Analyzing Patrick Reed’s Footwork

Oct 13, 2018 | Golf, Insights, PGA Tour Data

Masters champion Patrick Reed has some of the most interesting footwork in professional golf.

Much like fellow bombers Bubba Watson, JB Holmes and Justin Thomas, Reed – ranked 20th on TOUR in clubhead speed – generates tremendous power from his lower body which is accentuated by dynamic ground mechanics.

Watch Patrick Reed’s feet at impact.

In addition to the unique “clearing” action, notice that at impact there is almost no pressure on Reed’s lead foot. This is a common move in power hitters. Even though his center of mass is moving toward the target, his center of pressure is moving back to his trail leg. The concept of center of mass and center of pressure moving in opposite directions was outlined by Sasho Mackenzie and Mark Blackburn in this month’s Golf Magazine. Take a look at this quote:

As big hitters near impact, the force under their front foot swells until the left side of the body has no choice but to “jump” up in response. (The left foot of some bombers actually leaves the ground.) This drops the pressure under their front side to near zero, shifting the CoP to the back foot. The sudden increase in pressure under the back foot allows the player to push his CoM toward the target, just like we’ve all been taught.

This is a concept that is often confused when considering center of pressure in the swing, but it’s critical to understanding ground mechanics, especially of big hitters.

Many observers are in awe that golfers like Reed, Watson, Holmes and Johnny Miller are able to maintain relative consistency with such active feet.  In a 2014 analysis of Reed for the PGA TOUR, instructor Mark Immelman noted how this move may actually be helping Reed achieve maximum rotation and optimal launch conditions.

The movement of Reed’s left foot, which rotates open and then jumps backward a little definitely appears to be the product of his hip rotation — which is pronounced — as well the fact that his weight transfer moves forward on the way down and then a little backward as he rotates into his follow-through, – writes Immelman.

He continues,- Obviously the rotation of his core is important but the slight backward movement of Patrick Reed’s lead foot keeps his upper body more behind the ball through impact and this body positioning in leads to a more ascending strike. Hitting the driver with a less descending strike is a sure-fire way to launch it higher and this, coupled with less spin, is a guaranteed recipe for extra power.

This may seem like a drastic measure for a few more MPH and several hundred less RPM, but it works for Reed.

It may have also be related to a physical limitation of Reed’s.  During a Konica Minolta Swing Vision segment of Reed on Sunday’s CBS broadcast, Peter Kostis guessed that the move with Reed’s left foot may be necessitated by an immobile ankle.  Ultimately, it’s a move that capitalizes on his natural athleticism and physical tools, which is something every golfer should aspire to do.