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Fancy Footwork For Solid Iron Shots

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So much time in golf instruction is spent focusing on the hips, shoulders and arms that many amateur golfers are never taught the proper footwork necessary for a powerful, repeatable golf swing.

One reason for this is because good footwork is subtle, which makes it harder to identify on great golfers. The most common footwork issue I see (pictured right) in students is the heel of the trail foot tends to lift and move the entire trail leg towards the golf ball.

Not only does this promote spinning the lower body out of control, it also makes the down swing steeper and more susceptible to shots off the heel or the club. So let’s resolve this problems with the drills below!

The Grip Drill

Grab your self an extra club and place it on the ground perpendicular to the target line. Now place the edge of your trail foot on the grip.

Club Drill Set Up

From this position make a few practice swings. If you notice your heel rising with your toes and pressing into the grip, you’re doing it incorrectly. The feel you are looking for is on the instep of your foot rather than your toes. The longer you maintain contact with the grip, on the instep the better.

Club Drill Footwork

Toes Up

Another drill to combat bad foot work is the “Toes Up” drill. Much like the Grip Drill, the Toes Up drill will help eliminate the tendency to lunge towards the ball with your body and legs on the downswing.

This drill is simple and requires no training aids at all. First, take your toes on both feet and press them into the tops of the shoes. Then keep them there for the entirety of the golf swing.

By doing this, you are forcing your center of mass away from your toes and onto your heels, which eliminates the desire to lunge towards the ball on the down swing.

Toes Up Drill

No Shoes

There is so much technology put into golf shoes today that for many they can add a false sense of stability during the golf swing.

Because of this, many golfers don’t realize the importance of the connection to the ground is during the swing. To combat stability issue and learn the proper sequencing of the feet and lower body, I recommend taking off your shoes and hitting some golf balls without them.

No Shoes

What you will find is that the first few shots you attempt to hit will feel dramatically different. You may potentially slip and lose your footing; you may even struggle to make contact on the first few shots. Don’t worry though —  it is just your bodies’ way of finding its natural balance. As you continue to hit balls with no shoes on, you should be concentrating on your balance and getting into a good finish position on every swing. The more your balance improves the better your ball striking will become.

If you struggle with your finish, balance or ball striking it may be related to improper footwork throughout your golf swing. Try out the Grip Drill, Toes Up Drill and No Shoes Drill and not only will your footwork get better, your overall game is sure to improve as well.

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Scott is a Certified Personal Coach at GolfTEC Main Line in Villanova, PA and also the Head Men's Golf Coach @ Division III Rosemont College. Each day he utilizes 3-D Motion Measurements, Foresight Launch Monitors, and high speed video to help each of his students achieve their specific goals. Past experience include owning and and operating the Yur Golf Swing Teaching Academy in Philadelphia. He started my golfing career at Radnor Valley Country Club in Villanova, Penn., and spent time at the Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, Fla. In his short 7 year instruction career he as taught over 5,000 golf lessons. He currently works with many of the top local Amateur golfers in the Philadelphia area, and many of the best Junior golfers. Teaching golf has always been my passion and with my civil engineering and philosophy background from Villanova University, I am able bring interesting perspective and effective techniques to my instruction.

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Ken

    Apr 24, 2013 at 7:32 pm

    Funny that this was just written as I was at the driving Range trying to keep my rear foot flat on the ground as I noticed that my knee was going towards the ball.
    Question: How do I prevent myself from”sliding” my hips as opposed to turning them using this method

    • Scott Yurgalevicz

      Apr 29, 2013 at 11:33 am

      Hi Ken,

      Great question. The problems isn’t really sliding vs. rotating, its that we don’t want the trail leg moving towards the ball to start the downswing. By feeling that rear heel on the ground for a bit longer it will prevent you from over rotating the hips during your transition, which is the real problem.

      Hope that clears things up. Thanks for the comment!

  2. Ben Pittman

    Apr 24, 2013 at 9:28 am

    Great point about footwork! To expand the thought a little, I have recently been focusing on my footwork. But rather than the right foot, my focus is on my left (front foot). Video shows that I lift and open my front foot during the transition – it causes my hips to open too much too soon and results in a very low right shoulder and an inside out swing with little release. Not surprisingly the miss is high right. It also indicates that my weight has shifted excessively to the right side. Keeping the left foot solid on the ground has allowed for a better release and posture – the ball flight is flatter and turning over.

  3. Young Yoon

    Apr 23, 2013 at 10:16 pm

    Great,Great Awesome!! tips.

    I didn’t realize that there are my foot end of my body. Thanks.

  4. Steve Solomon

    Apr 23, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    Great advice. A few years ago I was playing a round with a Tour Player (now on Senior Tour). He gave me a great tip on the 18th Tee (I wish it was on the 2nd Tee!). Anyway, he said “don’t ever let your right heel get in front of your left big toe.” In other words, I wasn’t maintaining proper foot work and although I didn’t “spin out” on my shots, it was just enough to cause inconsistency.

    I placed another ball on the tee and tried it out and I could tell what a difference in maintaining proper balance and I’ve used this advice ever since then with great results.

    Scott, thanks for teaching on this neglected area of the golf swing.

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