Keep Your Head Down

 

The worst swing tip I’ve ever heard? Well that would have to be ‘Keep your head down.’ It’s the main reason I have a job.
Many Instructors

 

This article is long overdue. While many instructors have written about the horrible advice that is “keep your head down”, I feel like one more can’t hurt. Who knows, it could be the straw that finally breaks the camel’s back and the general golfing population might stop saying it. Plus, it is one of my favorite lectures in class, and it always astounds me the huge percentage of students who still don’t know that this is bad advice. I encourage all of you do a couple of things:

 

      1. Go to Google and type in “keeping your head down in golf”. The first articles you see are “Swing Myths and Simple fixes” and “Keeping your head down is not the answer” and are some good ones to read. Farther down the page and on subsequent pages you will see articles that encourage keeping your head down. DON’T READ THEM!
      2. Since we are on google already lets search for some videos. Not of golf, of other sports. Let’s go with tennis, American football (kickers), soccer, baseball, javelin… literally anything throwing or kicking a ball. Now watch closely. Find one for me where their head stays where the ball USED to be for more than a fraction of a second. Just to save you some time, you won’t find one. Find some still shots below.

        1
        Now I don’t know exactly what you’re seeing on your end, but it certainly doesn’t look to me like either gentleman is keeping his head down through his “shot”. Try to keep these images in mind the next time you go to the course.

      3.  

      Last thing to actively do. Watch professional golfers hit pitch shots. You will notice that their head gently moves with their torso through the shot. They don’t, as many golfers believe, let their arms swing past their head and chest and keep their head down throughout the shot. Now go to your local golf course and find a guy (maybe you!) who is blading, chunking, topping, or whatever-ing his pitch shots. I’ll give you pretty good odds he tries to keep his head down and this is death to good consistent contact on pitches and longer swings. Check out the image below:

 
2

 

The thing to really take notice of is just at the top right of the screen. You can clearly see Phil Mickelson’s (one of the best players in the world for years now) head is following his torso, and his eyes are on the ball. That leads me to my fix for you.

 

It is a simple fix. Just keep your eyes on the ball. The ball is not moving at address, in your backswing, or on your downswing, so therefore your eyes shouldn’t move a lot either. They will shift slightly as your head moves a bit in your backswing, but they should always be on the golf ball. Then, after you strike the ball, the ball begins to move. And so should your head/eyes. Following the ball with your head will help you get your body through the shot better leading to better, more consistent contact and ball flight.

 

Drill of the Week:

 

Speed or line

 

I like my mental drills a great deal. I want all of you reading this to watch some golf this week. Watch how every player releases their head through the shot. Some, like Rory McIlroy, DO keep their heads down longer than others. In McIlroy’s case he is young, strong, and extremely flexible so he can keep it down a bit longer and still keep his chest moving. Bear in mind he is the exception not the norm. The majority of tour players make sure to release their head through at/just after impact to make sure they have good rotation through the shot. Try and see this for yourself and then emulate it on the range!

 

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