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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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Instruction

What you can learn from the rearview camera angle

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We often analyze the golf swing from the face-on view or down-the-line camera angle. However, we can also learn how the body moves in the swing from the rearview or backside view.

When seeing the swing from the rearview, we can easily see how the glutes work. The trail glute actually moves back and around in the backswing. This means the glute moves towards the target or towards the lead heel. Note the trail glute start point and endpoint at the top of the backswing.

To some, this may seem like it would cause a reverse weight shift. However, this glute movement can enable the upper body to get loaded behind the ball. This is where understanding the difference between pressure, and weight is critical (see: “Pressure and Weight”).

This also enhances the shape of the body in the backswing. From the rear angle, I prefer to have players with a tuck to their body in their trail side, a sign of no left-side bend.

This puts the body and trail arm into a “throwing position”, a dynamic backswing position. Note how the trailing arm has folded with the elbow pointing down. This is a sign the trailing arm moved in an efficient sequence to the top of the backswing.

Next time you throw your swing on video, take a look at the rearview camera angle. From this new angle, you may find a swing fault or matchup needed in your golf swing to produce your desired ball flight.

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How to stop 3-putting and start making putts

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When we are 3-putting we are ‘stuck in the box’. This means that when we are standing over the putt the second before we make our stroke everything happens to ‘go downhill.’ When this happens, depending on your playing level, things can become a bit erratic on the putting surface.

When a 3 putt happens, it is typically because you failed to do something before you made your stroke. The large majority of my 3 putts happen when I am not completely SOLD on the line of my putt, aka not committed. Questioning anything over the ball will lead to 3 putts.

Here is a breakdown/checklist on how to approach the green and get your ball in the cup without hesitation.

1. It starts with the approach shot into the green and the decision of direction you make to enter the hole. Scan the entire green with your eyes on the walk-up. Left to right and right to left. Look for a few seconds before you step onto the putting surface. This helps determine the high side and the low side, or if the green is relatively flat. Don’t be picky, just look and make a decision.

2. Once you get to the ball, mark it. Take 3 steps behind your ball mark. Now you must pick a line… Left, Center, or Right of the cup. (Skip step 3 if you know the line) It should take seconds but for those that are not sure it will take longer. Understand that every putt has a statistical level of difficulty. So to increase the odds, players must avoid putting in the unsure mind, and take the time to figure out a line. I also find that people who are 3 putting are overly confident and just not committed aka too quick to putt.

3. To commit, you must find the angle of entry into the cup. Walk up to the hole and look at the cup. How is it cut? Determine if it is cut flat or on a slope angle. This will help you see the break if you are having a hard time. Then determine how much break to play. Cut the hole into 4 quarters with your eyes standing right next to it. Ask yourself, which quarter of the cup does the ball need to enter to make the putt go in the hole?

I encourage using the phrases ‘in the hole’ or ‘to the hole’ as great reinforcement and end thoughts before stroking the ball. I personally visualize a dial on the cup. When my eyes scan the edges, I see tick marks of a clock or a masterlock – I see the dial pop open right when I pick the entry quadrant/tick mark because I cracked the code.

Remember, the most important parts of the putt are: 1.) Where it starts and 2. ) Where it ends.

4. To secure the line, pick something out as the apex of the putt on the walk back to the mark. Stand square behind the ball mark and the line you have chosen.

5. To further secure the line, place your ball down and step behind it to view the line from behind the ball. Don’t pick up the ball mark until you have looked from behind. When you look, you need to scan the line from the ball to the cup with your eyes. While you are scanning, you can make adjustments to the line – left, right or center. Now, on the walk into the box, pickup the mark. This seals the deal on the line. Square your putter head to the ball, with feet together, on the intended line.

6. To make the putt, look at the apex and then the cup while taking your stance and making practice strokes to calibrate and gauge how far back and through the stroke needs to be.

7. To prove the level of commitment, step up to the ball and look down the intended line to the apex back to the cup and then back to the apex down to your ball. As soon as you look down at the ball, never look up again. Complete one entire stroke. A good visual for a putting stroke is a battery percentage and comparing your ‘complete stroke’ to the percentage of battery in the bar.

8. Look over your shoulder once your putter has completed the stroke, i.e. listen for the ball to go in and then look up!

If you find a way that works, remember it, and use it!

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Instruction

Golf 101: Why do I chunk it?

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Whether you are a beginner, 10 handicaps, or Rory McIlroy, no one player is immune to the dreaded chunk. How many times have you hit a great drive, breathing down the flag from your favorite yardage and laid the holy sod over one? It’s awful and can be a total rally killer.

So what causes it? It could be several things, for some players, it could be a steep angle of attack, others, early extension and an early bottoming out and sometimes you’ve just had too many Coors Lights and the ground was closer than your eyes told you…been there.

This is Golf 101—let’s make it real simple and find one or two ways that a new golfer can self diagnose and treat themselves on the fly.

THE MAIN CAUSE

With beginners I have noticed there are two main things that cause the dreaded chunk:

  1. Players stand too close to the ball and have no way to get outta the way on the way down. This also really helps to hit Chunk’s skinny cousin: Skull.
  2. No rotation in any form causing a steep angle of attack. You’ve seen this, arms go back, the body stays static, the club comes back down and sticks a foot in the ground.

SO HOW DO I FIX MYSELF?

Without doing all-out brain surgery, here are two simple things you can do on the course (or the range) to get that strike behind the ball and not behind your trail foot.

This is what I was taught when I was a kid and it worked for years.

  1. Make baseball swings: Put the club up and in front of your body and make horizontal swings paying close attention to accelerating on the way through. After a few start to bend at the hips down and down until you are in the address position. This not only gives your body the sensation of turning but reorientates you to exactly where the bottom of your arc is.
  2. Drive a nail into the back of the ball: This was a cure-all for me. Whether I had the shanks, chunks, skulls, etc, focusing on putting the clubhead into the back of that nail seemed to give me a mental picture that just worked. When you are hammering a nail into a wall. you focus on the back of that nail and for the most part, hit it flush 9 outta 10 times. Not sure if its a Jedi mind trick or a real thing, but it has gotten me outta more pickles than I care to admit.

As you get better, the reason for the chunk may change, but regardless of my skill level, these two drills got me out of it faster than anything all while helping encourage better fundamentals. Nothing wrong with that.

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