Golf balance at setup is one of the most misunderstood golf swing fundamentals. It stems from the idea of trying to compare golf to other athletic sports such as baseball or basketball. Golf instructors often ask their students to balance on the balls of their feet because that's how a short stop would setup in an "athletic ready" position in baseball. On the surface, this concept of balance in the golf swing makes sense - but there's a problem.
Think about the requirements for a short stop in baseball. What is it that he needs to be able to do? Well, one of the primary requirements for his balanced position is that he needs to be able to move in any direction at any time - he doesn't know what direction he's going to need to move at a moment's notice.
Baseball vs. Golf Balanced Setup
Now, let's get back to golfer's setup position. What are the requirements for the golfer setting up to the ball? Well, in golf, where are you "going"? Unlike a baseball player or basketball player, you're trying to stay still! You're trying diligently to NOT move all over the place. You're trying to stay centered and minimize moving parts while rotating around your spine.
So, tell me, how do those requirements and those of a baseball short stop match up, what do they have in common? Absolutely nothing. You see, when you look at the golf swing and its fundamentals objectively in the way that RotarySwing does, fundamentals become very black and white. It becomes easy to refute common golf misconceptions and myths that have been around for decades.
Golf DOES have Fundamentals for Balance at Setup
The fundamentals for a properly balanced setup position in golf have nothing to do with baseball for two primary reasons. The first, we've already discussed that we're trying to NOT move anywhere in the golf swing. The second is that baseball, basketball and football are missing one other key component - centripetal force.
The golf swing is rotational in nature - hence the name I came up with for my teaching methodology - RotarySwing. When rotation is involved, centripetal force is at its core and the resulting centrifugal force. Centrifugal force is a "false" force but it can be simply understood as the act of the golf club wanting to fly away from your rotating body if you were to let it go during the swing (a lot like John Daly did during the 2015 PGA Championship!)
As long as you don't let go of the golf club, it is actively pulling on your body with the force of around 100 pounds with a driver swung at pro level club head speeds. That's a LOT of force trying to pull you toward the ball and most importantly - off balance.
Because this force is very powerful, it is critical that your golf setup and balance be in such a way that you can fight against this force. If you setup with your weight on the balls of your feet, imagine how easy it would be for you to be pulled off balance during the downswing if you didn't actively move back to your ankles at some point. Most golfers struggle with dynamic motion and so if they start out on the balls of their feet, they tend to stay there and even be pulled out over to the toes during the downswing and this is what causes people to stumble after they hit the ball.
The simple fix: setup where true balance really is! The golf swing becomes much easier to repeat when you setup balanced correctly an in such a way that allows you to fight the centrifugal forces during the swing. To get a better understanding what proper weight distribution and balance is in the golf setup, check out this video on setup:
Once you understand golf balance at setup, watch my video called 5 Minutes to the Perfect Golf Setup that will help you master getting into a proper setup position every time and it will give you a step by step routine to make sure you're in perfect balance every time!