What you can learn from an NFL kicker to boost your golf game

November 17, 2019

The Big Four — MLB, NFL, NBA AND NHL — are stocked with natural talent. They have their share of on-course ballers, too. Makes sense. Athletic moves across all sports show up in the golf swing.

You hear it a lot in coaching circles: Swing like an athlete. It’s an okay line. I don’t love it — it hints that athleticism lives in realms outside of golf, and we know that’s not true. It’s also a little vague, as if conjuring the image of a sports hero can magically transform your motion. It works, however, when you think about singular athletic skills. Applying what major-leaguers practice every day to help them throw harder, jump higher, kick more powerfully or swing faster will certainly make you a better golfer.

Here’s what you can learn from an NFL kicker to boost your game.


How it works: We all like to beat up on them when they miss, but NFL placekickers use mechanics that can assist your swing more than all other gridiron positions combined. It’s in the way they run up to the ball (from off to the side to generate both linear and rotational force), then plant their non-kicking leg into the turf, a sudden deceleration that shoots energy back up the body and whips the kicking leg through the ball at max speed.

Getty Images

It’s the same deceleration/acceleration pattern seen in Tour players, in which stabilizing the lead leg in the downswing sends energy from the body to the club — and swing speed off the charts.

Compare the photos of Brooks Koepka and Titans PK Ryan Succop above — they’re carbon copies. Important: The plant happens without the knees or hips moving outside the lead foot.

How to groove it: When you’re making swings on the range, feel like you’re “light” over your left foot on the backswing and “heavy” over it as you start back down to the ball.

Here’s a test to see if you’ve got it right: If you’re tearing up grass under your left foot to the point that would make the super cry, you’re planting aggressively enough.

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