GOLF: How The Right Leg Works In The Golf Swing

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How The Right Leg Works In The Golf Swing

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Let’s talk about how the right leg works during the downswing.

At set up, there's a small amount of flex in the right leg and the right knee. I like to see the kneecaps towards the balls of the feet or sort of the edges of your shoelaces or where your toes meet your foot. I don't want the right leg to be super straight at address where the knees are in the middle of your foot, nor super bent at address where it's way over your toes.

Almost all of the good players will straighten their right leg a little bit as they turn back from the address position. Whatever amount of flex they have to start with, they will lose some of that when they go back.

There are two main functions straightening the right leg serve during the backswing. The biggest thing it is correlated with is the amount of pelvis turn. When I make a backswing, if I lose the most amount of flex or straighten my leg the most that allows my pelvis to turn the most.

Typically the more you turn your hips, the more you can turn your chest and shoulder and you have a bigger backswing turn. Why do I want to have bigger backswing turn? Well, I can produce more speed from there, I can get my arms deeper from there, and I'm going to typically hit the ball better from there. So, if I straighten my leg more, probably better golf is the result.

So, I have a bend of the knees over the balls of the feet at address. Weight in the feet is at the balls of the foot. As I make my backswing, I'm losing some flex. The weight in my foot is not all the way on the balls of my feet. It's more towards the middle of my arches. The right hip is higher than the left at the top of the backswing. In transition, I want to re-flex my leg basically back to where it started, maybe even a little bit more forward as I'm turning.
During my downswing, I'm reflexing then I'm feeling my quad and my kneecap are both going to start to turn towards the target. I'm pushing off of my right foot from about last parallel into the follow through.

Check out the swing analysis at the end of the video of Adam Scott, Hideki Matsuyama, Jordan Speith and Justin Thomas. I walk you through each one showing you what I just talked about here so you can see that these really good players are doing these same things with their right leg and swing (and we should be, too!)

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JDK K says:

Interesting Ernie Els swing thought regarding the right knee was to not move it at all during the backswing. I think it was to prevent him from over swinging. That comment was when he was very flexible

Yi Gu says:

Would the hand path and upper body movement affect the rght knee and leg action, meaning improper upper body motion messing up the lower body? I always got my hands stuck too deep and too late so my right leg can not be flexed in the right sequence timing.

David Theobald says:

Do you happen to have a front facing view of the right leg action at address? I'm curious to see where your right knee is when flexed at address (ie: inside your right insole or over top the foot directly)? I tend to find when i maintain knee flex with the right knee 'kicked in' slightly i'm more stable and hit better shots. Not sure if that is correct, though.

David Theobald says:

I never thought about the re-flexing of the right knee during transition. I suppose without that you would early extend right?

Ace Golfman says:

Liked I like it. My irons were always slicing 10 yards to the right., or sometimes I would pull them. Had trouble figuring this out, would roll the wrists down more but this also causes more inconsistency imo. Straighten right leg ….and now I pure my irons straight

MrBleedk says:

When are u gonna make a course vlog (could be VERY instructional)… and if u need a camera guy, I would be happy to help u out 😀

Justin Springer says:

This body part specific breakdown is immensely helpful for creating my own feels

Mark Lucey says:

A pro golfer friend of mine just pointed out to me that my trail hip comes forward towards the ball (early extend) in my backswing :((  Who early extends in the BACKSWING??? Unfortunately this causes lots of problems for me in the downswing, especially continued early extension / stand up / flip hands or push etc. Any ideas on how to sort this out folks? Anyone feel the trail hip move Straight back 90 degrees from the ball-target line and lead knee thus move straight out towards the ball target line in their backswing? How about keep trail toes OFF the ground in the backswing…worth trying?

Ronald Morris says:

Another great video that will certainly help my swing. I've been struggling to make a full shoulder turn without moving my weight to the outside of my right foot. I accepted this as the result of aging. However, now I understand that I can't make a full shoulder turn because I keep my right knee flexed, which kept my hips from turning fully, and hence the restricted shoulder turn. Just made a few practice swings straightening my right leg. Low and behold a full shoulder turn! My swing feels centered and for the first time and I feel all kinds of pressure inside my right leg and hip. Thank you! It's great to have a better understanding of the swing vs a bunch of quick fixes.

Kwame Browner says:

Eric I’m out of
DC and would love to setup a two day package with you for lesson’s! How do I get connected and book a two day?!? You are money and I’m in need of a few one on one instruction!
Thanks again and keep up the great tutelage ⛳️??‍♂️

Doug Janchik says:

Eric is one of the few on YouTube that’s any good. Most is garbage. A+++ for Eric. Always great info!

Peter Romão says:

Was on the range earlier today and recorded about 80 swings dtl. Still suffering from early extension and having a huge difficulty getting rid of that. What I noticed from the recorded vids though is that I think this early extension is coming from straightening my right leg too much. In the majority of my downswings, later into the movement, I find that I do not have enough time to get back to the initial position of the right knee and when I push off the right foot my right hip is dragging my rotation axis' base out to right of the target line. No matter how hard I try to ingrain the (exaggerated) feel of pushing my left hip left and back from the target I can't seem to avoid this dropping forward of the whole body, like I was almost falling on top of the ball. Does this make any sense, this tight correlation between the right leg straightening and early extension by throwing the hips towards the ball? I'm a 20 HCP and when this happens my shots tend to hook or draw too far left because of the compensation I'm trying to execute to get a clean impact.
P.S. found and subscribed your channel not long ago and when I reviewed my swings I spotted this right leg business and said to self: maybe Eric's got something on the right leg? And wham! Here it is. Great channel and huge quality of focused information. Keep up the good work. +1 bump on the front view of this movement.


When analysing your swing do you have the camera in line with the hips or something else

Harold Pohoresky says:

After all these years I am finally making some sense about the right knee movements and when to push off the right foot. There was so much misinformation out there that was wrong plain and simple on this topic and I might add very harmful. Many instructors have argued to keep the flex on the backswing and not straighten and to push off the right foot on the downswing never saying when. I use to and still out of bad habit push off way too early from the top not knowing any better. Your instruction on the topic has numerous benefits including dramatic increase in club head speed through the ball. Excellent video and keep up the good work.

Thank you again Eric. I know many of my friends think golf videos of this sort and in general are harmful and give-up watching them. Your videos have led me to may more new insights and interests in the golf swing..

stryker2828 says:

a lot clearer now on role of right knee. thanks Eric! can you do a video on role of right shoiulder, especially on the downswing, sometime in the near future? thanks!

Karen Schneider says:

Could you also discuss/show how the right leg is moving from the face on view to give a more 3 dimensional idea of how it works?

Ernesto Lupercio says:

I always have a tendency to lift my right heel too early on my down swing

Robert Moore says:

Excellent. Have been working on my knee positions during the swing at the range. This video will help me a lot. Will start using it today practicing at my range. Bob Myrtle Beach.

Ian Robertshaw says:

So… it’s off to the range I go. I’ve commented before on how much these latest instructional videos have been life changing for my game. I often wondered how the pro golfers were (according to the pundits) pulling a wedge out from 160yds out. I mean who hits a wedge that far or further… But I’ve got to tell you that although I’m not “there” yet I can now comfortably pull a 9 iron from that distance rather than thinking about a 6 or 7 iron which was the case before. For me, it’s all about the minimal, small gains I’m getting from watching, following and most importantly practicing the tips. I admit I’m a fanatic and that I can easily hit 150 to 200 balls in a session, and that practice session can be four hours in total all one the latest tip. HOWEVER, the point of the epically long comment is to tell everyone watching Eric, this stuff really, really works. I’m adding 10’s of yards on every single club and have gone from an average of 4 pars per round to an average of 11. Watch the videos, practice as often as you can, take the small gains from every tip and get revitalised about golf just like I have.

The Weekend Hack says:

Excellent and informative video. Really enjoyed it

Topbloke Golf Vlogs says:

Reflex by dura duran is in my bloody head now

Martin Ball says:

Great video but in very low resolution, info outstanding though

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