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Augusta Hacker

Left foot during the backswing

14 posts in this topic

I have always been told and read that your left foot should stay grounded during the backswing. However, I hit the more consistently with good power when the heel comes off the ground. I think it is also a good initiator of the downswing because I put the heel back in the ground hard and turn around my left leg.

My question is, am I doing any harm to my swing consistency by doing this? Should I put in the range time to eliminate it? I find that I try it on the course and I get wild.....I go to lifting the heel and it helps. I figure that why fix it if it ain't broke but teachers have to teach this for a reason....
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Hello Agusta Hacker,

Keeping the left heel on the ground during the back swing will promote three things that I can think of.

1) Stability. Because both feet are grounded, you'll have a larger base.

2) Repeatability. You won't have to replant your heel during the downswing and try to place it in the same spot as it was at address.

3) Increased back swing coil. You'll feel more stretch up your left side with a planted left heel. This will give you additional spring back on the downswing.


Lifting the left heel up will help with the following:

1) The amount of back swing turn when you have limited flexibility.

2) Downswing and lower torso forward weight shift initiator.

3) Hip rotation, especially the left hip clearing room for arms after impact.

4) Posting/snapping the left leg.


So, it all depends on what's comfortable and what suits you.
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Hello Agusta Hacker,

I certainly agree with eatmybologna's post, although I would recommend learning to keep that foot down. I feel by lifting the foot you may develop a tendency to sway your lower body or open your hips too much. You create coil by minimizing your hip turn and maximizing your shoulder turn. By lifting up your foot, i feel it is difficult to keep your lower body quiet, and therefore robbing you of consistency and power.

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I used to lift my left heel a lot, but my spine angle was all over the place (heel comes up, spine comes down) so my consistency was bad. I then read Hogan's Five Lessons and he says he had found similar results, but a bit of heel lift is okay. At least I think that's what he said.
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Bubba Watson lifts his up (right foot for lefty)...and he's pretty damn good. I don't think there is really a "right" way...if you are consistent with lifting it up, you should be fine...
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It's okay to let it go up an inch or so, but not too much. Don't even think about it... if your hips lift your foot up, fine... if they let it stay on the ground, fine.
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I keep my left foot on the ground with the weight transfered to the inside of the foot. I read and seen pictures of Jack Nicklaus lifting his left foot on his backswing and it did not hurt Jack game.
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Thanks for the replies.....makes me feel better and I won't have that thought in my backswing anymore...lol.
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Most of the time (pros not included), left heel up means too much sway to the right - lower body is not very quite.
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Bobby Jones always lifted his left heel way off the ground. Worked for him, but I've always heard it was something he had to do in order to get the performance he needed out of that era's equipment. Supposedly with today's equipment it's better to have a more stable foundation for the backswing. As I kid I used to step up off my left heel in the backswing, and it was something I was able to use effectively, but today I don't do that anymore. It does give you an easy way to commence the downswing: step down on that left heel, fire your hips, and then bring the shoulders and arms into play.
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I have always been told and read that your left foot should stay grounded during the backswing. However, I hit the more consistently with good power when the heel comes off the ground. I think it is also a good initiator of the downswing because I put the heel back in the ground hard and turn around my left leg.

Eatmybologna provided some good positives and negatives for each.

Chief Broom is right when he says Bobby Jones raised his front heel, and ks8829 is right that Jack Nickalus did it as well. Of the modern players Phil Mickelson is the most successful with the heel rising. My opinion is that it is an unnecessary move. The rasing may require you to spend more time practicing (to stay consistent) then you otherwise might need to, and it may lead to a swing that requires more effort then you might otherwise need to put into each swing. If you don't bring the foot down the same way each and every time your balance, swing, and contact are going to vary. (When you loose balance you may also leak potential power). Many instructors will tell you it is ok if it is pulled up during the swing, but if you are conciously lifting it then that can lead to bigger problems. Since you mentioned you feel you get more power with it rising that may be an indication that your stance may be too wide (hindering your ability to rotate). If you lack consistency from shot to shot, hole to hole, and round to round then I recommend trying a narrower stance (Sergio Garica's stance width may be a good model for you). I would advise working to quiet down the foot lifting if you seek long term improvement, or you don't play too often.
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yeh i lift mine too..doesent seem to hurt my swing so i think it really comes down to personal preference...
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your left foot situation seems to allow you to tempo your swing well...which is nice.

however, yea really are going to lose a whole lot of power. you lose a lot of torque by allowing your hips to open up like that...and it seems that it is enabled by lifting your foot.

The idea is to try to keep your belt buckle pointing in the same direction that it is pointing at address until before impact, where your hips open, while still rotating your shoulders. Of course that is is an ideal ...and naturally you'll have to allow your hips to turn a little unless you have tiger's athleticism. However, you dont want your belt buckle to point behind you during the backswing.
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