Optimize your distance by discovering the proper weight shift. Here’s how

Welcome to Shaving Strokes, a new GOLF.com series in which we’re sharing improvements, learnings and takeaways from amateur golfers just like you — including some of the speed bumps and challenges they faced along the way.

Whether you’re a beginner golfer or someone who’s been playing for decades, we all know that it’s important to shift your weight in the golf swing. But the issue many beginners have is when to shift to maximize their ball-striking ability — and for how long.

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A rule to follow is to keep your weight generally centered, then apply about 60% pressure on your trail foot during the backswing before transitioning about 70% to your lead foot.

Making things a bit more tricky, this should all happen prior to your hands getting back down about waist high.

Yeah, golf is hard. So if you’re struggling with shifting your weight, don’t be discouraged; just practice this feel as much as possible.

One way to do so is by following the drill in the video above, which is demonstrated by GOLF Teacher to Watch Jake Thurm.

Use this drill to shift your weight and maximize distance

In the video, Thurm says that he has “no problem with the beginning level golfer who pretty much turns around on a single axis and stays on the lead side.”

However, for players looking to increase their distance, “we need to learn how to shift in our swing,” he adds.

This is where Thurm says using two alignment sticks (available here) can come in handy.

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“I’ve got an alignment rod on my trail hip, about an inch outside of it. And I’ve got another alignment rod about 2-3 inches [from my hip] in front,” Thurm says. “The key to shifting mass is that you do it quickly, not continually.

“From section 1 to section 2 here, I’m going to go right into [the back] alignment rod, and I’m going to load my right hip. To some extent, the lateral motion is done anywhere from the shaft parallel to the ground to the lead arm parallel to the ground. That’s where I’m now going to start to go in the other direction.”

The images below show Thurm’s instruction.

When doing this drill, make sure you’re paying attention to when your trail side is hitting the alignment stick. As it touches it, that’s your cue to rotate, distributing your weight forward toward the lead foot.

“So I’m going to shift into [the back] hip like this, and then I’m going to go like this [shifting weight forward] as I complete my backswing,” Thurm says.

“There’s a crossroads, where I’m moving forward into my lead side, and feeling this [front] alignment stick. So if you’re going to hit the ball the farthest, you’ll need to load both sides of the body. The key is when and where — so shift mass quickly, not continually.”

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Nick Dimengo

Golf.com Editor