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For a Golf Swing With Power, Get Away From the Sway

A sway in golf is too much lateral movement away from the ball with the lower body during the backswing, and it results in a major loss of power and poor ball-striking.

When a golfer sways during the backswing, the right hip, right leg and right knee move to the outside of the trail foot, making it very difficult to efficiently transfer energy through impact and to the lead side.

A sway is often the result of not understanding the concept of loading during the backswing. The loading during the backswing is not laterally shifting weight by moving body mass away from the ball during the backswing and body mass toward the target on the downswing.

Excessive shifting of movement does not create more power, and it makes it very difficult to time and deliver the club consistently to impact while compromising club path and face angle, assisting in wayward shots.

The proper loading and unloading in the golf swing is about applying pressure and unloading pressure in the feet. Use ground forces to create and deliver power. When you rotate our upper body or pivot around a stable right side and right leg during the backswing, you should feel your right foot load into ground, applying more pressure.

By preventing the sway, you are now able to store this energy and be ready to unload or transfer this energy more efficiently and in the proper sequence of the downswing.

There are several drills to help prevent the sway. The oldest trick in the book in to stand on three golf balls on the outside of the right foot. Rotate the club to the top of the backswing and feel the pressure on the inside of the right foot and leg, creating a stable right side. (Make sure you do this on grass.)

A better drill to help fire the muscles necessary to prevent a sway is to have a partner wrap a resistance band around your waist and stand behind you. The resistance band should be pulling you in the direction of the sway. You can also tie this band to a door if no one is available to assist you. As your partner is creating resistance, rotate and pivot to the top of your backswing, and you will feel your legs, core and glutes engage, creating the necessary stability to prevent the sway.

Hey, we all like to sway while singing Sweet Caroline at a Red Sox game. In golf, though, limit the sway and you will create more power efficiently during the downswing and improve ball striking. It’s a win-win.

Peter Harris is director of golf at the Fore-U Golf Center in West Lebanon. His column will appear regularly on the VALLEY NEWS recreation page during the playing season.