Whether senior golfers should let their left heel lift during their golf swing is really a question of flexibility.

Should Senior Golfers Let Their Left Heel Lift During Their Golf Swing

The initial answer to this question is no, you should not let your left heel lift during your golf swing. Keeping your left heel on the floor, especially during your backswing, will create maximum torque, or twist, within your body and it is this torque that helps you generate power and therefore distance to your golf shots. Keeping your left heel on the floor restricts the amount of turn you are able to achieve in your hips during your backswing. If you are able to rotate your shoulders and upper body to 90 degrees to the right of their starting position (for right handed golfers) whilst keeping your left heel on the ground, then your hips will only rotate 45 degrees to the right of their starting position and you will produce a coil within your body, or torque, during your backswing. When you release this coil on your downswing, you will produce maximum club head speed and hit long golf shots.

However, if you are unable to effectively rotate your shoulders and upper body when you keep your left heel on the floor then this will cause you several problems.

Your golf swing requires a rotational movement in your body to be effective. If you are unable to rotate your upper body during your swing, you will tend to lift your arms up and pick the club up during your backswing, rather than making a turning action. This will reduce the power that you are able to produce, but furthermore, it will also make it difficult to swing the club head on the inside of the target line. The club head will remain much closer to the target line if you lift your arms up rather than turn your shoulders and as a result, you will make an 'over the top' action on your downswing where the club head moves over the top of your hands and travels to the outside of the target line.

As a result of this, you will now need to pull the club head towards the ball and across the target line as you strike the ball, making it difficult to hit straight golf shots. Turning your upper body on your backswing allows you to keep the club head on the inside of the target line and as a result, you are able to swing the club head back down the target line to the golf ball as you strike it. Keeping the club face aiming down the target line now means you will produce a straight shot.

If you are struggling to rotate your upper body well, then allowing your left heel to lift up during your backswing will allow your hips to turn more and therefore your upper body will turn more. However, if you are able to rotate your upper body well without lifting your left heel up then keep your left heel on the floor to create maximum power and hit your furthest golf shots.

Should Golfers Let Their Left Heel Lift During Their Golf Swing?

Should Golfers Let Their Left Heel Lift During Their Golf Swing?

The position of the left heel during the golf swing is one of the most controversial points among golf instructors. If you were to ask five different instructors about what the left heel should be doing during the swing, you would be likely to get five different answers. Should the heel be allowed to come up, or should it stay down on the ground? When should it come up, if it does? There is a lot to talk about here, and it is easy for the average player to get confused by the conversation.

In this article, we are going to tackle this tricky topic. Should you allow your left heel to come off the ground as you swing the club? The answer is, as you might have guessed, that it depends. For some golfers, letting the left heel come up is a great way to improve the rotation of the swing while adding an element of timing as well. On the other hand, some players will be better served to leave that heel down and make the swing as simple as possible. It is our goal to help you determine which path is best for you and your game.

Often, when trying to decide how to swing the club, amateur golfers will turn to professional golfers as an example. What do the pros do? This is a good way to think about improving your game, as professional golfers are obviously a great example of how to play the game at a high level. Unfortunately, looking in this direction for help is only going to lead to more confusion on this topic. For instance, consider two of the greatest professional golfers of all time – Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods. Mr. Nicklaus allowed his left heel to come off the ground during the swing, and he is perhaps the single greatest player the game has ever known. Of course, Mr. Woods uses just the opposite technique. The left heel stays down flat in his swing, and his accomplishments speak for themselves. Obviously, it is possible to play this game successfully with either method.

As you can see, there is no right or wrong answer here. Since both options can work, it all comes down to what makes the most sense for you on a personal level. By the time you are finished reading this article, we hope you will have a better understanding of the pros and cons of letting the left heel come up. With that information in mind, you can make a confident choice as to how you are going to proceed with your game.

All of the content below is based on a right-handed golfer. If you happen to play left-handed, please take a moment to reverse the directions as necessary.

The Benefits

The Benefits

When you start thinking about adding a new move to your golf swing – or simply keeping a move in your swing instead of getting rid of it – it is important to know what you will be gaining as a result. After all, if there is no benefit to a given move, there is no reason to have it present in your swing. The best golf swings are as simple as possible, so you always want to focus on only keeping elements which are going to lead to positive outcomes.

The following list will highlight some of the potential benefits to be enjoyed when you let your left heel come off the ground. It is important to note that not all golfers will experience these benefits. You'll have to try the move out for yourself before you can determine exactly what it does for your swing.

  • Increase your turn. Most golfers who decide to let their left heel come up in the backswing do so because they want to make a bigger turn. If you are committed to keeping your left heel down, you will need tremendous flexibility in order to turn fully away from the target. Lifting that left heel can make it easier to turn back, as you will be taking some of the pressure off of your lower back. You don't necessarily have to make a big turn to hit solid shots, but it certainly doesn't hurt. If you feel like your backswing limitations are holding you back as a golfer, it just might be that letting your left heel come up will unlock your ball striking potential.
  • Build in a natural timing mechanism. Developing reliable timing in your golf swing can be difficult. Many amateur players struggle to get into a good rhythm swing after swing, using one tempo on one shot and a different tempo for the next. The rhythm that is added by having your heel come up and fall back down is a nice way to time out the swing consistently. Many golfers use the heel falling back down to the ground as a trigger to start turning toward the target. You can think of the heel going down as the first move you make in the downswing – once that heel drops, you can turn the rest of your lower body toward the target and fire away.
  • Control your body weight properly. Poor balance is a big problem among amateur golfers. If you tend to lose control of your weight in one direction or another, lifting your heel may actually help this issue. Specifically, it can help you correct your balance if you are struggling with a reverse pivot. A reverse pivot is a move where the body weight shifts toward the target during the backswing, and then away from the target in the downswing. That is not how you want your body to work while swinging the club. Rather, you want to stay nicely centered on the way back before turning aggressively toward the target on the way down. Balance is crucial in golf, as making even a slight mistake with your body weight can make it hard to strike the ball cleanly. By letting your left heel come off the ground in the backswing, you can be confident that you aren't drifting toward the target by accident. This will encourage your weight to stay in the right place going back, and you'll be ready at the top of the swing to move down aggressively into the ball.

Make no mistake – simply allowing your left heel to come off the ground is not going to magically fix everything about your golf swing. What it can do, however, is help to put your body in the right places to facilitate a clean strike. If you struggle with your rotation, your timing, or your balance, you might find some benefit to the act of letting your left heel come up.

The important thing here is to think about your swing technique and decide for yourself if this is something which will take you in the right direction. Are the problems we have described things that can be improved in your game? Or are you already doing well with regard to timing, balance, and rotation? Be honest with yourself and make a decision whether or not you are going to proceed with this concept.

Going Forward

Going Forward

In this section, we are going to assume that you have decided to allow your left heel to come off the ground during the swing. If that is not the case, there is not much reason to read on.

When you are ready to start practicing this move, you'll want to head to the driving range with your set of clubs and a bucket of practice balls. It is a good idea to start out using a relatively short club, just to keep the swings as simple as possible. Once you start to get the hand of letting your heel come up, you can move on to longer and longer clubs.

Follow the steps below to hit your first shots with your left heel coming off the ground.

  • Before making any swings, you want to get set just as you would for any other shots in your practice session. That means you should have a specific target in mind for the shot, and you should work through your pre-shot routine as usual. Success in golf is all about the details, so never fall for the temptation to take any shortcuts along the way.
  • With your target picked out and your stance all set, it will be time to swing away. At the start, this swing is going to be the same as any other. You want to keep your hands quiet in the takeaway while you turn away from the target gradually. Don't rush just to get up to the point where you can let your heel come off the ground – take your time and let the swing develop at a comfortable pace.
  • As the backswing continues up toward the top, you are going to reach a point where it feels like your left heel will want to come off the ground. Instead of forcing yourself to hold it down – as you have probably done up until now – just let it come up. It is important to note that you aren't going to be forcing it up off the ground in an intentional act. Instead, you are just going to be letting it leave the ground naturally as a result of the turning force of your swing. The swing will never work properly if you force the heel to leave the turf, so don't think that way. Make your turn away from the target as usual, and simply let your heel come up when it wants to do so.
  • Once your heel has left the turf, you can finish the backswing and get ready to head down toward impact. As was mentioned earlier in the article, this is a great time to use the elevated heel to your advantage. When the backswing is complete, move your heel back down into the ground as your first move toward the target. This action is going to start everything else in motion.
  • As soon as that heel hits the ground, your downswing will be in progress and you shouldn't do anything to hold it back. Uncoil your body toward the target, let the club rip through the hitting area, and turn all the way into a full finish. Feel free to hit as many balls as you like with this new type of swing, and pay attention to the results as you go. As your confidence improved, experiment with a variety of clubs in your bag.

At first, this type of golf swing is going to feel awkward – at best. If you have never before allowed your heel to come up during the golf swing, you will feel uncomfortable with the motion and you probably won't hit very many good shots. That's okay. It takes time to get comfortable with a new technique, so don't give up just because you get off to a bad start. Instead, be consistent with your effort and maintain a positive attitude. Before long, those uncomfortable feelings will wear off and you'll be able to see some of the benefits of this technique start to shine through.