Golf is one of the most widely played sports around the globe with over 24 million Americans alone playing on a regular basis. Getting yourself kitted out with a set of clubs a bag and some balls is an expensive task even at the entry-level end of the market, with a decent set of clubs costing hundreds of dollars. As such you may be tempted to save some money on other areas of your golfing attire – namely shoes.
You may even ask yourself, do golf shoes help my game? Or do they just make me look like a pro? Well, let’s take a look if a good set of golf shoes will help you play a better game. First and foremost, and without stealing my thunder, the answer is a definite Yes!
A golf swing is nothing more complicated than a turning motion from front to back (why is it so difficult then?). In order for all the mental and physical factors to come together to create the perfect swing and hit the ball, it’s important that your feet are secure to the ground. A good scenario would be to think of a cyclist descending a hill. If they didn’t have a good set of tires that gripped the road, would they be able to make a suitable turn around the corner at speed? Your golf shoes are the connection between your body and the floor.
As such, they play a vital role in the flow of your golf swing, perfecting your swing from the ground up. An essential part of a good golf swing is weight transfer. As you bring the club back and turn your body back, raising the club in the air, the weight will transfer to the inside of your rear foot. As you then begin the downward swing and your body starts to rotate and the weight will begin to shift from your back foot in a forward motion.
Once you have hit the ball and your stroke action follows through the ball, your weight transfers back to the front foot. It is essential when you are making this motion that your feet are supported and are firmly planted on the ground, with a quality set of golf shoes. Imagine trying to do that in your favorite pair of sneakers without spikes and foot support. I’m sure you will hit the ball, but I guarantee you won’t hit it correctly.
A good quality golf shoe is designed explicitly for stability, balance and improved flexibility during the swing. This will prevent any slipping and sliding during the swing ensuring better, more accurate contact with the ball.
Let’s take a look at a few of the essentials to look out for in a good golf shoe.
Unlike regular sneakers, golf shoes tend to have a much larger sole with a broader footplate. This ensures the golfer can maintain an even balance across their feet when stationary. Regular sneakers or athletic shoes tend to be narrower to allow for a more extensive range of movement when running and turning.
Golf shoes need to be flexible to accommodate the varying terrain that you may find yourself standing in, to get the perfect swing. Golf courses tend to be hilly with uneven terrain, so it is essential that you are wearing shoes that give good flexibility and underfoot stability. Most golf shoes have built-in stabilizers across the foot arches which help prevent the foot from moving left or right when not required in the swing.
All golf shoes also will have some form of spike to help grip the ground and provide a more stable base. The conditions that you are playing in, will determine your preference for long spikes or molded shorts spikes.
An average standard golfer will find themself walking around 6 miles when playing an 18-hole golf course. It is essential that you have a pair of shoes that are comfortable as you could easily be walking for 4 hours or more. It is also crucial that your shoes are made of waterproof and breathable fabrics to keep your feet dry in both warm and wet weather.
It is clear to see that a good quality pair of golf shoes will help improve your golf game. It is preferable that you try on several pairs to find shoes that are supportive and comfortable for you. This will allow you to get the maximum benefit from your shoes and the most enjoyment from your game.
One of the age-old debates is whether you want a spiked or a spikeless golf shoe. It very much comes down to your personal preference and also the conditions that you will be playing in. If you’re playing golf in San Diego on a very flat course, where rain is not that frequent, then a pair of spikeless shoes will probably do you just fine. If conditions in your area are a little wetter, and also a little more uneven, and challenging, then a good pair of spiked shoes will be one of your greatest purchases to maximize your swing.
Many serious golfers will have two pairs of shoes to give them alternatives based on the terrain and the weather that they are playing in. If, however, your budget doesn’t stretch to buying two pairs of shoes, you could consider some of the more recent developments from shoe manufacturers that are called a hybrid shoe. This shoe is becoming ever more popular and will account for over a third of all shoes sold in the US this year.
As the name suggests they are a hybrid version of both shoes. Small studs or spikes are molded into the sole of the shoe to give the feel of a spiked shoe and the practicality of a spikeless.
It is clear golf shoes do help improve your golf game. Your swing is the most critical factor to improving your game, so it is important that your feet are connected to the ground as best as possible.
Good luck, keep practicing that swing and enjoy!