A Foley Teaching Drill: Lose the Shoes
By Stephanie Wei under PGA Tour

O'Hair's feet firmly planted on the ground

When I wandered over to the range at Harbour Town Golf Links this afternoon, I noticed an intriguing sight. You’ll often see guys, particularly Vijay, tinkering with various swing aids and gadgets, but I’d never seen this before — a shoeless and sockless Sean O’Hair, who had his trousers rolled up a few inches, was working with his swing instructor Sean Foley. The theory behind the drill?

Foley explained that hitting balls barefoot triggers the proprio receptors in O’Hair’s feet, getting him into a more dynamic arch. In other words, O’Hair was working on his balance and stability.

“When he gets spread out, it puts the weight to where he’s going to be in the safest and from there, all the mechanoreceptors in the feet, which are receiving the mechanics, (cause) the legs to fire better, gluts fire better, quads fire better, better stability,” explained Foley.

“So once you get into shoes, it’s almost like you’ve got a cast on. Without the shoes, it works on balance and helps with the sequence because if you go at it too hard, you don’t have anything to keep you there except your own feet, so it’s like your feet almost start gripping the ground, which is one of the most important within the kinetics aspects — being able to grip the ground to be rooted, it’s much easier to fire that way.”

Got that?

Foley tries to get all his students to lose their shoes. At least he asks them (even if it’s not always their favorite drill).

“But it always helps when they forget their golf shoes at home,” he added with a grin.

(AP Photo/Dave Martin)