There are two schools of thought when it comes to the golf swing weight shift. You either shift your weight during your golf swing or you leave it on the target side leg. I know golfers who are successful with both. So in many cases it is a matter of choice.
Lately, there is a new factor that may change your mind. It’s called Ground Reaction Force, also called GRF.
What is GRF? In accordance with Newton’s laws, every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Just like it sounds, if you push into the ground, the ground pushes back!
Absurd! Not so fast…
If I push my 160 pounds into the ground, how much does the ground push back? Remember – Equal and opposite reaction…
You don’t see the ground actually swell up and push you back up. But then the ground probably doesn’t sink much when you push into it either. Then again the earth weighs a helluva lot more than I do so it doesn’t have to do much of anything to push back, but it does…
Here’s a link for further study – Best Performance Group
And that seemingly imperceptible push back can add power to your golf swing if you time it correctly.
I discovered how GRF works during the golf swing by accident. Literally, I twisted my ankle while running! The result was a very painful high sprain and over eight months of recovery. That was the accident that led to my discovering this phenomenon for myself.
I stumbled on this wonderful force because some of my golf students wanted me to play golf with them despite my injury. They believed I could find a way to hit a golf shot without using my left ankle, so I couldn’t let them down. After about 30 minutes, I found a way to make a golf swing that not only prevented my occasional hook (my nemesis), but it also added 20 yards to my drives. I didn’t understand it, but I liked it.
The difference was my golf swing weight shift. I have always made the traditional backswing on my right side and shifted to the left foot for the downswing. The issue I have always fought with that weight shift is head movement and an occasional slide(during the shift) that would cause the hooks.
Why did I stick with it? Did you see how much I weigh? At 160 pounds, I need everything I can put into the ball for distance, or so I thought.
How did the new weight shift change things?
Well, instead of shifting weight to the left foot, I turned my core toward the ball and only moved my weight slightly, with the idea of keeping the weight behind the golf ball so as to save my ankle. So during the transition instead of moving my weight toward the target, I pushed it down into the ground. At the same time, the power stored during my backswing was releasing to uncoil my right side for the downswing. As I pushed into the ground, the Ground Reaction Force pushed back, effectively compressing the imaginary spring I had coiled during the backswing.
It sounds far-fetched but the result is that I had more power behind the ball. In addition, my weight moved toward my left foot AS the club moved through impact. So instead of having a large part of my weight already on my left foot during impact, I had the majority of it adding to the power of impact.
This new weight shift is part of the modified pre-set swing drill you can download when you subscribe to the Breaking Golf’s Last Barrier newsletter.
So, back to the original question… To shift or not to shift?
The difference I see now between staying left and my modified weight shift is that staying left doesn’t take advantage of GRF. I have students who hit the ball a country mile staying left and I would never suggest that they change, but if you need some distance, it might be worth looking into.
Also, if you use a traditional weight shift and you fight “getting stuck” or your snarf shot is a nasty hook, this weight shift could be the cure.