Footwork is an often overlooked or misunderstood aspect of swinging a golf club properly. We’ve all heard that the golf swing starts from the ground up. But do we really know what that means? Many golfers plant their feet too firmly into the ground. They push down so hard that turning fluidity in both directions is restricted. Good golf footwork requires a golfer to feel light on his feet.
The simplest test for proper weight transfer and footwork is the foot-lift. Make your usual backswing and then pause at the top. If you can lift your front foot off the ground, you’ve shifted your weight correctly. If not, you need to work on weight transfer until you can. Then swing through to your finish and hold that position. Now, you should be able to lift your rear foot entirely off the ground. If you can’t, you haven’t shifted your weight completely to your front foot. You’re not taking full advantage of your power by hanging back.
Sam Snead often talked about how much he enjoyed playing golf barefoot as a boy. He learned his great footwork that way, too. Many instructors advise students to practice occasionally in sneakers to get the feel for good footwork and proper balance. If you can make a reasonably powerful golf swing wearing sneakers and still stay in balance, your footwork is probably pretty good.
The great instructor Tommy Armour called footwork the foundation of the best golf. According to the Silver Scot, “The function of correct footwork is to get the body in the right place for the arms and hands to act with maximum precision and power, and with smoothness. A great deal of needless confusion in teaching and learning footwork arises from the fact that the subject really is so simple that people just can’t readily believe that there isn’t a mysterious and complicated trick to it …good footwork is what makes the great golfers stand up.”