A golfer’s feet remain planted throughout the swing – they’re supposed to, anyway – so what does it mean to “move off the ball”?
The term refers to excess lateral motion above the feet, particularly with the upper body. In fact, it’s often called “swaying” because the golfer appears to slide or tilt sideways as he swings.
Is it a good thing, or a bad thing? Usually, it’s bad. Let’s look at the backswing. The right-handed golfer who sways to the right will typically fail to rotate his shoulders sufficiently; he’ll then struggle to transfer weight to the left on the downswing and follow-through. The result: weak shots that slice or squirt to the right.
There are exceptions, of course. Two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange swings with a pronounced lateral movement of his upper body away from the ball. Rory McIroy’s sway is less pronounced than Strange’s, but still outside the norm for a professional.
How do these greats get away with it? Their weight never shifts beyond the inside of the right foot on the backswing. This prevents them from losing the powerful coil between hips and shoulders, and allows them to shift easily to the left in the downswing.
Exceptions aside, most golfers are better off staying centered over the ball with only a small amount of side-to-side movement.
Watch this video to eliminate the sway from your swing: