The golf swing is an athletic move. Many times, we can relate a powerful golf swing to other athletic motions like throwing a football 50 yards, a smashing forehand in tennis or, in this instance, throwing a 90 mph fastball toward home plate. The key here is the ability to properly shift your weight so you can efficiently maximize the amount of energy you need to swing the club powerfully through the ball.
In order to properly shift your weight, you first must load up your weight on the inside of your back leg on the backswing. To help you to achieve this move, think about a pitcher in baseball as he starts his motion toward home plate. You can see in the upper set of pictures that the pitcher’s weight is loaded up on the inside of his back foot just as it is in my backswing. In baseball, the pitcher has a pitching mound to help him accomplish this so his weight doesn’t fall too far back to the outside of his back foot. In golf, we don’t have that luxury, but there are a couple of ways to help you accomplish this. At address, simply pinch your back knee toward the golf ball so you can feel the weight shift to the inside of that back foot. This way, you can still shift weight away from the target on the backswing, but just like the pitcher in baseball, you’ll feel the pitching mound idea to properly load up that energy.
Once you understand what it means to load up, look again at the photos above and note how the pitcher’s first move toward home plate is with his front leg shifting weight toward his target while still keeping the ball behind him. This is critical in the golf swing, as well. In my golf swing, you can see a significant shift in my lower body while the club still stays behind me. Not only will this promote a powerful strike on the golf ball, but it also will help me to drop the club in the “slot” to ensure an inside-to-outside swingpath.
In the last couple photos above, you’ll see that the final thing the pitcher has to do is rotate his body out of the way and whip that ball as hard as he can to home plate. This is precisely what we do in the golf swing, as well. Now that you’ve properly shifted your weight to the target, you’re in a position to rotate your body out of the way and “whip” that clubhead through the ball toward your target.
I often hear my students say that they’re swinging too hard and need to slow the swing down. Although you do want a controlled tempo in the backswing to get properly loaded up on your back leg, I usually tell my students to swing as hard as they can if they can do it like the pitcher in baseball and have practiced the proper way to swing the club powerfully. I want my students to try and imagine throwing a 90 mph fastball toward the target with proper athletic movement so they can hit the golf ball with maximized power and efficiency.
Jon Paupore, PGA, is the Director of Instruction at the Jim McLean Golf School at Red Ledges in Heber City, Utah. Visit Redledges.com.