It’s frustrating when you hit a great drive and then chunk an iron from the middle of the fairway. With one lousy swing, your mind-set goes from Birdie time! to Don’t make a double-bogey.
Most poor contact comes from not getting off the back foot on the downswing. A lot of golfers rush the club down from the top and “throw” it at the ball instead of building momentum from the ground up. When the weight stays back, the club usually hits behind the ball.
Your first move down should be shifting to your front foot, followed by your lower body turning towards the target. Then comes your upper body, your arms and, finally, the club.
In the correct photo here [above left], my right foot is coming off the ground, which proves I’m shifting forward. My body and the club are moving in sync. In the fault photo, my right foot is still down because my weight has stayed on my back foot. My body has stalled, and the club flipped past me. Fat shot, here I come.
So shift to your front side and keep turning. Remind yourself to swing through the ball, not at it.
Here’s a great way to pre-set the proper weight shift on the downswing. Lay a wedge on the ground, clubface down, and take your stance with your back foot on the clubhead. That’ll angle your foot inward. Using a middle iron, hit some balls, half-swings at first. You’ll quickly get the feel for starting with more weight on your front side and shifting it there on the downswing.
– Butch Harmon is at Rio Secco Golf Club in Henderson, Nevada