Golf Swing Follow Through
Golf is a sport of strange meticulousness. It requires certain muscles of your body that you never thought existed. In your journey to master a proper golf swing, you’ll get familiar with those muscles.
Among the various parts of the golf swing, certain elements play more important than others. The follow through is one of them. Unfortunately, it’s one of the most overlooked aspects of the sport as well. Many players think that the job is done as soon as they make contact with the golf ball.
The reality is different. And in today’s post, we’re going to explore why it’s different and where you might be going wrong with your golf swing follow through.
What is a Golf Swing Follow Through?
First of all, what is it? How does it work? Is this a motion or a position during the swing?
Well, different instructors have defined golf swing follow throughs in different ways. Generally, the follow through is the last part of your swing where you extend your arms and rotate your body toward the target to see the ball flying away.
According to many experts, the follow through is the position about 1 foot in front of the golf ball after impact. In this position, the club shaft and your leading arm should be in a line pointing to the ground.
Then there are other instructors who define the follow through to be when the club is almost parallel with the ground at about the waist height.
You might be thinking, what’s there to create separate content about it, right? It’s a simple motion that comes automatically to the players.
No. The follow through is just as important as the backswing or the downswing when it comes to golf. The wrong follow through can tremendously change your handicap without you even realizing it.
Why is the Golf Swing Follow Through Important?
Before you realize the importance of follow through, you need to understand what happens in a golf swing. Ideally, we can break down the swing into three different parts. The backswing, the downswing, and the follow through.
During the backswing, you square your club face to the target and rotate your upper body and lower body in the opposite direction of the target.
Then the swing transition happens and you change the direction of the club.
The club comes down with sheer force to impact the ball at your desired angle. But what happens then? Does the ball fly out immediately with no further contact with the club face? Is your swing ended? Can you expect a low handicap at this point?
The answer to all these questions is no. You’ve only completed two-third of the equation. The last section is the follow through.
If you manage to slow down one of your swings where you can distinguish different moments, you’ll notice that the ball is in contact with the club face for quite some time. You won’t feel anything in real-time. But when you’ll slow it down, you’ll notice a real difference.
What does it tell you?
It tells you that the direction you swing your club after the impact has a huge influence on your ball flight. If you forcefully stop at the impact and don’t follow through, you’ll be leaving huge amounts of power on the table.
This is an area where the majority of the rookie players go wrong. They think making contact with the ball is enough. They let the body take over and lose their balance mid-swing. Which is never the ideal case.
So, let’s find out how you can achieve the perfect golf swing follow through.
The Perfect Roadmap to Follow Through
Keep one principal relation between your follow through and your score in mind. At your preferred follow through point between the two we’ve talked about, the less the distance between the bottom of the grip and your shoulder is, the higher your handicap will be.
The opposite is true for low handicappers. Their arms are extended as much as possible. This simple factor has the greatest impact on your golf swing and final ball flight.
Another important part is that the club shaft and your lead arm must be on the same line. There shouldn’t be any visible angle between the two. From a distance, it should look like that the golf club is an extension of your arm.
With these things out of the way, let’s find out how you can achieve the perfect follow through to improve your score and become a better player in a very short time.
After you’ve hit the ball, your body should still be rotating. Both the shoulders and the hips, without rotating your legs. In the beginning, this motion will put a lot of strain on your leg joints and muscles but you need to power through that.
After you hit the ball, you need to keep rotating your body while keeping the arms as much extended as possible. You need to stop when your waist and shoulders are perfectly square with the target. That’s when you can fold the arms to let the club fly to the back of your head.
Maintaining the balance through this motion is crucial. Unless you’re confident that you can stand in this posture for as long as you want, you’re not doing the follow through correctly.
Of course, we don’t mean that you need to stand like that for extended periods. It’ll cramp your ankles. It’s a figure of speech.
The Weight on the Lead Foot
When you’re at the position we’ve talked about in the previous section, almost all of your body’s weight should be on your lead foot. That’s the left foot for right-handed players. It should feel like you’re standing on the outskirts of your feet.
As for the trailing foot, or the right foot in this case, the heel should lift off the ground while putting the rest of the body’s weight on the toes while turning simultaneously. The good thing is that you don’t have to practice this move. It’ll come naturally as the result of your posture.
There’s no exact way to calculate the weight distribution on the feet. But we can ideally say that about 90% of your body’s weight should be on your lead foot while the rest of the 10% should be resting on your trailing foot.
Shifting the weight happens during the transition. If you’ve been keeping the weight evenly distributed throughout your swing, the core of your swing is at fault. You need to get that fixed before you can work on your golf swing follow through.
If you’re not sure how to get the proper swing transition, you can get a quick read of the helpful guide we’ve created dedicated to the entire concept of transition.
When you initially set up for the swing, your body had a slight bend at the waist. Your knees were slightly flexed to generate as much power as possible from the ground, right?
At the follow through, your body and legs should be straight as an arrow. We’ve already mentioned that your entire body except for the feet needs to face the target. There can’t be any bends anywhere in the body. You need to stand straight with your eyes locked on the target.
At the final position, the club will be behind your head with your arms folded. One great thing about this posture is whether your shot was good or bad, you’ll look pretty good in the eyes of the fellow golfers!
Mistakes People Make All the Time
We’ve already said once that the golf swing follow through is a very underrated topic for discussion. Even for some seasonal veterans!
So, it’s only normal that players make all kinds of mistakes when they’re at the course. In this section of our post, we’re going to look at some of those mistakes.
Weight Shift on the Back Foot
It’s common for many beginners to shift the weight to the back foot immediately after the impact. It almost comes as a natural response. They try to get away from the line of impact after hitting the ball.
In reality, you shouldn’t be moving your weight around at all. The weight should be shifted to the lead foot at the beginning of the downswing and you need to keep it that way, for the entire swing.
When you subconsciously shift your weight to the back foot, you’re unknowingly disrupting your balance. It’s the balance that you worked so hard to achieve.
The bottom line is, don’t let any of your weight get back to the back foot. The only way to do it is to lift the heel of the trailing foot off the ground while rotating the leg on the toe with the rest of the body.
Movement in the Front Foot
It’s another common response for newbies. They tend to move their front foot after hitting the ball to regain their balance. You cannot do that.
Your front foot, or the lead foot if you want to call it, should be firmly anchored to the ground throughout the backswing, the downswing, and the follow through. All you need to do is rotate your legs so that you’re resting weight on the outside of the foot.
This is one of the most overlooked mistakes in the course and it can cost you a lot of points. Because by changing your feet position, you’re effectively changing the club face angle at the divot. And it can result in all kinds of strange ball flights.
Club Not Aligned with the Lead Arm
This is probably the most crucial message from this post. Your club shaft should always be in perfect alignment with your lead arm. The lead arm must be fully extended as well. We see players try to flick the ball by moving their wrists which ultimately disrupts the angle.
You should be never trying to add power to your swing by flicking your wrist. Because remember, the power of a golf shot doesn’t come from the wrists or the arm. It’s generated from the ground and then conveyed through your legs, your shoulders, and your arms.
Another result of not keeping the club shaft aligned is the fold in elbows. When you change the club shaft angle, you’ll naturally fold your elbows to make room for the movement. That’s how you reduce the distance between the bottom of the grip and your shoulder. And that’s exactly how you end up with a high handicap.
Some Drills to Help Your Follow Through
If you’ve read the post so far, you should be aware of the things that you need to focus on. At this point, we’re going to help you with some drill ideas. They will help you get the momentum right on your swing and also help you pinpoint the discrepancies.
The Arm Alignment Drill
This drill is designed to tackle the most important point of your follow through. The angle between the shaft and your lead arm. There should be none! And you need to make sure of it by actively trying to eliminate any bends.
- Get into stance with your club.
- Hit an imaginary ball and stop about a foot in front of the ball. Consider it as your follow through point.
- Now, try to point to the ground by extending your arms all the way.
- Do the same by lifting the club a little more and pointing the club to the target.
The Baseball Drill
If you’re into baseball as well, this is going to be a very fun drill for you. The idea behind this one is the weight distribution between the feet and holding the weight on the lead foot.
- Get a baseball and go to an open field. You may also do it at home with no baseball as well.
- Throw the ball as you would. But feel the shift of weight between your feet.
- Hold the final position when the weight is on your front foot. It’ll help you build the muscle for when you’ll hit the course later on.
The Top Tap
It’s a fun one as well and an extension of the weight distribution drill. You need to focus on the movement of your back foot and try to tap it after impact to check whether your balance is right or not.
- Hit a few shots from stance.
- Try to tap your toe on the ground three times.
- If you’re doing it right, you should be able to tap it effortlessly.
- If it feels like you’ll lose the balance, many there’s something wrong with the swing.
- Keep practicing until you become swift and well balanced.
To become a better golf player, you must give proper attention to every aspect of the sport. Among many other things, we often overlook the importance of a proper golf swing follow through.
In this post, we’ve tried to shed some light on the lesser discussed portion of the swing. From now on, we can hope that your scores will improve because you’ll become a pro at follow through.
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