Developing a stronger lower body move is a great way to yield rewards in all facets of your ball striking. A key area I like to look at on the lesson tee is the action of the legs, specifically the lead knee. This may seem like a small area of focus, however, stepping up this one aspect of your swing can deliver big-time results!
Whether you’re talking about old-time greats such as Hogan and Trevino, or modern swingers like Rory McIlroy or Adam Scott, all top level players hit consistently solid golf shots. One swing characteristic they share in common is a forward and downward movement with their lead knee that begins before the end of the backswing. This forward leg shift, helps direct the bottom of the swing into the proper spot (Just ahead of the ball) helping produce clean contact time after time.
One of my favorite swing “keys” is to imagine a pop can or a wet sponge underneath your front foot. As you approach the end of your backswing, think of crushing the can or squeezing the water out of the sponge. If you’re still struggling to find ball then turf contact, put a little more weight into the can/sponge at address. This added forward weight at address will help “prime” your downswing move, while ensuring you’re not swaying too much off the ball into the backswing.
Imagine hitting a tennis serve holding the racquet above your head, using only your wrist. You wouldn’t produce much power would you? Now consider adding in some swing with your arm, while flexing your elbow. This would add a little more speed right? Finally, what if as you tossed the ball into the air, you bent both legs and pushed off of the ground? That would be an efficient way to sequence a serve, to create maximum speed into the head of the racquet. Golf is similar, in the respect that a strong lower body move sets the stage for the supporting action of the hands and arms to deliver a powerful hit.
To really feel this move, hit a few shots by starting with 80% of your lower body weight on your front foot at address, with your lead knee flexed a little bit. Take a 3/4 backswing, and then push forward and up with your lead knee through the hit, using the ground like a catapult. It’s amazing how much speed can be gained by doing this sequence in the right order.
Power without control is a tough way to shoot lower scores. If you’re fighting a banana ball, improving your lower body action can flip that slice into a draw in a heartbeat.Follow the lower body sequence above, adding in one extra detail. As you shift forward, keep your hips pointed to the right, as if to angle down the first base line on a baseball diamond. Keeping your hips closed “longer” helps shift the path of your clubbed more out to the right of the target. An impact characteristic essential for hitting a draw.
To really try and hook one, try setting your hips and shoulders down the right rough line at address, and maintain the feeling of them being closed throughout the downswing. You’re probably not going to “play” this way, but if you’ve been a long-time slicer, it’s really nice to know you can hook it anytime you want.