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Cure For Inactive Legs

By: Bob Burns

Golf Professional

Inactive legs are one of the basic flaws of the average high handicapper's game. The golfer tends to hit with the hands and arms, leaving the lower half of the body stiff and useless. Logically enough, because of the inactive lower body the golfer is forced to pull the club inside on the downswing with a sweeping motion of the right shoulder, arm, and hand. This causes the right shoulder to cut across the intended line of flight at impact and the right hand gains control of the club causing a slice!

Because the shoulders are moving horizontally or around the downswing, the swing plane is "out-to-in." This motion imparts a clockwise spin to the ball which makes it fly from left to right. The slicer is therefore programmed by habit or muscle memory to swing with hands and arms. 

The cure must result from a swing that is returning the club face square to the intended line of flight, repetitiously inside out!

Initiating the downswing with a cross-lateral shift, or thrust, of the hips and legs helps you return the club head to the ball on a path that runs from inside to along your target line. It makes you feel as if you are swinging the club under, instead of around, your hips. It forces your head and shoulders to stay back of the ball, as they should, instead of swaying left toward the target. This move prevents "hitting from the top." It delays the release of the wrists until the last second, so that the golfer can obtain maximum club head speed during impact rather than before. 

The lower-lateral shift is relatively simple to perfect with practice. To feel how your legs and hips should work in the golf swing, hit some shots using the following procedure:

1. Keep the knees flexed slightly at address so that the lower body may be active during the swing. 

2. Weight should be distributed between the ball and heel of each foot, with slightly more weight toward the balls of your feet if lower body action is desired. 

3. The lower body turn should start early in the back swing in unison with the movement of the hands and the coiling of the shoulders. 

4. The motion of the knees should always be in action during the swing, with the left moving and the right moving toward the left on the downswing. 

5. The lower half of the body should initiate the downswing by thrusting laterally toward the target. 

6. Lateral leg thrust action will be more effective if the hands are swing well above the right shoulder on the back swing and the left shoulder on the follow through. The lower-lateral leg thrust method will allow you to generate maximum club head speed during impact by the utilization of your body weight transfer. 

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