We all want to lower our golf handicap. That’s why we practice so hard and read so much about the game. It’s the “Holy Grail” of golf. Among the keys to achieving a lower golf handicap is consistency. You must be consistent to lower your scores and cut strokes from your handicap. If you want to achieve consistency, transferring your weight correctly is a must.
But that’s easier said then done. As an instructor, I see many golfers struggle to achieve proper weight transfer. Even golfers who I know are good athletes sometimes have trouble with this. Poor weight transfer is one of the most common swing faults in my golf lessons. It’s especially prevalent with golfers who play infrequently. They have what’s called a “reverse pivot”— one of the deadliest swing flaws in the game.
Transfer Your Weight
Normally, when swinging a club, you transfer your weight onto your back foot during your takeaway, then onto your front foot during the follow-through. Watch Tiger Woods, Sergio Garcia, or any of the pros on television and you’ll see how well they achieve correct weight transfer. For them, it’s second nature. They make the transition smoothly and efficiently. That’s why they’re so consistent when hitting a golf ball. None of them exhibit anything even close to a reverse pivot.
With a reverse pivot, you do the opposite of what you should do. Instead of transferring your weight to your back foot and then to your front foot, you transfer it to your front foot during your takeaway and then back to your back foot during the follow through. This move constricts your body turn, short-circuiting power and inhibiting consistency. Golfer’s who exhibit a reverse pivot don’t get much on their drives or iron shots.
Causes of a Reverse Pivot
Causes for a reverse pivot are many. An obsession with keeping your head down, an attempt at holding your left arm (right for left-handers) rigidly straight, and/or allowing your head to turn to the right as you swing the club back—all cause a reverse pivot. So if you find yourself doing these things, you may be employing a reverse pivot in your swing without knowing it.
Since the reverse pivot wreaks havoc with your swing, it’s hard to describe any tell tale signs that you have the fault. The reverse pivot restricts your turn so much that your arms and hands have to take over the job of your shoulders while hitting the ball. That curbs your power. But two sure-fire signs that you are committing a reverse pivot are loss of power and accuracy.
Eliminating the Reverse Pivot
One way to eliminate the reverse pivot is to practice this drill: Adopt your address position, and then place the club across the back of your shoulders. Now turn as if you were going to hit the ball. As you turn back, the club encourages your head and spine to rotate. Sense your balance as you do this. A good tip to get the hang of this is to look out of the corner of your left eye (right for left-handers) at the top of your swing. Practice this drill as often as you can… and then keep doing it.
Another drill—one that seems to get better results in my golf lessons—is to begin with a sort iron and assume your setup position. From your setup, lift your forward foot and position it next to your back foot. As you swing, take the club away from the ball, lift your forward foot, and allow it to return to the original position in your setup as soon as your club reaches about waist high in your backswing.
This drills trains your body to shift your weight to your back foot at the beginning of the backswing and allows your body to shift its weight toward the front foot at the end of the backswing, and then on through the downswing. It also promotes a much healthier spin angle, both atop your swing and into the finish.
Proper weight transfer is essential to developing a swing that delivers power and accuracy consistently. Achieving consistency—whether by taking golf instruction sessions or through working things out on your own—is the only way to lower your golf handicap. If you’re serious about becoming a scratch golfer, make consistency your ultimate goal.
Copyright (c) 2007 Jack Moorehouse