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Should Your Left Leg be Straight at Impact?

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should your left leg be straight at impact?
should your left leg be straight at impact?
Published: 17 February 2024
Written By Ifrah Tanveer

Reviewed by Saba khan

Facts checked by Zafar Mehmood


Are you curious about golf’s subtleties? Let us discuss a frequently asked question: should your left leg be straight at impact? Understanding how your leg placement affects your swing and overall shot quality will be the main topic of this discussion. We will look into this to find out how it can help you do better on the course. let’s  explore whether or not this little nuance can really improve your golf game. 

Why is Locking the Front knee a Flaw?

“Locking up the front knee” is a golf swing flaw that happens when your left leg gets increasingly straighter during the downswing. This error is apparent if your left leg is totally straight and does not bend at the knee when you make contact with the ball. It is not advised to use this strategy. A more efficient swing keeps the left knee slightly bent at the point of contact with the ball.

To put it another way, your small knee bend at the start of your stance should mainly stay the same during your swing—that is, until the ball is struck. Your left foot should be the primary place of weight shift during the swing, so that your left leg can straighten only after you have made contact with the ball.

Problems with Setting Your Leading Knee Straight

A serious issue arises when you straighten your leading knee—that is, your left knee—during impact because it interferes with your hips’ natural movement.

Your hips should normally rotate smoothly and with little lateral movement. On the other hand, your hips tend to move to the left leg when you straighten your left leg at the point of impact. This shift promotes excessive leftward rotation in addition to pulling your hips to the left.

Shots frequently curve from left to right as a result of the difficulty in stopping the club from swinging in an outside-to-inside trajectory. An outside-in path of the club makes it more difficult for you to hit shots that are precisely in line with the target, even though at first glance this might not seem like a big deal.

What to Do When Your Front Knee Locks Up at Impact

Should your left leg be straight at impact?
Should your left leg be straight at impact? 2

Keeping Your Head Position Stable

Maintaining a steady head position is a crucial strategy to address the issue of locking your left knee at impact. At the top of the swing, it is more challenging to learn how to keep the left knee from locking at impact than the right, but it is still very important. One important way to do this is to pay attention to your head position, which gives you indirect control over how your legs move.

The idea is to maintain your head in the same position both vertically and horizontally during the swing, or to keep it “in the box.” You can greatly improve your chances of keeping your left knee bent throughout the swing by concentrating on keeping your head in its original spatial position.

This method works well because raising your hips and straightening your left knee will naturally raise your head. Your hips are indirectly encouraged to remain in their vertical position when you focus on keeping your head still, and this helps keep your knees from locking up.

Preventing Your Leading Knee from Locking at Impact

It can be slightly more difficult to keep your left knee from straightening at impact than it is to keep your right knee from locking at the top of your swing. Still, it is a crucial step in honing your swing. Keeping an eye on your head’s movement, which serves as a barometer for the motion of your legs, is a helpful way to accomplish this.

Try to keep your head as still as possible, moving only a small amount in both the vertical and horizontal directions. By practicing this, you will have a much better chance of keeping your left knee slightly bent during the entire swing.

This makes sense because your hips rise when you straighten your left leg, and your head rises as a result. On the other hand, if you focus on keeping your head still, your hips will probably stay in that position as well, which will help keep your knees from locking.

Thus, you can improve the overall quality of your ball striking as well as the mechanics of your leg movement by concentrating on the stability of your head.

Preventing Your Trailing Knee from Locking

It is important to keep your right knee locked at the top of your backswing and your left knee locked at impact when you swing your golf club. The achievement of a smooth and efficient swing depends on this discipline.

Benefits of Maintaining Knee Flexibility

Maintaining a constant bend in your knees from the first setup to the impact will help you develop an inside, square, and inside swing path. Unlike locking any knee, this method keeps the hip and shoulder angles constant, which helps the body follow this perfect swing path.

Your hips and shoulders will rotate excessively to the right if you lock your right knee during the backswing. This causes your swing to move inside too much, which often causes shots to veer right.

On the other hand, locking your left knee during the downswing causes your hips and shoulders to rotate excessively to the left. As a result, shots often veer to the left due to an outside swing path. It is critical to avoid locking your knees and maintain flexibility for better shots.

During the backswing, your hips and shoulders should rotate gradually to the right, and during the downswing, to the left. Locking one knee causes your hips and shoulders to not align properly, which makes it difficult to avoid swinging too much inside or outside of your body.

You can improve your performance by creating a more fluid and efficient swing path that goes from inside to square and back inside by keeping your knee bend constant.

Using Your Legs to Improve Your Golf Game: Techniques Adapted from Arnold Palmer

Lifting the Left Heel

Arnold Palmer was a master of the contentious backswing technique of elevating the left heel. Lifting the left heel can cause excessive lateral movement in the head and chest for a lot of amateur golfers, which makes it more difficult to make consistent contact with the ball.

Nonetheless, it may be advantageous to elevate the left heel if doing so improves the way the hips and chest rotate during the backswing. To prevent erratic shots, it is important to make sure that the head stays relatively stable over the ball while doing this.

Pressing Down on the Left Heel

Palmer stressed the importance of pressing the left heel down to begin the downswing. This should be a purposeful “stomp” or push into the ground, similar to how many elite players do it, usually right before their backswing is finished. This acts as the catalyst for the downturn.

The Power Squat

Palmer’s legs spread wider apart during his downswing, giving the impression that he was squatting. Golfers who practice this technique frequently swing back while holding a ball between their legs and drop it as they begin their downswing. This “power squat” guarantees improved body coordination, which results in more reliable and forceful shots.


To sum up, perfecting these fundamental skills is crucial to improving your golf swing. Maintaining a flexible knee, avoiding locking during the swing, and using deliberate foot movements all help to create a more powerful and steady swing path.

If you use these tips carefully and persistently in your practice, you can significantly raise your playing level. With the knowledge you have gained from this article, head out onto the fairway with renewed confidence and watch your game develop, swing by swing. Accept the challenge of becoming a better player and relish the satisfying feeling of raising your game.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Is it advisable to have my left leg straight at the moment of impact in golf?

No, having your left leg entirely straight at the point of impact is usually not a good idea. For improved balance and control during your swing, it is advised to maintain a small bend in your left knee. Less consistent shots can result from straightening the leg, which can interfere with hip movement and the swing path.

How does keeping a slight bend in my left knee affect my golf swing?

Keeping your left knee slightly bent aids in lower body stabilization and ensures appropriate hip rotation and alignment. In addition to helping to maintain an efficient inside-square-inside swing path and lowering the possibility of erratic shots, this position permits a more powerful and controlled swing.

What are the consequences of straightening my left leg at impact?

A straight left leg at impact can lead to a number of problems. It may result in an incorrect hip turn, which would pull the hips to the left and produce an imbalance. This movement can lead to an outside-to-inside swing path, which frequently results in shots curving from left to right. It can also make it difficult to hit precise, straight shots.

Muhammad Zafar