Shift your weight!

State-of-the-art images reveal one big mistake high-handicap golfers 'always make'

November 14, 2022

Have you ever seen a professional golfer mis-hit a shot?

Unlike the rest of us, who sadly know the feeling of laying the sod over one, or topping a ball so badly that it only travels a few feet, pros' contact errors are almost non-existent. Sure, they catch shots thin or chunky, but the margins are so thin, it feels wrong calling them a mis-hit at all. You may not even notice them.

One key quality that helps pros onto this supreme level of consistency is their ability to transfer their weight onto their lead side by the time they get to impact.

Simply put, pros are really good at getting to their lead side at impact, and amateur golfers are really bad at it. The amount of weight you shift forward during your swing can affect where the bottom of your swing occurs.

Why getting to your lead side is so important

Lots of higher handicaps tend to hang back on their trail side, which causes these golfers to hit behind the ball and flip their hands to compensate.

Study after study shows that lower handicaps, and pros, have shifted their weight onto their front foot far more during their swing, which shifts the low point of their swing forward, and helps them make a more consistent, descending blow.

An interesting image from the golf 3D system Gears, shared here by Golf Digest Best in State Teacher Erik J. Barzeski, shows exactly how much: Compared to where their hips start at setup, pro golfers shift their hips anywhere from four inches towards the target, to almost nine inches towards the target. Higher-handicap golfers, by contrast, often only move their hips an inch or two closer to the target — at most.

A swing thought to help

A key reason why pros are able to get their hips that far forward by the time they get to impact is because they start shifting their weight sooner in their swing than the rest of us, Golf Digest Top 50 coach Mark Blackburn explains in the video below.

(Editor's Note: Mark has an awesome series on Golf Digest Schools, which if you're interested, you can watch for yourself right here. — LKD)

"The best players in the world get to their lead side much sooner than the club golfer," he says. "Club golfers always get to their lead side way too late.

Blackburn says a good cue to help improve you getting into your lead side sooner is to feel your pressure transfer into your lead food as your arms reach parallel on the backswing.

If that sounds earlier in your swing than you thought, that's kind of the point. Get into that lead side slightly sooner, Mark says, and the contact of your iron shots will be better for it.

You can watch Mark's full video below