed and power. Now there are nuances for how to make adjustments for golf, but the feeling of a pitching or kicking motion is a great training move for golf.

If this was your sport growing up, how can you improve your consistency? Work on staying centered and minimizing “happy feet” because golf is not a sport where you want to move too much or get past your lead side.


Dance

My wife was captain of her high school dance team, has practiced ballet since she was in junior high, and is our resident expert on Ground Pressure forces relating to dance. She has such a firm grasp on these forces that she is able to transfer her prior sports skill to play golf once or twice a year and still hit the ball past me and shoot in the low 100s; what can I say, she has a good coach. More importantly, she understands that staying centered and a proper TRANSITION, just like in Dance, are requirements that create stability, speed, and consistent motions for golf. Christo Garcia is a great example of a Ballerina turned scratch golfer who uses the movement of a plié (below left) to power his Hogan-esque golf move. There is no possible way Misty Copeland would be able to powerfully propel herself into the air without a proper TRANSITION (right).

Being centered is critical to consistently hitting the golf ball. So, in the same way that dancers stay centered and shift their weight/pressure to propel themselves through the air, they can stay on the ground and instead create a golf swing. Dancers tend to struggle with the timing of the hands and arms in the golf swing. We train them a little differently by training their timing just like a dance routine; 1 and 2 and 3 and…. Dancers learn small motions independently and stack each micro-movement on top of one another, with proper timing, to create a dance move (golf swing) more like musicians learn, but that article is for another time.

Hockey

Hockey is a great example of the golf TRANSITION because it mimics golf’s motions almost perfectly. Even a subtlety like the direction in which the feet apply pressure is the same in Hockey as in Golf, but that’s getting in the weeds a bit. Hockey players load up on their trailside, and then perform the TRANSITION well; they shift into their lead sides and then rotate into the puck with the puck getting in the way of the stick…this is the golf swing, just on skates and ice…my ankles hurt just writing that.

If you played hockey growing up, you have the skillsets for a proper golf TRANSITION, and you’ll improve much faster if you spend your time training a full FINISH which involves staying centered and balanced.

Now we didn’t get into nuances of each and every sport, but we tried to cover most popular athletic motions we thought you might have experience in in the following table. The key for your Big Shift, is using what you’ve already learned in other sports and understanding how you might need to change existing and known motions to adapt them to golf. If you played another sport, and are struggling, it doesn’t mean you need to give up golf because your motion is flawed…you just need to know how to train aspects of your golf move a little differently than someone who comes from a different sport might.

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Clement: Effortless power for senior golfers

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Are you struggling with range of motion? Want more EFFORTLESS POWER? We are truly the experts at this having taught these methods for 25 plus years, while others were teaching resistance, breaking everyone’s backs and screwing up their minds with endless positions to hit and defects to fix. Welcome home to Wisdom in Golf!

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Clement: How to turbo charge your swing

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The shift in golf instruction continues and Wisdom in Golf and GolfWRX are right out there blazing a trail of fantastic content and techniques to get you to feel the most blissful, rhythmic golf shots you can strike! This here is the humdinger that keeps on giving and is now used by a plethora of tour players who are benefitting greatly and moving up the world rankings because of it.

The new trend (ours is about 25 years young) is the antithesis of the “be careful, don’t move too much, don’t make a mistake” approach we have endured for the last 30 years plus. Time to break free of the shackles that hold you back and experience the greatness that is already right there inside that gorgeous human machine you have that is so far from being defective! Enjoy!

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