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.
A reverse weight shift occurs when the golfer shifts his weight backwards (away from the target) during the down swing.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
In addition to working on their flexibility, golfers in this group will want to shorten their backswing.
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
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.