Nelly Korda is putting together arguably the best year in golf of any professional player in 2021. She has won three of the last four individual tournaments she has competed in. One of those was her first major championship victory at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. Just this morning she collected Olympic Gold. The number one player in the world has taken her game to another level and given us so much to admire with each swing.
One of the coolest aspects of Korda’s swing is her footwork. Of course, this makes sense due in large fact to her father’s athleticism. Petr Korda is Nelly’s father and tennis major champion. He won the Australian Open and reached the #2 ranking in the world at one point in men’s tennis. Tennis players have tremendous footwork and balance. It’s logical when you look at Nelly’s swing, she strikes the ball in perfect balance.
A true test of a golfer’s footwork comes on uneven surfaces. Look at this clip from her KPMG victory back in June. Watch as she places a perfect strike on the ball in pine straw.
Notice how her front foot is stable and trail foot works with complete purpose driving the swing. Every golfer can accomplish this look with just a little practice and attention.
The next time you head to the practice range, don’t wear your golf shoes. Wear a pair of running or workout sneakers. Go through your usual warm up and get loose. Once loose and ready to make full swings, take a long iron or hybrid out. Make a couple full swings and pay attention to what your feet are doing.
Hitting successful long shots off the turf is difficult. It requires a great connection to the ground. Your shoes will have little or no traction. For a tougher test try this on damp grass or practice range mat. Do your feet slide? What is their movement like? The goal is to create a specific look at the completion of your swing.
The front foot should be flat on the ground and your trail foot should be vertical.
For reference, copy Nelly’s form. It sounds very simple, but there are two amazing swing keys you can train by having great foot action.
When the front foot is firmly planted, you have achieved a proper weight shift in the swing.
If the trail foot is a controlled vertical, this shows proper balance.
Make a note of where your sneaker feet are and get to work. Sneakers or flat-soled shoes are key because without extra traction you’ll really experience what your feet are doing down below. If the front foot isn’t firmly planted post-impact, start working on your weight shift. Drive more weight into that lead leg earlier in your transition. You can accomplish this by focusing on your front foot drive at the moment you switch from your backswing to forward swing. Most players pull the handle down at this point. Instead of clutching the club, move your weight through your feet.
The back foot tends to spin out. This is a clear sign of trying to regain balance in your follow-through. Make it a priority to get that foot vertical in your finish position. This goal is complimentary to your weight shift. Give that trail foot purpose in the downswing. Push off in that transition moment and point that heel toward 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. Get those feet into those goal positions and your golden game will resemble that of our new Olympic Champion, Nelly Korda!