Butch Harmon teaches pros such as Phil Mickelson to shift their weight back as they swing back.
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Butch Harmon, who coaches many of the top players on the PGA Tour, has a simple theory about weight transfer. Where your club goes, Harmon says, your weight should follow. On your backswing, your weight should move to your back foot, which helps create a proper, balanced turn. While there are some differing theories about weight transfer, most instructors agree that properly moving your weight is a fundamental of an athletic backswing.
Balance at Address
Your weight distribution at address will determine how you shift your weight in your backswing. Instructor Jim McLean believes in starting the swing in balance. He favors evenly distributing weight between the front and back legs at address. He also teaches balancing weight between the balls and heels of each foot. You've set your weight properly at address, McLean explains, when it's difficult for someone to push you off balance from the front or behind.
In Harmon's teaching experience, many amateurs fail to move their weight to their back foot in the backswing. Instead, they shift their weight forward as the club goes back. This causes them to fall back on the downswing, which Harmon calls a weak move. To teach the feeling, Harmon has students set up with their feet close together. As they slowly move the club back, they step back with their back leg, so their weight falls into the instep of their rear foot.
Top of Backswing
At the top of the backswing, 90 percent of your weight should be balanced on your rear foot, according to golf teacher Lynn Marriot. She teaches players to feel the weight over the center of the foot at the top of the swing. If your weight moves back to your heel, your right knee may straighten, which can undermine a good downswing, Marriot says. To check their weight shift, Marriot has students lift their left legs off the ground at the top of the backswing and follow through and lift their right legs off the ground to promote a full finish.
Some well-known golf theories recommend starting with the weight on the front foot and keeping it there, or even shifting more weight forward as the golfer swings back. The most prominent of these is the Stack and Tilt method taught by Andy Plummer and Mike Bennett. Plummer and Bennett believe this method encourages golfers to hit down on the ball and hit the turf at the same spot with every swing. They also believe this allows players to swing out at the ball and hit a push draw. However, to accomplish this, players also need to subscribe to other components of their methodology.