How Active Are Your Legs In Your Golf Swing

The golf swing has so many moving components, that it is a challenge to determine which areas are dominant during our golf swing. I can say for sure that I do not use my lets as much as I should when hitting driver and that might be a challenge I can fix in my DIY golf net. This is not an ‘ah-ha’ moment, just one of the many aspects of my golf swing that I know needs attention. I am writing about my shortfall because I came across a video by Michelle Wie on this very topic and I thought that it was worth sharing.

I generally do not engage my legs during my swing. I thought that I did, but after reviewing some video, I understand that I am a twister and do not generate much coil or torque between my upper and slower body. Hence, my weight shift is not as profound as I need to garner that extra distance I desire. Here, take a look:

I remember Brian Penn mentioning that my lower body was very quiet when I first posted this video and unfortunately did not pursue his advice as much as I should have; however, I am on the mark now and think it is something I can work on moving forward.

Here is what Michelle Wie has to say. Of particular note, watch her shoulder turn and her weight position at the point of contact.

I was particularly intrigued by her mention to focus on the coil or torque between the upper and lower body. The shoulder turn is important, but not at the cost of keeping my lower body engaged throughout my golf swing. Interestingly, I think I have an idea on how to feel my lower body during my golf swing.

As an amateur athlete who participated in many different sports in my younger years, I always focused on my foot work. As I transitioned to being a coach, I always felt that the foundation of success for any athlete was from the ground up. It is where we generate the ability to quickly move, jump higher or generate power to perform various movements. Well, I am not sure why I thought that golf would be any different. Having said all this, it is back to the drawing board for me with a focus on my foot work and dexterity of movement. As I develop my training sessions, I will let you know how things work out.

Public Service Announcement: A point of caution for me and other aging athletes, please be careful. Anytime we start or enhance a training program we have to cognizant of injury and not over doing any particular exercise. The golf swing requires a great deal movement and therefore we must take care not exceed our abilities without first ensuring it is something we are capable of doing. If you are unsure exactly where you stand physically, consult your local medical professional for expert advice.

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!

12 thoughts on “How Active Are Your Legs In Your Golf Swing

  1. The golf swing has so many parts! I’m currently working on not releasing my wrists through the downswing. Hopefully, my legs will play a bigger part of my swing too. I’m sure my lower body has been super quiet just trying to get the face back to the ball squarely. Not sure it has helped at all. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jim, getting into your left side with your legs and hips is one of the hardest adjustments to make. I have a different flavor of the same problem; my hands are too active in the downswing. I’m trying to reprogram from two aspects. Fitness (as you mention) and training my left side to lead by taking my right hand off the club. Both are equally challenging but I’m up for it. What else does a 60-year old guy have to do? 🙂

    Thanks,

    Brian

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    • Brian

      We are on the same path to fixing our golf swing. It is still very cold here so I am just working on my conditioning for now. Swing stuff to resume shortly. I have always had the challenge of my left side engaging more and now I do have the time to address this shortfall, we shall see where it leads.

      Cheers Jim

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The work I’ve been doing on my turn includes using the legs better. “And keep low to the ball” she says. I’ve heard that called the squat move in other video’s I’ve based my practice on. I like how she explains what’s needed to begin the transition and the fact that shoulder turn isn’t the biggest factor it’s the amount of tension we create (coil) and I would add how well we use the ground.

    I watched her swing in slow motion have some highlights about it.

    At 1:38, she’s at the top of her swing. She’s maybe just past the 10 o’clock position with her arms, but her shoulders are pointing back behind the ball. Her chest is pointing away from the target meaning her back is to the target, and her hips are somewhere in between. I’d guess she’s 45 degrees or so behind the ball at the waist. So she’s built the coil in her torso between her waist and shoulders.

    in the frames around 1:39 her lead knee has begun to turn out in the direction of the target signaling her weight transfer has begun. When her hands get down to about waist level somewhere in the 1:40 frames her lead leg is pressing into the ground and lifting her already. And she gets it to full extension in the frames around 1:41 just at impact.

    That push up from the ground has the center point of the club head arc moving up as she’s released it which increases the club head speed through the arc just like we’ld do if we tied something to a string and swung it around to see how fast we could make it go. We’ld be pulling against the forces of the momentum in that case where in the golf swing our lead leg is pushing up taking our hands and the center of the arc with it which helps create club head speed too.

    This is what I mean when I say I’m working on my turn. Not so much the ability to turn my shoulders more, though that is covered with work on flexibility, it’s the proper use of the forces in the swing. The turn, the weight shifts, and the ground forces combined to provide the optimum advantage to hitting longer and straighter shots. There is ten yards to be found just in using the ground to our advantage better.

    As to your PSA, I couldn’t agree more. Exercise at any age can lead to injury if not done with proper care and thought. But there really isn’t a need to overdo it for this unless you’re dead set on chasing Bryson. I work on flexibility as much to keep what I have as to get more. And resistance bands are more than enough to keep muscles toned and aren’t going to cause injury nearly as easily of the weight room. And they’re very versatile too.

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    • As for your swing in the video there are 2 things I see that might help. First, your lead knee caves in. I’ve tried and rejected that because it puts my knee out of position to be able to slide outward to begin the transition and hold the coil a little longer. It effects the timing of when I can use the ground and how much I can gain from it. Basically, I can’t squat when I do that and my weight doesn’t shift as fast as it should. You can see the difference pretty easily between where your knees and Michele’s are positioned throughout the swing.

      Second, the first move with your hands after you reach the top should be to drop down and allow the head of the club to move out, back, away from us a little, not start the swing. That angle change would help you hold on to the lag.

      Your club head is already below your hands when your hands reach waist level on the way down. You’ve got zero lag in that swing. We want the release to start there, not be done already.

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    • Kevin

      Thanks for the analysis of Wie’s swing. I can see the comparisons that you talk about. All of this just shows that I have lots to work on moving forward. This is a path that I embrace and look forward to changing. Also, thanks for mentioning the PSA; it is important to protect ourselves from injury. On a side note, it is only minus 25 Celsuis (-13 F) this morning, so indoor training is a must. 😉

      Cheers Jim

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      • This video is something you should look at.

        In your backswing, you will notice your trailing hip get higher. Something he covers in this video.

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      • Here’s one more. They get to the turn part near the end. This instructor puts it differently and maybe easier to understand.

        They aren’t really talking about lag here. They’re talking about turn and how to use the ground forces to our best advantage as well as how we lose it.

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