Column: Weight shift a key to golfing consistency

Jennifer Greggain offers tips for avoiding the ‘fat shot’ in this week’s golf column.

Jennifer Greggain writes a bi-weekly column in the Chilliwack Progress during golf season.

She teaches golf to adults and juniors at the Chilliwack Golf Academy. She played professionally on tour for over 10 years, won the 2016 LPGA Western Section Teacher of the Year award, and is the Head Women’s and Girls Provincial Coach for BC Golf.

Many amateurs are looking to improve one key element in their game—consistency.

I’ve found on my lesson tee that many golfers tend to struggle with the pattern of hitting the ground first on missed shots, also known as ‘hitting it fat.’

I always educate my students on what the pattern of their golf ball tells them, and the strategies on how to improve upon those patterns.

If your pattern is the ‘fat’ shot, as mentioned above, there is a good chance you are struggling with weight shift in your golf swing.

Just like in every other sport, a consistent, efficient golf swing must have weight shift.

If you think about throwing a baseball, for example, the thrower will shift weight onto the back foot, step and shift weight onto the lead foot, then throw the ball.

If you’ve ever seen someone try to throw a ball without lower body weight shift, and just with their arms, you can see how much power and consistency they lose. Yet many golfers are unaware just how important this simple motion is to their golf swing. In fact, I call this act of weight shift ‘the most important fundamental movement in the golf swing.’

Yet I still see countless students with this very issue.

With my students who struggle with weight shift, we start first with the setup.

Did you know that when you take your stance, you don’t need your feet to point straight toward the ball? You can try turning your toes out slightly on each foot. This will help open up your hips slightly, making it easier for you to rotate and shift weight with your lower body.

Also, be sure your stance isn’t too wide. A shoulder-width stance is all you need, and anything wider than that can inhibit rotation and weight shift.

From there, try taking a few underhand ball tosses by placing a ball in your dominant hand, and toss it out toward your target similar to a golf swing.

Hold your balance for three seconds and evaluate your lower body finish position. Your belt buckle should be facing the target, turned completely onto your trail toe, and balancing 90 to 100 per cent of your weight on your lead foot.

If you notice that you have some of your weight hanging back on your trail foot, repeat until you can get your weight shifted completely through. Once you have mastered the ball tosses, move on to full swings.

Having proper weight shift in the golf swing is fundamental for consistent results. Be sure to work on this simple movement with your lower body, and you will find it easier to hit more solid shots as well as improve distance in your game.

Jennifer Greggain can be contacted at 604-798-9805, chilliwackgolfacademy.com, or at Jennifer@chilliwackgolf.com

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