I can show you a swing clip of a long-hitting (formerly named) Buy.com/Nationwide/Web.com (now Korn Ferry Tour) player who averaged 339.3 yards off the tee in 2003, and the comments regarding his footwork are very interesting.
Here below is a drive from Victor Schwamkrug, and you can hear very plainly what the announcers thought of his “flying foot” move through the ball with the leading foot:
The funny thing is that Victor’s ankle-roll wasn’t going to break it – that move was preserving his ankle from snapping, which is what would have happened if he didn’t actually jump and roll that leading foot.
I guess it was the advent of “flying foot” and ankle-rolling Jordan Spieth who made it suddenly a good thing to do when he burst onto the scene 10 years later and won some majors with essentially the same move, and keep an eye on that right foot anchor:
At the time I first heard of him and saw Jordan Spieth swing, as a top amateur and just before he turned pro, all I could look at was that front foot, and I wasn’t a fan.
Then along came Justin Thomas, again with the right foot anchor:
It isn’t even so much a swing flaw in itself, the twisting “flying foot,” you’ll all know that I’ve been saying for some time – it is the compensation that results from the actual swing flaw of failing to get off the trailing foot (the toe of the right shoe is literally anchored to the ground), and the only way to prevent serious injury is to have the leading foot fly up and twist around to the finish.
Here is Patrick Reed below doing the same thing, and as you can see, there’s no way to finish the hip turn to the end of the swing if the trailing foot is nailed to the ground… just as you can’t walk keeping the trailing foot nailed to the ground:
I first began to hear this nonsense around the time the Golf Channel bought and took control of the World Long Drive Championship, and with nearly every swinger, I kept hearing this “jumping for power and lift” garbage, to the point I stopped watching the WLD telecasts.
Now however, the cue has been given and taken up so that you hear and read it everywhere, even being recommended as something to do!
As I’ve said many times, it is my suspicion that all of the announcers now praising the “flying foot” as something that is “using the ground” to get “vertical lift” comes from one or two of the following:
- They have no idea why this is happening, so they’re making this stuff up from whole cloth to cover that they have no idea why it’s happening or
- They know darned well it’s a compensation, but as with everything else in modern golf, you’re being bamboozled to believe that it’s somehow a positive thing
Meanwhile, just 16 short years ago, a guy who was averaging 339.3 yards off the tee on the Web.com was giving TV announcers nightmares with that front foot action.
I can show you more – here is Patrick Rodgers with the same thing going on, and watch that right toe dug in for dear life:
It doesn’t matter if it’s a full flying foot jump or a twist of the foot on the ankle or heel, or both – it’s the same thing causing it.
Here’s how you eliminate that – by releasing the right foot to finish on the left foot, the way Ben Hogan (among others) did:
Look at how wide Hogan’s stance was, yet no jumping or twisting leading foot because he allowed the trailing foot to “short-stop slide,” as I’ve called the move for years.
Here’s Mike Dunaway, the father of modern long-drive, releasing that trailing foot as well:
How about Greg Norman, widely considered to be the greatest driver with a persimmon club ever:
So, considering that there is no scientific evidence that this move is a power or speed or attack angle booster, the question has to be asked:
What on earth happened between 2003 and now for this to be something that is actually encouraged and praised?
My two guesses, you already know.
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