Go On, Step Into it!

To step or not to step into the ball, that is the question?  Does your body empower you more when you move into and step into the ball, or when your weight lags behind?  Well, try pushing “a close talker” away from you, or throwing a ball, without stepping into what you’re doing.  The answer is clear: move, take that step.

How about accuracy?  Ever hit a golf ball with your weight on your back foot? Your golf shot will have very little accuracy, if, your lower body fails to keep pace with your arms and hands. The result will, most often, be a weak slice.

Power means shifting body weight.  The weight is shifted, creating momentum, into your body’s power zone to empower your arms and legs.  There’s acceleration with the striking mechanism (arms and hands, clubhead, etc.) for more pop, but it’s the weight shift that sets everything in motion.

Tour pros are the best at transferring their weight and stepping into their shots. Even if, it appears that the soles of their shoes aren’t moving, their weight is shifting subtly backward and forward, advancing their center of gravity into the shot.

To add some pizzazz to this important lesson, a meaningful story: One summer day, back in 1977-78, my father was watching me hit balls at the far end of Muirfield Village’s practice tee, when Jack Nicklaus and his oldest son Jack II came riding up in a golf cart. After exchanging hello’s, big Jack said, “J Grout, I want the boys to work on a particular move that I think is crucial to playing good golf.” Dad’s response was, “Sure, go ahead.” At that point, the best player that ever lived, demonstrated to us what he wanted done. Needless to say, Jackie and I went on to practice the step drill for many hours.

This same drill will help you feel the strong shift of body weight that must occur as the backswing transitions into the downswing. Though, it requires coordination, give it a try during your next practice session. At first, do it as slowly as possible. Then, as your technique and your timing improve, apply more speed.

Step Drill: Take your normal set up position with a golf ball on a tee using a 7-iron. As you swing the club away from the ball, just take a small step back with your front foot towards your back foot. Then, to start the forward swing, move yourself. Simply, step towards the target with your front foot. Let your arms and hands fall naturally, allowing for centrifugal force to build up and unleash the clubhead through the ball and into the finish position.

Step Drill (Specifics): The step consists of a short (5-7 inches) step with your front foot either directly towards the back foot or at a slight angle in that same direction. Lead with your heel and land on the ball (instep) of your foot. During the step, shift your weight at least 40/60 towards the back foot. Also, complete your backswing by making a full shoulder and hip turn. About the time that you complete the backswing, you should be stepping towards the target and transferring your body weight forward. The step of your front foot needs to be short in length, no longer than 5-7 inches. You should have the step foot (front foot) down and balance maintained well before the club contacts the ball.

Should you have trouble with this motion, your problem could be a lack of strength and/or flexibility with your core muscles. If this is the case, then, practicing alone will not cure your problem. You will have to exercise to get stronger and more flexible.

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