Golf Tips - Good foot placement leads to a good swing

By Tom Ward

The feet are the foundation for the swing. It's the only contact you have with the ground, and like any home, a sturdy foundation is needed to support the frame. How the feet are placed determines how well a player can swing the club toward the intended target.

Placing the feet too close together or too far apart restricts the foot action - too far apart restricts and blocks hip action. Too close together prohibits the full use of foot and leg action. The angle of the feet will cause a problem as well. Toes pointed too far out can also restrict the foot action.

An open stance firms the backswing and makes it easier to swing through to the target, but will also encourage an outside-to-inside type plane swing. A closed stance will allow a maximum rotation of the shoulders and hips lengthening the backswing, but if too closed, will restrict the forward swing. The closed stance will force the club head to swing on an inside-to-out swing.

The stance also greatly affects knee action, which, in turn, affects all body motions - especially foot and leg action. When addressing the ball, both knees should be slightly flexed and pinched gently inward toward each other to ensure weight transfer. The right knee should be kept as close to this starting position until the top of the backswing. This will anchor the swing center in order to maintain balance and store up power in the backswing.

Knee action is also tied to hip action. By maintaining good knee flex in during the backswing, the hips are allowed to rotate in the correct sequence while establishing proper balance. This proper foot action creates a chain reaction from the ground up that will pay off at impact.

A big mistake many golfers make is allowing their weight to move to the outside of the right foot during the backswing. This improper motion will throw everything off kilter and force them to make compensations in order to reroute the club.

By keeping the right knee braced and flexed going back, the left side will lead the downswing in the correct sequence, uncoiling at top speed at impact. The longer the knees remain flexed in the forward swing, the longer the club stays on the target line, adding more distance and control to shots.

A common fault is the straightening or locking of the right knee during the backswing or downswing. This is a natural reaction created by trying to hit the ball instead of swinging. Experiment with different stances to find which one is the best suited for you. Remember, "You can't steal second base with your foot on first." By doing some footwork, you'll be firmly grounded on the path for success. *

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