At different times throughout golf’s paisley splattered history ideas on the swing have weaved in and out of popularity.
One such thought which has recently helped some of my lessons at Trafford Golf Centre is letting the left heel rise off the ground during the backswing.
It was done, and is still done, by many of the game’s greatest players including Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson and Gary Player, not a bad list I think you’ll agree?
However, it’s popularity has diminished. Modern superstars like Tiger Woods have led the way with new athletic swings within which the left heel stays glued to the ground.
One reason Tiger and hundreds of other top modern professionals no longer need to lift the left heel is that they can complete a full turn in the backswing without it.
However, if you can’t complete a full turn with the left heel planted on the ground allowing it to rise could help many different aspects of the swing.
If you cannot complete a full backswing (the left shoulder turning underneath the chin so your back faces the target) whilst the left heel is planted on the ground you could have a lack of flexibility in your hips and lower back.
However, like all medicine you have to measure the dose. Too much lifting of the heel can result in an over rotation and a loss of coil.
Make sure there is still some flex in the right knee.
Lifting the left heel off the ground during the backswing could enable a bigger turn but it can’t stay off the ground during the downswing.
You can however use it to your advantage.
By planting the left heel into the ground to trigger the downswing you can help the lower body become active and turn the hips through impact.
To quote Tom Watson: “It's critical you replant the heel in its original position during the transition to the downswing. That's a function of the hip turn reversing its rotation. At the finish, the heel should be back where it started.”
Peter Finch coaches at Trafford Golf Centre in Manchester.
To book a £35 hour assessment lesson call 0161 749 7000 or click here.
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