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Using the Ground to Hit the Ball Further

Updated: Nov 13, 2023

The feet are the only interaction we have with the earth. They tell us where the body is in relation to our next step. We must be able to support ourselves on two feet, one foot at a time, and when only a portion of our foot is on the ground. When we are walking or running, the foot works as a sort of spring, it absorbs force and releases force to propel us forward.

In the golf swing, they work a little bit different. The feet do not really absorb very much force in the traditional sense, however they must initiate a large amount of force being applied to the ground and then absorb and transfer that force through the body. When people think of absorbing force they usually think of jumping off a step then catching themselves. In the golf swing, we are trying to produce a large amount of force into the ground which then pushes back at us.



Forces applied to the golf swing to hit the ball further


“For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction” Newtons third law of motion


If your feet are not mobile, stable, and adaptable you are setting yourself up for a loss of power, consistency, and possibly injury somewhere else in the body.

The human body works in slings. We have oblique sling and lateral slings. The oblique slings create rotation and resist rotation. The lateral slings or lateral lines will help stabilize left to right when you are standing on one leg or your weight is shifted mostly over one leg.

These slings and lines are individually activated when we shift weight into one foot.

When we look at the top players in the world, there are a few common things we see in the swing. The first is a shift of weight, this happens in the back swing and as the swing makes its transition to the downswing. The reason for the weight shift is to help create rotation and width in the backswing as well as having a fixed point to create power on the downswing.


Foot stabilization


Stability- “Resistance to change, deterioration, or displacement.”


Stability in the body is an interesting topic because it requires both being able to move and being able to control that movement. While many therapists use the traditional definition of being able to resist change or displacement, the human body should never be stationary. This requires us to change the definition to fit an every adapting system.

Stability for the body should be defined as the ability to control motion at each joint with balanced muscle tone and optimal joint centration.


The basics of foot stability


The biggest indicator of foot stability is the ability to create a tripod of contact points with the foot. What this means is that you should always have 3 points of contact when generating force or absorbing force from the ground.





Having these three points gives you an optimal base to move off of. You can think of these three points like the base of the pyramid. Having a wider base means you can have a taller structure. In the body having a wider base gives you a better opportunity to create more power in all three planes of motion. This will also help you manage gravity pushing down on you all day long.


What this means for the golf swing


When we look at the top players in the world, there are a few common things we see in the swing. The first is a shift of weight, this happens in the back swing and as the swing makes its transition to the downswing. The reason for the weight shift is to help create rotation and width in the backswing as well as having a fixed point to create power on the downswing.

In the back swing the trail foot usually goes into supination meaning there is more of an arch created. This provides more stability for the hips and spine to rotate. The lead leg should be going into pronation which is the arch of the foot dropping closer to the ground or in the case of the golf swing closer to the insole of the shoe. These movements should be close to the maximum as you reach the top of the backswing. This position of the foot and ankle sets the player up for the transition.


The transition of the golf swing is a very cool spot and I would argue the 2nd most important behind the setup position. Players typically have different back swings, just look at Matt Wolfe or Jim Fuyrk, they are very unconventional however they are two top players during their time. When they get to the transition of the swing, they typically sync up to where most PGA players do. There is supination of the trail foot and pronation of the lead foot, as they begin the downswing they shift their weight to the lead side.


This transition movement begins the unwinding of the backswing. This movement creates a support point on the lead leg that will help all muscles pull towards the lead foot. Think about a rubber band, if you stretch it you need fixed points on each end. This tends to be your fingers. If you want to shoot the rubber band forward, you need only one support point for the band to move towards. If you let go of both fingers at the same time the band would fall straight down, but keep one finger on the band while letting go of the other, the rubber band shoots forward.


This is how the golf swing works, the back swing creates stretch and tension in the muscles, we can call this the x-factor. The transition and weight shift towards the lead leg gives a fixed point for the muscles to pull towards and create power. This support point will also allow you to use the ground to produce more power.


Having the proper mobility along with generating proper stability of the foot will help you produce a more consistent and powerful golf swing.


Need some help learning to use your feet to create more power?


Let Kalamazoo Chiropractic & Rehabilitation help you hit the ball further. Schedule your free discovery call to see how we can help you.


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