As I strive to learn more about the golf swing and ultimately help my students play better, I often turn to my golf pro friends through my social media connections. Whether it is one of the many groups that I am in on Facebook or my favorite way to exchange ideas,Twitter.com. So I was curious about what everyone thought about FOOT FLARE or the positioning of the feet at address and how it impacted a golfers swing. As I write this post I will tell you that I don’t have all the answers but experience and reasearch have their place because I can tell you what has worked for me as I will give you my opinion on this subject and give you some options that might help. But I want to share with you first what my colleagues answered when I posed the question: How much foot flare (with both feet) do you teach and feel is important and why? Here is what I got:
@golfgurutv OK back to original question. Trail foot square lead foot flair towards target.
So it seems that most are in favor of some foot flare. 10 to 30 degrees seems to be the consensus on the front foot. The back foot seemas to be mixed a bit.Some want it square and some flared. So here is how I see it. I would love to hear from more coaches and players with their opinions as I am just trying to learn what is the best way for the player. From my experience:
1. One of the most consistent swing errors that I see is the trail hip moving lateral in the backswing (sometimes even moving the weight to the outside of the rear shoe). This can cause you to limit your shoulder rotation and throw off your timing and sequence in the downswing. It often happens when the player is trying to keep their hips still (X Factor). With a limited shoulder turn, your hands/arms and the club cannot get deep (more behind you) enough to have a chance to returning the club on plane or from the inside without a huge plane shift.
2. Secondly, I see so many golfers that have been drilled into their heads the importance of turning through the downswing that they don’t have enough lateral slide toward to target to allow the hands/arms club shaft to drop to the inside enough. They spin the body, keep their weight back too long and end up cutting across the ball. I call these players, “BACK SIDED SPIN DOCTORS”
So how will foot flare help these problems and why?
I would suspect that it has a lot to do with knee, hip and ankle mobility for sure so this should be checked. I work with som many golfers that have had knee and ankle injuries and foot positioning is crucial for these folks.
RIGHT FOOT FLARE: Angling your rear foot out 10 to 20 degrees will increase your ability to extend your rear leg and rotate your hips more. More hip rotation will increase your shoulder rotation. If you don’t think you turn your shoulders enough, check this and you will see what i mean. The right knee will change flexion on the backswing. Look at any good player and you will see this. I didn’t say straighten but change, very important. If you try to keep your right knee flexed and don’t let your hips turn……Unless you are extremely hypermobile….I would expect you to shoot somewhere in the low 200’s.
SQUARE FOOT: You will see golfers with this back foot position and you can do it if you have good hip/knee/ankle mobility. It is easier to roll to the outside of your rear foot with your weight in this position so be careful.
LEAD FOOT FLARE:Probably the most important foot position in the golf swing: Teachers like Mac O’Grady
and many others have spoken of the importance of left foot flare. So what benefit will you have by flaring your foot 10-30 degrees.
1. It allows for the hips to slide laterally longer in the downswing which slows down the shoulder rotation (keeps you spin doctors at bay). This allows time to drop the club to the inside much easier. So If you are a cut across slicer, you probably need more slide and less turn for sure.
2. It takes pressure off of the left knee as it allows the knee to get over or slightly outside the ankle joint before starting to straighten (or post)……Does Tiger Woods come to mind? His new more centered pivot requires more hip and knee slide toward the target which is easier on his bad knee…hmmmm? And he has more foot flare as well. Less injury to the knees and ankles can’t be bad, right?
BOTH FEET FLARED = DUCK STANCE (best of both worlds)
I see so many of my students that start with a square lead foot and pick it up and turn their toes toward the target and wonder why….Because it should have been there to begin with.
When you are watching football this weekend, pay close attention to the position of the place kickers lead foot and how that affects his ability to slide forward, swing his leg from the inside and turn his hips through the strike.
Ok, so that’s my take on foot flare. Would love to hear what you think as I am trying to learn and the more I look at players on the PGA tour the more different everyone looks so we need to make some sense of it all. Until then…..