Getting a Leg Up on your Competition
The images above are of me making a swing with my right leg off
the ground. I usually do this drill when performing golf exhibitions
around the world….people get a kick out of it thinking it’s a trick
shot. It really isn’t so much a trick shot as it showcases the
importance of staying balanced and having a good solid foundation on
which to support your swing.
When you lift your leg off the ground
(left or right) you’re activating the body to stabilize itself. When
trying this exercise for the first time it will become immediately
apparent if you have too much lateral motion in your swing…. or what
is commonly called ‘swaying’. You’ll probably lose balance going back
and won’t be able to make a complete swing.
Another scenario would be picking the club up too abruptly,
taking it back to the outside or too steep on the backswing, as this
will draw you off balance as well.
The beauty of this exercise is you can’t cheat it. Once you come
to the realization of making some improper moves, you’ll soon come to
see the benefits are plentiful.
First, by having the leg raised slightly off the ground when
setting up, allow the club to go back on its natural inside path on
the takeaway…you will see and feel that you’re automatically going
to maintain balance. You’re not fighting the laws of physics now so
the club head can make its way on the correct swing plane relative to
your particular physical build.
Secondly, in this case the left leg provides a solid fixed
foundation that makes it stay flexed and braced, instead of locking or
straightening up. This is critical because if the left leg locks up
this will throw the entire body off kilter and you’ll be like a wobbly
wheel out of control. Having the left leg flexed on your initial setup
is one of the essential keys for success in pulling off this drill.
Checkout my left leg on my setup. You can’t see how much my knee’
flex because of my pants, but I promise it’s there.
Next, by hitting shots on one leg it will help to limit or
slightly restrict you from getting too long in the backswing or what’s
The downswing is where the dividends of discipline of this drill
pays off. The photo on the right is my follow-through and when done
properly you should be able to finish in perfect balance long after
the ball has left your clubface. The shoulders will remain more
passive because you’re in balance and this will allow the arms to whip
the club head through the impact area with lightning speed. This, in
turn, translates into powerful shots. By not allowing the left leg to
lock up going back you’ve created a spring, governing the lower body,
to create a dynamic pulling effect on the downswing. This helps to
keep the left hip from prematurely spinning out and assists in
maintaining the correct degree of balance in the swing.
You can alternate legs when practicing and will notice quickly
which leg is easier to stay balanced on throughout the entire swing. I
would spend more time practicing on the weaker leg to build strength
which we become a real asset in the long run.
Usually, when you first start to make swings on one leg you’re
going to top the ball or miss it completely. Don’t get discouraged
just relax a little and slow your swing down and practice making
swings in slow motion without trying to hit a ball at all. This will
allow your natural athletic instincts to take over.
Swinging on one leg will help you feel how your arms must swing
around the body instead of trying to lift the club up and down. You
play great golf by feel, and you learn feel through the proper motion.
Golf is a game of fluid movements, not a series of abrupt actions.
Finally, I believe you’ll come to enjoy practicing this
particular drill. Who knows how often, but in the coming year you will
probably be faced with an assortment of awkward shots on the course
and be forced to hit your ball using an off balance approach. After
you put some time in hitting balls on one leg, I don’t think anything
or anyone is going to intimidate you anymore in the coming year.