Most amateur golfers, myself included, don’t consider the importance of balance enough. I would hear coaches on the golf channel talking about it but would never pay much importance to it. I always try to finish looking like a pro but the moment I start hitting the ball well, I tend to swing harder and harder until I’m literally flying out of my shoes.
If you watch any great golfer, one think you’ll notice is that they always finish balanced on their front foot. Most people don’t realize that your swing starts from the ground up. A strong base and weight shift from right foot to solid left (or vice versa if you’re lefty) is crucial if you expect the remaining part of your swing (hips, shoulders, hands, club and face) to follow the same path each time. See Tiger below:
Same goes for tennis and baseball players, who must plant a strong front foot before swinging.
Take a look at the video below. Swing tips are a bit weird (hands should normally be forward of the ball on impact if you want to practice that drill) but the left foot tips are great. I still struggle sometimes with my heel twisting and find I hit the best shots when I think about these key points that allow me finish tall on my left:
1. Slow down! Most people, including myself, tend to lose their balance because they swing too hard. Golf is counterintuitive. An easier, relaxed swings often produces better strikes. Work on a slow swing with great balance and tempo, which produces good contact. With good fundamentals, you will surely be able to hit the ball clean whether you swing fast or slow.
2. Left leg should be firmly planted on the ground starting from when your club is parallel to the ground on the downswing through to impact and your finish (images 4 – 6).
3. As you follow through, all weight should shift to your left heel and outside of your left foot. I sometimes end up with all of my weight on my toes when I swing hard and that would cause my heel to spin. Big no, no.
4. Be conscious of what you’re practicing. Most people go to the range with the agenda of hitting as many balls as hard as possible (myself included again as well). It’s always better to slow down and think about what you’re doing. Take cuts without the ball for 10 – 15 minutes so that when you do hit a bad shot, you know what you did wrong.
Consciously thinking about my balance has helped my game tremendously. Remember, “practice makes permanent” so make sure you’re practicing good habits. Hope this helps. Let me know how you fair 🙂 – WH