One of the biggest debates in the game of golf is about weight distribution. Some golf instructors teach their students that they should have their weight evenly distributed at setup.
Other instructors say that the golfer’s weight should lean slightly to the front foot or the back foot. All this conflicting advice can be confusing, especially to newer golfers.
Should a golfer keep their weight forward at address or farther back until after impact? We take a closer look at this question in this article.
After reading this, you’ll be able to decide if you want to try the weight-forward golf swing.
What Does it Mean to Have Your Weight Forward in Your Golf Swing?
Having your weight forward in a golf swing means that instead of having a 50-50 weight distribution at address, the golfer has at least 55% of his weight toward his front foot.
This type of approach was made famous by Andy Plummer and Mike Bennett in their Stack and Tilt golf swing teachings. The Stack and Tilt method has helped many golfers (including some on the PGA Tour) achieve their fullest potential on the course.
Though 90% of a golfer’s weight should be on their front foot at impact, many golfers struggle with hanging back too much on their back leg. This leads to decreased power and inconsistent contact.
By starting with the weight slightly forward, it is easier to transfer the rest of the weight at impact.
Yes, to ensure maximum distance and a fluid swing, there must be a proper weight transfer during the swing at some point before impact.
Golfers who have too much weight on their back leg at impact are swinging with their upper bodies only. It’s nearly impossible to hit the golf ball a long way if you’re only using half your body.
Pros of the Weight Forward Golf Swing
There are lots of advantages to adopting a weight-forward golf swing. Here is a list of some of those benefits.
When a golfer addresses the ball with his weight slightly forward, it ensures that a proper weight transfer will take place during the downswing.
This results in more consistent contact since the weight forward swing is less reliant on timing. Consistency means everything in the game of golf.
Perhaps the most important factor to playing better golf is being able to hit the ground in front of the ball at the same spot every time. This ensures that the golfer will hit the ball first and then the ground. This leads to more powerful, more accurate shots on a more consistent basis.
Limits Head Movement
Do you know what will throw off a golf swing worse than anything else? Having too much head movement during the backswing! Starting with your weight slightly forward helps the golfer keep his head still during the entire swing.
Folks that start with a 50-50 weight distribution at address often shift lots of weight to their back leg during the backswing. This makes the head move too much and causes the eyes to bounce.
All that movement makes hitting the golf ball flush much more difficult.
Helps Cure Slices
The majority of amateur golfers struggle with a wicked banana slice, especially with the longer clubs in the bag. Many things contribute to a slice. One of which is an improper weight transfer (hanging back).
Starting with the weight slightly forward makes it easier for the golfer to take an inside-out golf swing. This type of swing path will turn that nasty slice into a slick-looking baby draw. A draw will come in handy on most golf courses.
Cons of the Weight Forward Golf Swing
As most golfers know, there are positives and negatives to every type of golf swing. Here are some of the cons of adopting a weight-forward golf swing.
Most folks do not want to try the weight-forward swing simply because it feels weird. Many golfers played other sports as kids and were taught the weight must go back and then forward. As we all know, old habits are hard to break.
For example, most baseball hitters start with their weight tilted toward their back leg and then explode that weight toward their front leg during their swing. While this works great in baseball, it’s not the best approach for most golfers.
Nevertheless, lots of golfers do not wish to change this approach because it feels so natural to them.
Some golfers who have tried out the weight forward golf swing say that it lowered their ball flight.
While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially with the longer clubs like the driver, it can be detrimental when hitting your wedges. Most golfers want to hit the ball as high as possible with their wedges to increase their chances of landing (and staying) on the green.
A common fix is to play around with your ball position in your setup to see if that gives you a higher ball flight. Lots of golfers find that if they move the ball back just a little in their stance, it helps improve the trajectory of their shots.
Common Golf Swing Weight Shift Problems
We already mentioned this one a few times but we’ll list it here as well. This is when the golfer shifts their weight to their back leg during the backswing but never shifts it to their front leg during the downswing.
This robs the golfer of lots of precious clubhead speed and limits their distance quite a bit.
No Weight Transfer
This problem is not as common as hanging back but it still plagues some golfers. This happens when the golfer starts with a 50-50 weight distribution and the weight doesn’t shift at all before, during, or after the swing.
Again, this leads to a decrease in power and a golf swing that just looks painful and stiff.
Swaying is another common weight transfer problem and is usually caused by overswinging. This is when the golfer rares back (usually with the driver) and tries to kill the golf ball.
When the swaying occurs, the weight transfer is so severe that the front foot may even come off the ground for a split second. This makes consistent contact with the golf ball nearly impossible.
Here’s who should give the weight forward golf swing a try:
- Golfers who struggle to make consistently solid contact
- Folks who are constantly fighting a slice
- Golfers that have a hard time completing a proper weight transfer
- Golfers who tend to sway, hang back, or make no weight transfer
- Newer golfers who want to simplify the golf swing
Drills to Help You Practice Weight Transfer During Your Swing
Toe Tap Drill
Here’s a fun drill that doesn’t require any special items. When practicing your swing at the driving range, try to do a toe tap with your back foot while completing your follow-through. This is a great drill to do as part of your warm-up before a round of golf.
If you can complete this move without losing your balance, you’ve got the proper amount of your weight forward at impact. If it takes you longer than a second or two to complete the toe tap, you probably have too much weight on your back leg at impact.
Sand Wedge Drill
This drill can feel a little bit weird at first, but it’s an excellent one to do to make sure you’re transferring your weight at the right time. The nice thing about this drill is it provides you with some immediate feedback on your weight transfer. Here’s how it works:
- Place a sand wedge underneath the heel of your back foot with the shaft pointing toward the sky
- Hit a normal shot with a different golf club
- The sand wedge should start to fall to the ground before you even make contact with the ball. This is because, during a proper weight transfer, your back heel will lift slightly.
- If the sand wedge is hitting the ground a couple of seconds after impact, you are just a tad bit late in completing your weight transfer
Medicine Ball Throws
For this drill, you’ll need a small medicine ball that weighs anywhere from 5 to 10 pounds. One like this will work just fine. Here’s a brief step-by-step guide to this drill.
- Line up as if you are addressing the golf ball
- Instead of a golf club, hold the medicine ball and pretend it is a golf club
- Complete a normal golf swing
- Release the medicine ball at the impact point of where the golf ball would be
- Study how far the medicine ball goes
- If it goes quite a long distance, you are transferring your weight properly. If it doesn’t travel very far, your weight transfer needs more work