Improving Weight Transfer: Golf Swing Guides and Drills

We’ll let you in on a secret: the PERFECT golf swing exists!

The even better news? YOU can achieve it in no time at all!

All you need to practice is your weight transfer. Now let’s make you a STAR GOLFER and talk about it more in this article!

Weight Transfer in Golf: An Overview

If you want to improve how you hit the ball, then PERFECTING your weight transfer is your best shot.

Let’s quickly review your FUNDAMENTAL UNDERSTANDING of golf to illustrate this better.

POWER in a golf swing depends on two factors:

  • Arm Movement – how you establish contact with the ball and your club
  • Weight Transfer – the movement of your weight from one foot to the other

Amateur golfers would rely on their ARMS for power, while a PROFESSIONAL would feel greater power with a better weight transfer form.

There is more to power than simply moving your club forward!

How Is Weight Distribution Established in Golf?

The first step in understanding the weight shift is clarifying any misconceptions about which parts of the body SHOULD and SHOULD NOT move.

For this reason alone, we want you to focus on your TRAIL FOOT — the right foot for a right-handed golfer.

We’ll now look at whathappens during the process of weight transfer.

Establishing Your Stance and Swing

In terms of your golf swing, we’re looking more particularly into your LOWER BODY and FEET POSITION:

  • Shift weight EVENLY on both feet
  • Position yourself slightly TOWARDS the balls of your feet

Achieve these, and you’ve properly set yourself up for the PRIMARY MANIFESTATIONS of a good weight transfer.

As you swing, you should be able to observe a literal weight shift onto the inside of your trail foot:

  • From the BACK FOOT of the backswing
  • To the FRONT FOOT through the downswing

Doing so will help achieve a MORE BALANCED shot!

Watch out for these general guidelines, and you will be more AWARE of how you distribute your total body weight!

Remember our key takeaway: weight should be EVENLY DISTRIBUTED in a golf swing.

Observing Weight Transfer: How to Tell If It’s Being Done Right?

Let’s set things straight — the golf swing itself makes it difficult to observe how a player practices weight transfer.

This is because it’s more than simply observing where the player’s body mass or center of gravity is.

A better and more instantaneousmeasure would be if you do NOT fall over as you hit your shots:

  • You should be able to tap your BACK TOE FIRMLY GROUNDED almost immediately after your swing
  • You should also FEEL the changes in weight distribution on your feet BEFORE AND AFTER the shot.

This information should be enough for an average golfer to understand the makings of a good swing!

Now it’s time to finally dig deeper into how YOU can achieve this with proper guidance.

A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Transfer Weight Correctly

Weight should be evenly balanced on both feet at the start, while a shift happens as the player swings — this much has been established.

But there are still a lot of nuances to discuss throughout the entire process!

In this section, we take adeeper lookat the correct WEIGHT SHIFT SEQUENCE for a right-handed golfer:

Step 1: Establish the Address Position

The address position refers to your STANCE. This is your make it or break it stage!

The sequence that you should follow is quite easy, but not something that you can work on half-heartedly:

  1. ADDRESS – EQUAL weight on feet; balanced between heels and balls of the feet.
  2. TAKEAWAY – Shift your weighttowards the BACK FOOT as your swing begins.
  3. WAIST LEVEL – Start your knee bending and trail hip rotation as weight shifts towards your RIGHT foot.
  4. TOP OF THE BACKSWING – Continue until 75% of your weight is on the center of your RIGHT foot while your RIGHT instep remains steady.

Top of the Backswing Position from Shutterstock

You should feel STABLE and BALANCED at this point.

Establishing as much in the address position should limit any chances of ruining the other moving components of your golf swing.

PRO TIP: Observe your knees and instep. If your knee bows OUTWARD and your instep LIFTS, then you should make adjustments accordingly.

Step 2: Proceed with the Swing and Impact Position

The downswing should start to see you transfer more of your weight onto your FRONT FOOT.

This way, you focus more on your left side and left leg in particular — this is your lead side during impact.

The shift sequence will be picking up right where you left off:

  1. START OF THE DOWNSWING – Press your LEFT heel onto the course as you start shifting weight from your right side towards the left side.
  2. DOWNSWING TOWARDS IMPACT –  Power through your hips rotation and transfer additional weight onto the center of the LEFT foot.
  3. AT IMPACT – Continue until 75% of your weight is on the center of your LEFT foot while your RIGHT heel lifts off the course slightly.

Impact Position from Shutterstock

Again, you should feel STABLE and BALANCED at this point.

You should evenly distribute weight with an inclination towards the lead leg of the left foot.

This sequence focuses more on the lower body weight transfer, simply expecting the upper body to naturally follow through accordingly.

Step 3: Ending with the Finish Position

This position refers to the time AFTER you hit the ball!

It would be best to pay attention to your lead hip and shoulders: your body should INSTINCTIVELY make these parts RISE.

This will prepare you for the weight transfer in your FINISH POSITION.

  • AT THE FOLLOW-THROUGH – 90% of your weight should now be transferred onto your LEFT foot while your RIGHT heel continues to lift off.
  • FINISH POSITION – Keep your LEFT foot planted on the course with your RIGHT foot and heel OFF

Finish Position from Shutterstock

A good weight transfer in the golf swing should have you end it in a COMFORTABLE position!

You should feel the transition start from the lower half followed by the upper torso:

  • Right foot lifted
  • Right leg at an angle as your hips rotate
  • Left foot stably down
  • Left shoulder behind and angled down
  • Upper torso following the natural rotation of your hips — towards the target

This weight transfer to your front foot should feel EASY and NATURAL.

If your front foot feels light and unstable by the end of this position, you probably are NOT transferring enough weight.

Common Golf Swing Weight Shift Problems

It’s not just amateur golfers that commit these mistakes. Trust us; the golf course DOES NOT discriminate between players!

The least you could do is be aware of these weight transfer problems and adjust accordingly.

1. Insufficient Weight Transferred

Have you ever experienced going through ALL of the steps correctly, only to observe very little power in your swing?

This could only be caused by NOT transferring enough weight from your back leg to the front.

If you’re unsure about whether or not you’ve been doing it unconsciously, there are THREE VISUAL MANIFESTATIONS of this problem that you may watch out for:

  • Rigid swing
  • Even weight on feet
  • Both feet flat on the ground AFTER the follow-through

REMEMBER: Weight shift does not only concern your body mass — focusing too much on it would instead cause an IMBALANCE in your stance.

2. Uncontrolled Forward Balance

This uncontrolled transfer in the golf swing is also called HANGING BACK.

Simply, you should NOT in any instance be falling backward during a weight shift.

This happens when you FORGET to continue shifting the weight forward in the downswing — the timing of it all could also ruin your balance altogether.

Now you might be asking: why is the forward shift so important?

Well, it’s because this forward weight transfer is responsible for TWO ASPECTS OF YOUR SWING:

  • Club head speed
  • Power

Your finishing position will have most of your weight on your BACK FOOT.

REMEMBER: We instead want this weight to be on your LEFT FOOT — for a right-handed player, we call this the lead foot.

3. Loss of Knee Flex

This problem is once again related to your BALANCE.

You do NOT need to unconsciously straightenyour knee during the backswing.

Doing so will make you less agile and flexible to move toward the target during the downswing.

4. Too Much Swaying

Yes, rocking back and forth from your ball is GOOD for target practice.

But don’t be like amateur golfers.

Do NOT rely on swaying for swing power — observeweight shifting properly.

Swaying during the backswing often results in the following swing inaccuracies such as:

  • Loss of direction control
  • Difficult establishment of solid contact with the ball
  • Unbalanced shifting of weight
  • Increased movement of the back shoulder

These inaccuracies will eventually affect the TIMING of your impact position.

Remember that body mass is NOT synonymous with weight transfer in the golf scene!

PRO TIP: You CAN shift your weight back without swaying your body too much for momentum. This is because grand movements are more applicable for the downswing and finish position.

Drills to Improve Your Weight Transfer

It isn’t enough to know what weight transfer is on paper.

You will only get better with PRACTICE.

These are some of the easiest exercises for weight transfer in the golf swing that you can try out!

Drill #1: Shoe Lift Drill

Go ahead with your usual golf swing practices.

Except for this time, you’ll need a trainer or SPARE SHOE to make this work.

It’s a THREE-STEP DRILL that takes no additional effort to accomplish:

  1. Place your spare shoe UNDER your front foot.
  2. Align your foot with the toe-end of the trainer shoe.
  3. Swing as you normally would while weight shifting.

You’ll know if you’re doing it right if the heel of the trainer shoe lifts off from the course.

Otherwise, you would still need to have your weight transferred AWAY from your back foot.

Drill #2: Ball Throws

This exercise is a way to naturally figure out the form your golf swing needs.

You will need any one of these balls or something similar to them in size:

  • Basketball
  • Medicine ball
  • Heavy ball

Making sure that you have enough SPACE, proceed with the FIVE-STEP DRILL:

  1. Hold the ball on both sides while in your address position.
  2. Pretend that you are targeting golf balls on the course.
  3. Proceed with your golf swing.
  4. Release the ball once your swing reaches the impact zone.
  5. Throw it as far and as straight as possible while adjusting your weights.

You’ll know if you’re doing it incorrectly if your arms feel heavier than your legs.

Likewise, your ball flights won’t be that high nor far.

Once you figure out the proper way to SHIFT YOUR WEIGHT, apply what your body has learned now with a golf club and a real golf ball!

#3: Club Drop Drill

Place the face of a wedge under your back heel, so the shaft is pointing up and away from you.

Swing as normal, and if you are transferring your weight correctly, the wedge under your heel will drop to the ground before impact as the back heel should be off the ground at this point.

If the club drops to the ground after impact, the weight transfer sequence has not happened as desired. You must still be hanging back with too much weight on the back foot.

Drill #4: Toe Taps

This is the drill that resembles an actual golf game the most! You’ll finally get to use your CLUB and GOLF BALL here.

It’s a simple THREE-STEP DRILL that should simulate your weight shifting accurately:

  1. Proceed with your golf swing as usual.
  2. Tap your back toe on the ground after hitting a shot.
  3. Simultaneously lift the heel of your back foot up.

You’ll know if you’ve transferred weight correctly if the TOE OF YOUR BACK FOOT immediately taps the ground upon impact.

Otherwise, you would need to practice a little bit more.

Why Care About Weight Transfer in the Golf Swing?

Is golf swing weight transfer really important?

YES!

To put it simply, weight transfer in the golf swing allows you to MAXIMIZE YOUR POWER.

This is important because golf is a sport that doesn’t rely on muscle strength.

With proper weight transfer, you gain the following advantages:

  • Flexibility to turn your body better
  • Greater length in your swing

This allows you to have a MORE NATURAL MOVEMENT to give your swing better momentum and power.

In this context, you should understand how body mass isn’t necessarily what WEIGHT TRANSFER pertains to.

Rather, weight transfer refers more to how you manipulate your balance and swing stance.

If you’ve been playing golf for a LONG TIME, you’d be able to see how big of a difference proper weight transfer makes.

Conclusion

Weight transfer is one of the most important aspects of the sport!

Most golfers struggle with perfecting weight transfer, but it’s nothing that drills and exercises can’t solve!

When playing golf, you have to pay close attention to your golf swing movement:

  1. Address Stance and Starting Position
  2. Swing and Impact Position
  3. Finish and Follow-through Position

By perfecting this shift of weight in these three primary positions, you’ll be able to have better control of your target line.

We hope you enjoyed learning about weight transfer and how to have a better swing, and we wish you luck in applying these tips on the course!

Happy golfing!

Barry