A golf swing with too much leg drive will typically see a golfer aggressively thrust forward with the hips and lower body coming into impact with a ‘reverse c’ body shape.
Many great golfers throughout the history of the game have used a powerful leg drive through the ball, such as Jack Nicklaus. However, better technology and new coaching techniques have allowed golfers to quieten the low body through impact leading to more consistent ball striking.
People tend to drive their legs through the ball to generate a greater amount of power or because their lower body has been unstable during the back swing. However, better distance can be achieved by simply rotating the lower body through the down swing and more consistency accomplished by keeping the lower body stable.
There are a number of different ways to help limit the amount of leg drive seen during the down swing; here are a number of ways you can practice to stop it from happening.
If the legs and hips rotate too much during the back swing they could also become too active during the through swing. To help keep them stable during the back swing, the hips, knees and feet should be kept as stable as possible; as the club travels back away from the ball, the hips and knees will turn slightly but the less the better.
One way to help build a solid base during the back swing is to practice hitting balls at a driving range with a soccer ball pinched in between the knees. Keeping the ball held in between the knees during the back swing and down swing will limit the amount of twisting and turning the lower body can achieve. It will help quieten the lower body and allow you to hit more consistent shots.
If the lower body has remained solid during the back swing and you have turned up to a full position at the top of the swing, you need to begin to rotate the lower body towards the target. A rotation of the lower body will see a slight lateral move towards the target and then a turn of the hips. Players who struggle with a large leg drive will see a big lateral move and a smaller amount of hip turn. To help encourage a turn rather than a big lateral leg drive, players can practice hitting shots with a tall box or bag resting just outside of their left hip at address. If players can turn through the shot with the hips avoiding the box, they will have turned without a huge leg drive.
Players of yesteryear used a big powerful leg drive to great effect but there are easier and more effective ways for you to swing the club using modern technology and new coaching knowledge.