Why one famous coach says 90 percent of golfers should swing with their feet together

July 30, 2019

I go down some pretty intense instruction rabbit holes from time to time, mostly in a desperate search for answers about my own game. Last week, I came across a rather interesting exchange in the U.K. magazine Today’s Golfer. Pete Cowen, Henrik Stenson’s longtime coach and Brooks Koepka’s short game coach, dished on one of his favorite drills.

The story began with Cowen espousing the importance of balance in the golf swing, noting that golfers should be able to hold their followthrough for 20 seconds. Cowen, in Today’s Golfer:

“I always say, don’t swing to stay in balance, swing in balance.

“If you watch someone who hits it down the middle all the time, they swing within themselves, finish perfectly in balance and can hold that position for 20 seconds. Most golfers can’t do that because their mechanics aren’t good enough.”

Which led to an even more interesting idea: That “90 percent” of golfers would benefit from making full swings with their feet together. Swinging with your feet together forces your weight into a more stable spot, similar to the one-footed putting drill we wrote about recently, improves the bottom of their arc, and only results in a slight loss of distance.

“90 percent of players would be better playing with their feet together. Why? Because they will turn around a more consistent centre, and so the bottom of the arc will be more consistent as well. Plus, they will only lose 10 per cent of their usual distance. Research has proved that.”

Even if players don’t go all in on playing that way, it’s a drill Cowen has espoused for years, writing about it in a 2010 edition of Golf International Mag.

“Hitting balls with your feet together is a simple and effective drill that helps you to harmonise the swinging of the arms with the rotation of your body. The key is to focus on these balance points and keep them all working together for the good of the swing. Another benefit of this drill is that it encourages you to keep your knee and chin levels constant throughout, which is important.

“Give it a try next time you are at the range. Just try hitting a few sets of 10 balls with a 7-iron (I’d always suggest playing the ball off a tee-peg to get you going) and then go back to hitting balls normally (i.e. with a regular stance) to see the difference as you improve your balance and the harmony between arms and body. Try and maintain this balanced feel in your full swing to build consistency and control.

So give it a try and see if it works. If you need a visual reference, here’s a GOLF.com model illustrating the technique.