Weight Transfer In The Golf Swing Explained

by Steve | Last Updated: 5 March 2021

Every golfer has their own technique and tendencies, but there is one principle that can’t be avoided.

If a golfer doesn’t have good weight transfer, they won’t generate much power in their shot. So what is weight transfer?

In the golf swing, weight transfer is a movement where the player’s weight moves from one foot to another. The player should put their weight on their back foot during the backswing and then shift onto the front foot in the downswing.

Weight transfer can be difficult to notice when watching a golfer hit a shot.

It is easy to watch the player move back and forth, but weight transfer is much more than that.

Players might feel like they are on their front foot after they have hit the shot but it’s still possible they still have their weight on their back foot.

Before we discuss how to transfer the weight in the golf swing we need to understand why it’s important

Why Weight Transfer In The Golf Swing Important?

Weight transfer is all about maximizing the power that the player can generate.

Golf is a sport that does not require large muscles or bulky athletes to generate power, but instead, well-timed weight transfer can produce all the power needed to hit a sweet shot.

Weight transfer teaches the player to express all their power through the ball and allows them to turn better, which lengthens their swing.

The length of swing is another important contributor along with weight transfer that affects the distance of a shot.

When the weight is shifted to the back foot, the player can turn more, and their energy is stacked instead of being focused and driven into the golf ball.

Weight transfer involves using your body weight to generate the power needed to hit the golf ball a long distance by focusing your weight and energy into one focal point, which is the ball.

Learning to transfer the weight from the back foot to the front foot in the right timing with the golf swing is what produces a powerful shot that covers a long distance. 

Focusing on the right technique helps to consistently produce a good weight transfer in the shots and improves the accuracy of the shot as well.

How To Transfer Weight In A Golf Swing

There are three main aspects to focus on when working on developing good weight transfer in the golf swing. 

  1. The first is to have the correct setup at the address position, this includes posture, stance and ball position.
  2. The second is to work on the transition from the back foot to the front foot. 
  3. The third is to practice completing a strong finishing position.

Having The Correct Setup When You Address The Golf Ball

Set up is an important aspect of the game before working on the weight transfer and good Posture is a leading contender for adding power to your swing.

Correct posture allows you to take advantage of the momentum and fluid motion (we’ll get to that below).

Posture isn’t just how you stand or rotate your body, as many golfers assume. When relating to a golf swing, posture can mean anything from how you hold your upper body in the downswing to whether or not you lift your head early.

Lifting your head too soon will cause you to lift your club also; it can mean you hit the top of the ball instead of making good contact behind it.

If the player and the ball are set up wrong, it becomes difficult to get the correct weight transfer needed for big shots.

It is important to know how to be positioned before beginning the swing.

If the player’s head is in front of the ball, the balance will be off, and the player will not get the maximum power out of their weight in the shot.

The player’s front shoulder should be slightly higher than the back shoulder when setting up to take the shot.

It is helpful to practice setting up for a shot in front of a mirror to see that the position is correct.

When the player prepares for the swing and positions their feet evenly to get ready to swing, the weight distribution is around 50% per foot. An even good balance is the right starting position. 

Once the player begins the swing and the arms move backward, the player’s weight should transition to the back foot. This should be a natural shift of weight due to the arms moving in the same direction.

The weight transfer to your back foot should stop when your backswing reaches the belt or waist level. The player should hold about 75% of their weight on their back foot until the backswing is all the way back, and then the transition of the weight starts. 

golf ball placement grid in relation to the stance

ENSURE BALL PLACEMENT IS CORRECT FOR YOUR SHOT

When you’re setting yourself up for the shot, it’s critical to ensure the ball placement is correct. If we’re talking about a driver, then the ball should be out far enough to satisfy the club’s lie angle and your swing posture comfort.

The ball should line up with your leading foot’s inside edge for a long drive (more or less). This sort of ball placement ensures that the clubface will have an excellent forward and upward angle when it hits the ball.

If you place the ball too close to your rear foot on a drive, the club head won’t be facing up enough when you hit the ball. It will cause the ball to stay too low to get any real distance.

Although this tip doesn’t directly affect the actual power, it positively affects whether your power is wasted all together or not.

For more information about correct golf ball placement, please read our article Mastering Golf Ball Placement In Stance (A Coaching Guide).

How Do You Move Weight in the Back Swing?

When the player gets set up to make a shot , they should position their feet evenly and be aware of how much weight is on each foot.

With an even balance, this will ensure a secure starting position.

At the top of the backswing, your back should still be facing toward the target, with your weight behind the ball and more on the inside of your right foot, not the outside of the right foot.

This is where most golfers lose their power so try to master this, take a practice swing and try to feel where your weight is within your feet.

Once the player begins swinging and moves their arms back with a high force, they should naturally shift some of that weight off from their front leg onto their back one.

This can happen due to momentum moving in opposite directions or just as a natural response because of what’s happening in that moment.

Transitioning The Weight In The Golf Swing

The downswing is a key part of the golf swing.

After completing the back swing, you’ve got to start swinging your body towards impact and uncoil all that energy into a powerful strike!

Your hips are the point around which your body pivots.

Try to keep a stationary spine, with no lateral movement (this means swaying back and forth) and move your arms and club away from it.

The idea is to swing them in perfect harmony with one another!

How Do You Transfer Weight in The Down Swing?

Many golfers rotate their entire body at once. It is not the best way to increase power or to have a good swing.

Some of the world’s best golfers show that the golf swing starts with a rotation of the hips and follows with the shoulders and upper body’s rotation.

ROTATE HIPS FIRST, SHOULDERS SECOND

The sequential rotation of the body aids in speeding up the club during the downswing and increases power to it.

The hips’ initial twist while the arms are pulling the club down and around begins supercharging the clubhead with momentum.

After completing the backswing, the lower body weight transfer, which is the movement down towards impact with the ball, is generated by the hips

The hips will begin moving toward the target, this is sometimes called a hip-bump.

Both knees will be moving together, also moving toward the target, and when done correctly, the players head will stay slightly behind the golf ball, helping to produce the proper weight shift.

The upper body of the player will follow the direction of the lower body weight transfer through the impact, creating a follow-through.

The weight should start transitioning from the back foot to the front foot as the downswing happens. 

Where Should your Weight Be At Impact In The Golf Swing?

When the the club makes contacts with the ball, at least 70% of the player’s weight should have shifted to the front foot and then starts to increase as it moves into the follow through.

The Transfer Of Weight In The Follow Through

Once the player has hit the ball and the momentum of the weight is shifting forward, it is important to follow through all the way to completion.

A good finishing position is for the player to have 90% of their weight on the front foot at the end of the follow-through and still be perfectly balanced and facing the target.

Even after the shot is hit, it is still important to complete the full transition of weight onto the front foot.

The timing of this transition of weight is what guarantees a good shot.

Practicing the timing of the shifting of the weight with the swing will help develop consistency in the weight transfer. 

In the follow-through after the shot is hit, the player should twist their hips to complete the full weight transfer onto the front foot, which will cause the player’s chest to be facing forwards. 

This is a good indication of whether or not the weight has shifted forward or not.

Make Sure To Complete Your Swing

If you are one of those golfers that halts your swing early, then you need to try to stop doing that as soon as possible.

To gain the most power from your golf swing, a proper and complete follow through on the downswing must be a part of the golf swing.

Without a proper and complete follow-through, you’ll tend to slow the club’s momentum, and this can wreak havoc on your swing’s power

Here is Rich with a couple of tips that will help you become more consistent – Watch The Video on YouTube

Some Common Weight Transfer Mistakes

No Weight Transfer Happens

Often players are too rigid in their setup, and there is no movement of their weight in their shot. The shot will have no power, and the movement of the player will look very unnatural.

One of the indicators of this is if the player still has their weight distributed evenly between their feet at the end of the shot.

Hanging Back During The Shot

A lot of golfers make the mistake of transferring their weight to their back foot in the backswing, but they do not transfer the weight forward onto their front foot in the downswing.

This will cause the ball to gain flight but will have no power and no distance.

Most of the power generated in a shot comes from the downswing and the transfer of weight onto the front foot for impact and follow-through.

Swaying During The Shot

Some golfers try too hard to get the weight transfer right that they end up swaying back and forth, trying to acheive the correct weight shift, but they end up struggling to make clean contact with the ball.

Swaying makes it difficult to keep a focused movement of energy into a focused point on the ball.

One of the mistakes golfers make is thinking that to transfer the weight, there needs to be a lot of body movement.

Weight transfer doesn’t necessarily mean body movement but rather moving the weight onto a specific leg for each part of the swing.

Tips To Develop Correct Weight Transfer In The Golf Swing

  1. When setting up for a shot, make sure the head is slightly behind the ball.
  2. Keep a small amount of axis tilt away from the golf ball when setting up.
  3. Make sure the player’s head only moves 1-2 inches away from the target during the backswing.
  4. Keep your back leg slightly flexed, feeling the stretch in the glute or hip muscles.
  5. Aim to shift 70-80% of the player’s weight onto the back foot at the end of the backswing.
  6. Unwind hips and shoulders at the same time and shift them together at the same time to begin the downswing.
  7. Keep the head slightly behind the ball during the downswing through to impact.
  8. Aim for 70-80% of the weight to shift to the front foot in the follow-through after the shot.

Conclusion

Weight transfer is an important part of good golf technique. It affects the power in the shot as well as the distance and the balance of the player.

Some drills and tips help practice and develop a good understanding and implementation of weight transfer that will dramatically improve any golfer’s game.

Weight transfer can be taught and understood, but for most golfers, it is something that is felt!

Players can feel when they are getting the shift right, and the proof will be in the power and distance of their shots!

FIND IT HARD TO LEARN A GOLF SWING FROM READING TEXT

It’s not an easy task to teach someone the golf swing in text format, as the coaching relies on our ability to use the right words, in the right way, at the right time.

It then relies on you reading, understanding and then implementing the words in the same way.

I’m sure you agree this is tricky and probably not the most effective way.

So we have made several video coaching programs that can ‘show’ you exactly what you need to do.

A great example of this is the Drive For Show Course, which while it shows you how to hit your driver better,

the core focus on the coaching is to help you build a classic and repeatable golf swing, which is suitable for both right-handed golfers and left-handed golfers.

To find out more simply visit the coaching page and choose the area of the game that you want to work on.

Happy Golfing

Rich and Steve Signature Image
Steve King, the founder of Fore King Golf, started playing golf at the tender age of 29, after years spent playing many other sports and getting dodgy knees. Although late to the game, Steve soon fell in love with the sport and found himself, like many others, addicted to the pursuit of improvement and playing better. He is currently a member of The Kendleshire Golf Club & Hercules Golf Society, as well as running several competitions for Fore King Golf