I want to touch on the lower body movements in the swing today.
Rule No. 1: The weight must be kept on the insides of both feet throughout the swing until the complete finish. The most common error I see is on the back swing when the golfer lets his weight go over to the outside of the back foot, thereby losing all the coil potential. If this happens, the golfer almost always will start the down swing with his shoulders since he has lost any ability to use his legs to start the forward movement.
Just try throwing a ball with your weight on the outside of your back foot. It will be difficult at best to make the necessary stride forward for maximum power.
You can practice putting a golf ball under the outside of your back foot until you can get the feeling of a braced right side. Also keep your back leg knee flexed all throughout the back swing. Ben Hogan shows a diagram in his book where he holds the shaft of a club against his back leg and makes his turn retaining that angle.
Your feet should stay on the ground on the back swing as much as possible given your individual abilities. In any case, roll your ankles inward going back and forth to increase your balance and stability.
I am sure you have heard the phrase, "hit against a firm left side." What exactly does that mean? I believe you must keep the weight on the inside of your front foot when turning forward on the through swing. You see this action better in the swings of the women professionals. They even hop up on their front foot at impact. That would be impossible to do if they let their weight roll over to the outside.
A good practice for this, that you can do even in your own yard, is to get two shafts and place them in the ground, angled as your legs are at address. Then simply turn back and forth, without a club at first, feeling the weight on the insides of your feet.
Hogan said the back swing is for storing power and the forward swing must be started from the ground up. Now who am I to argue with the greatest ball striker of all time?
A player's ball strikes a tree and it ends up on the teeing ground of the hole he is playing. He presses down some grass behind his ball. Ruling?
Answer to last column's teaser:
A bunker is between the player's ball and the hole. He walks through the bunker to remove a rake. Upon returning to his ball he smooths the sand in the bunker, returning it to its original condition. Ruling? Two-stroke penalty.
John Lucas is the professional at SkyRidge Golf Course and can be reached at email@example.com.