Nelly Korda is putting together what is probably the best golf year of all professional players in 2021. She has won three of the last four individual tournaments she has participated in. One of them was her first major championship win at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. She won Olympic gold just this morning. The number one in the world has taken their game to a new level and given us so much to admire with every swing.
One of the coolest aspects of Korda’s swing is her footwork. Of course, this makes sense due to her father’s sportiness. Petr Korda is Nelly’s father and tennis major champion. He won the Australian Open and once reached number 2 in the world rankings in men’s tennis. Tennis players have tremendous footwork and balance. It makes sense, considering Nelly’s swing, she hits the ball in perfect balance.
A real test of a golfer’s footwork is on uneven surfaces. Check out this clip from their KPMG win in June. Watch as she hits the ball perfectly in the pine straw.
Notice how stable your front foot is and how fully the trail foot drives the momentum. Any golfer can achieve this look with just a little practice and attention.
The next time you go to the practice range, do not wear golf shoes. Wear a pair of running or training sneakers. Go through your usual warm up and loosen up. Once you’re loose and ready to take full turns, take out a long iron or hybrid. Take a couple of full swings and be careful with what your feet are doing.
It is difficult to take successful long-range shots off the pitch. It requires a good connection to the ground. Your shoes have little or no traction. For a tougher test, try this on damp grass or an exercise field mat. Are your feet slipping? How is their movement? The goal is to create a specific look at the completion of your swing.
The front foot should be flat on the ground and the trail foot should be vertical.
Copy Nelly’s form for reference. It sounds very simple, but there are two amazing swing keys that you can train with one great flick of the foot.
When the forefoot is firmly in place, you have achieved a decent weight shift in your swing.
When the trail foot is a controlled vertical that shows the right balance.
Make a note of where your sneaker feet are and get to work. Sneakers or flat-soled shoes are key because without added traction, you will really experience what your feet are doing below. If your front foot is not firmly seated after impact, start working on your weight transfer. Bring more weight into the guide leg earlier in your transition. You can accomplish this by focusing on your front foot drive the moment you switch from the back swing to the forward swing. Most players pull down on the handle at this point. Instead of clutching the racket, move your weight through your feet.
The rear foot tends to twist out. This is a clear sign that you are trying to regain balance in your follow-through. Make it a priority to get that foot perpendicular to your target position. This goal complements your weight shift. Give that trail-walking purpose on the downturn. In this transition moment, push yourself off and point your heel towards the sky. Do that and your weight will shift and your swing will be better balanced.
Our connection to the ground is often overlooked in the golf swing. Spend a little time building a consistent, powerful swing from the ground up. Put those feet in these goal positions and your golden game will be similar to that of our new Olympic Champion Nelly Korda!