Common Swing Flaws: Reverse Weight Shift

CSF - RWS 3

Introduction

Whenever I describe PluggedInGolf.com, I always use the word “resource.”  I want this site to be the ultimate resource for anything a golfer might want to know.  With that in mind, we are launching a new series today to identify, diagnose, and help you fix the most common swing flaws.  We’re starting with one you can find on every driving range in the world: the reverse weight shift.

Reverse Weight Shift (2)

Definition

A reverse weight shift occurs when the golfer shifts his weight backwards (away from the target) during the down swing.

Pitcher Tyson

Why Is It Bad?

It’s a massive power drain.  Think about any sport or action where the object is to create speed and power – throwing a baseball, flinging a javelin, throwing a punch – and you’ll see athletes shifting their weight towards the target and finishing on their lead (target-side) foot.

Additionally, it’s hard to strike the ball consistently well when you’re falling away from it.

Diagnosis

The only scientific way to diagnose this issue is to use force plates or pressure sensors.  Unfortunately, these can be very hard to find, so I will offer some less scientific alternatives.

First, you can take note of your balance in your follow through.  Do you finish your swing in a classic, PGA Tour logo pose?  If so, your weight shift is probably good.  However, if you finish your swing with your weight on your back foot, or worse, falling over backwards, then you may have an issue.

If your finish pose gives you reason for concern, video tape your swing.  Though you cannot see weight shift precisely on video, you can probably get a reasonable idea about whether or not you are moving forward or backward at impact.

Cause(s)

Like many of the most common swing flaws, there are a myriad of possible causes for the reverse weight shift.  Here are the three that I see the most.

Reverse Weight Shift (3)

Bad Backswing/Lack of Flexibility

As with many swing flaws, the roots of the reverse weight shift can often be found in the back swing.

Golfers with limited flexibility (or golfers who just want to take the club back as far as John Daly) often end up putting a lot of their weight on their lead foot in the backswing.  The result is that their weight shifts in the opposite direction (away from the target) in the downswing.

Reverse Weight Shift (11)

Open Club Face

This is the cause that few people think of when trying to fix a weight shift issue.

Some golfers “hang back” on their rear foot in an attempt to buy more time to square the club face.  If you are a habitual slicer who also ends up on your back foot, this is likely your issue.

Reverse Weight Shift (5)

Bad Sequencing (Arms First From Top)/Over-Swinging

Almost every golfer has experienced the feeling of trying to crush the ball and ending up on their back foot.  The reason that over-swinging leads to bad sequencing is that most of us try to create that extra power by swinging our arms harder from the top rather than letting them fall into their normal, powerful sequence.

The Solution

The solution to the reverse weight shift is going to vary depending on the cause, so I’ll offer a simple fix for each cause I listed.  If you’d like further explanation of any of these, please post a question or comment below.

Reverse Weight Shift (4)

Shorter Backswing

In addition to working on their flexibility, golfers in this group will want to shorten their backswing.

Reverse Weight Shift (12)

Fix Your Takeaway

Most people who end up with really open club faces get there by opening the face too much, too soon.  Work on keeping the club face “looking” at the ball longer into the backswing.

For a full explanation and pictures, check out this lesson: Takeaway Your Slice

Reverse Weight Shift (7) Reverse Weight Shift (8) Reverse Weight Shift (9) Reverse Weight Shift (10)

Feet Together Drill

Starting from a normal address position, take your backswing and step your front foot towards your back foot.  To start your downswing, step your lead foot towards the target.  Shift all your weight to your lead foot as you swing your arms down and step your back foot forward at or just after impact.  Finish in balance with both feet together.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this lesson and found it helpful.  If you have any suggestions for future editions of Common Swing Flaws, please leave a comment down below.

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Matt Saternus

Co-Founder, Editor In Chief at PluggedInGolf.com
Matt is a golf instructor, club fitter, and writer living in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. Matt's work has been published in Mulligan Magazine, Chicagoland Golf, South Florida Golf, and other golf media outlets. He's also been a featured speaker in the Online Golf Summit and is a member of Ultimate Golf Advantage's Faculty of Experts.

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7 Comments

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  3. Shaun Thorne

    someone help me ! i keep falling off the ball and going far right

  4. Rich Harwood

    Frequently when swinging the driver or any long club I fall forward instead of towards or away from the target. Usually I am swinging hard!

  5. I was hitting my drives on a consistent basis at about 270 yds last year. I made some swing changes. Mostly from me throwing my club at the top and having a inside to out swing. Now I have an inside to inside swing. But unfortunately since then I have had the shanks. Which I expected since it was a completely different turn at the ball. After I got that down. I have now suffered from only being able to hit every drive about 200yds and my irons. No matter what iron up to seven iron it goes 150yds. It’s painful. Especially going from a +1 handicap to a bogey golfer. I think it’s mostly from a combination of breaking my wrist at the top and a overextending of my right shoulder. My club at my back swing is literally pointing at the ground. I’ve always been flexible and able to bring the club way back. But I wish I didn’t. I’ve actually shortened my swing and have actually paused at the top for a split second. Almost to prevent the overclocking of my wrist and breaking the club too much. But I still finish with short shots? Any suggestions. I video tape myself regularly but can’t seem to break the bad habit of over extending.

    • Matt Saternus

      Bryan,

      Do you have any launch monitor data from when you were hitting it 270 to compare to what you’re doing now? I have to believe that to go from 270 to 200 you’ve lost a massive amount of club head speed.

      -Matt

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