The majority of recreational golfers fail to achieve the balance needed to excel at golf or any athletic activity. One of the reasons why most golfers don’t swing in balance is that they swing too hard. A rule I like to impose on my students is “Swing as hard as you want to as long as you finish the swing in balance.”
A balanced finish means that your belt buckle, chest and eyes face the target, with the majority of your weight on the front foot, not hanging back on the rear foot. If you’re not balanced in the finish, it’s likely you weren’t balanced during the swing and, as a result, brought the club into the ball on an incorrect plane and, of course, with less power than you’re capable of generating. More important, if you’re facing left of the target at the finish, you know you made a solid turn through the shot.
A good way to feel good balance is to swing barefooted. Take off your shoes and socks and tee up a 7-iron. As you make your swings, focus on keeping your feet “underneath” your body. In order to attain this centeredness, you can’t take a mad lash at the ball.
Swinging barefoot allows you to feel what it’s like to swing within yourself. You’ll actually hit better golf shots in bare feet than with your shoes and socks on. You certainly won’t “come out of your spikes” trying to kill the ball.
Hitting golf balls barefooted can help you develop good footwork and good balance. The ultimate goal is to maintain these sensations when you lace up your shoes. Summer’s here—the grass feels nice, and so, too, will your swing.
PGA teaching professional Barry Goldstein is the director of golf at Polar Shot Golf Center in Johnson City, N.Y.