If you want to become a better golfer, one of the first things you must do is master weight transfer in the golf swing. When it comes to hitting the ball, your arms can only provide so much power. This is why it’s so important to develop a good weight transfer to use your legs, hips, and core to help add power to the golf swing.
But mastering weight transfer can be tricky, requiring careful coordination and timing. So, what can you do to develop a great weight transfer? Let’s take a look.
Resource: Golf Fitness Program to Follow at Home
What is Weight Transfer
What exactly is a weight transfer? Also known as a weight shift, a weight transfer is when you transfer your weight between the two sides of your body as you swing your club.
Here’s what that looks like:
- Assume half your weight is balanced between both feet at address position.
- As you backswing, you’ll place a higher percentage of weight on your back leg so that at least 75% is on that back leg at the top of your backswing
- Then you’ll start the downswing, shifting that weight to the front leg during downswing and finishing your follow-through.
Why it Matters
Weight transfer is such an important part of becoming a strong golfer because it lets you place much more power in your swing. When it comes to golf, you don’t need to be incredibly strong or fit to excel, you need a great weight transfer.
This is because a good weight transfer lets you power your weight into the ball, frees up your body to turn more, and lengthen your swing – something that’s especially important for distance.
Simply put, weight is power.
Think about it this way: imagine you have two hammers, one is fairly light in weight and one is fairly heavy. Every time you hit the nail with the heavier of the two hammers (the hammer with more weight), it will have far more impact on the nail than hitting the nail with the lighter hammer would.
How to Transfer Weight
Okay, so we’ve established what a weight transfer is and why it matters, but how do you actually make sure you’re transferring your weight correctly? It’s helpful to break it down into three main components.
As you address the ball, it is important to split your weight evenly between both feet, although the weight percentage may vary a bit. As you begin your takeaway, you will want to shift your weight to the back of your stance.
This should happen as soon as you begin swinging your club away from the ball. As your arms move backwards with the club, you will also have more body mass at the back of your stance, which will help with weight shift.
However, it’s important to note that body mass isn’t the same as weight – so don’t focus too much on shifting your body backwards.
Instead, you should focus on placing weight on your back leg as you turn your shoulders and wrap the club around your body. As mentioned above, at the top of the backswing, at least 75% of weight should be at the back of your stance.
The key to weight transfer during transition is your hips. As you bring the club down for impact, your hips should open first, allowing you to transfer lower body weight. Your upper body then follows your lower body as it transfers weight.
At impact, your weight should be at least 75% on the front leg. As you swing through the ball, your weight should be moving on the same plane as your swing and your hips should be fully opened and facing your target.
At follow-through, your front knee should be locked, with at least 90% of weight on that side.
While this occurs after you’ve hit the shot, this is still important because it helps you determine if you successfully transferred your weight – if you easily place the vast majority of your weight on your front side, you were probably pretty successful at weight transfer.
If you struggle to place the majority of your weight on the front leg at follow-through, then you likely aren’t shifting enough weight.
Common Mistakes That Golfers Face With Weight Transfer
Three mistakes that golfers often make when it comes to weight transfer include:
- Failing to transfer any weight
- Transferring weight only to the back
- Swaying too much
You might be wondering if you’re making these mistakes. Here’s how to recognize if you are:
Failing to Transfer
If you do not transfer any weight whatsoever, you will finish with your feet flat to the ground. Your weight will also be evenly distributed on both feet. When golfers fail to transfer weight, their swings are stiff and have almost no power.
Transferring Weight Only to the Back
Also known as “hanging back” or “falling backwards”, you can tell if you’re only transferring weight to your back side when you complete the swing with majority of your weight on the back leg.
Shifting your weight forward is critical to weight transfer because that’s what leads to a great club head speed and improved power, so make sure that you’re shifting weight both backward and forward.
Swaying Too Much
Golfers often do this because they think it will help them shift their weight and push more power into the ball.
But transferring weight doesn’t require moving the body all that much and swaying can actually negatively impact your hit because it makes it harder for you to hit the ball directly.
It also makes both timing and hitting well more difficult. One way to tell if you’re guilty of swaying too much is to film your swing from the front.
You’ll know you’re swaying too much if your shoulders move more than a few inches in backswing. Your shoulder and your body in general should only be moving significantly during downswing and follow-through.
Weight Transfer Golf Swing Drills That Will Help You Practice
So now that you know what to focus on when transferring weight and common mistakes to avoid, you may be wondering what golf swing drills can help you master weight transfer. Here are a few:
Medicine Ball Drills
In this exercise you will need a medicine ball or a heavy ball weighing about 4 to 10 lbs, depending on your strength. The ball should be about the size of a basketball.
- Simulate your address posture with the ball, holding it in front of your waist.
- Swing the medicine ball in the same way that you would a golf club
- At what would be impact, throw the ball as far as possible. The throw should also be straight.
If you are not transferring your weight, you won’t manage to throw the ball far. But if you are transferring your weight, you’ll find you can throw the ball much further.
Sand Wedge Drills
In this drill, you will use a sand wedge. Wedge the sand wedge beneath your back heel. The shaft of the wedge should be behind you and pointing up.
Then take a different club and practice taking some shots. As you take those shots, the sand wedge should be dropping on the ground even before you hit the ball.
This is because when you properly shit your weight forward, your back heel lifts up slightly into the air before you hit the ball. If the sand wedge doesn’t fall until after impact, you are taking too long to shift your weight from your back leg to your front leg.
Toe Tap Drills
All this requires is a normal club and golf ball. Try tapping your back toe on the ground without falling immediately after finishing your shot.
If you can do this, then you have correctly transferred your weight to the front. If you’re not and it takes a few seconds after the shot to tap your toe on the ground, you have too much weight at the back
Becoming a master golfer isn’t about strength – it’s about finesse. With these tips and drills, you’ll be on your way to mastering weight transfer and becoming the excellent golfer you know you are meant to be. Happy golfing!