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Contact is in the legs

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PGA pro Mark Wehrman demonstrates the ideal amount of lower body movement during a golf swing. PHOTO COURTESY OF MARK WEHRMAN

By Mark Wehrman EBS Sports Columnist

If you are having contact problems, you need to focus on what your lower body is doing during your swing. Most of the time if you have too much lower body movement your ball contact will be compromised. Too much lower body action will also affect your balance and if you can’t finish in balance, then you are not swinging in balance. So, what does it mean to have too much lower body movement?

Too much lower body movement can involve several things. When the feet are moving in the backswing you will lose your connection to the ground and ultimately lose your balance. One of the most common flaws I see in the back swing is when people lift the heel of their lead foot off the ground. 


Lifting the left heel is one of the most common flaws that Wehrman sees in golf back swings. PHOTO COURTESY OF MARK WEHRMAN

This was a common move back in the days of Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson but you certainly won’t see it in most of the modern-day golf swings. When you are rocking on to the outsides of your feet you will also find it hard to have solid connection at impact. 

When your feet move in your backswing, it can cause a loss of balance and poor ball contact. PHOTO COURTESY OF MARK WEHRMAN

Another example of too much lower body movement is when you turn your hip too much in the backswing. The straightening of the right knee, for a right-handed golfer, usually coincides with too much hip turn. This action is called “losing the right side.” 

Another example of too much lower body movement in a swing is turning your hips too much in the backswing. PHOTO COURTESY OF MARK WEHRMAN

Ideally, we should be trying to do what is called the “X” factor. The “X” factor refers to the backswing and how the body is rotating. In the “X” factor, we rotate with the upper body and, at the same time, resist with the lower body. By doing this you are able to limit the lower body movement and more specifically limit the amount of leg movement and hip rotation. This will allow you to create a coil or the load we are trying to achieve in the backswing. 

The purpose of the backswing is to store energy so we can release that stored energy through the ball. If you allow your lower body to move or rotate too much you will not be able to load behind the ball and essentially lose power and leverage, both of which help us create more clubhead speed. 

So, please remember, your lower body is your base in the golf swing. If you are moving your base too much it will be very difficult to get the clubhead back on the ball, causing missed hits and a reduction in clubhead speed. If you make it a point to keep your base stable and limit your lower body movement you will, through time and practice, see more consistent contact.

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