I have to admit I have a few pet peeves when I am on the driving range or golf course.
And the biggest has to be the golfer that hits a bad shot and immediately blames themselves for their error. That error will take on one of two forms;
1 – “Why did I lift my head again?”
2 – “Keep your head down”
Both of these phrases are wrong and create more problems for the golfer when they attempt to correct this perceived flaw in the golf swing.
You may find this slightly confusing as many golf professionals preach the importance of keeping the head still. To an extent this is really important, the less the head moves the easier the swing becomes, but I believe they are talking about the head rotating, altering its position during the swing.
I do not talk or suggest that the head must stay stationary throughout the swing. This is almost impossible for the average weekend golfer.
I am more than accepting of the fact that the head will rotate, sway, change its position during the swing.
My issue with the above beliefs as to why a swing went wrong are the following:
In trying to keep the head completely still during the swing only creates less fluidity, freedom and power. It results in a swing that is made, more or less, totally with the arms. A swing predominantly with the arms produces a weak shot that moves out to the right of target (or right handed golfers) or a shot that goes straight left.
Each of these shots are what the majority of amateur golfers are trying to avoid. Yet golf professionals still teach this same method of trying to keep the head still throughout the swing.
The other phrase I often hear on the range is “stop looking for the ball before you hit it.”
This is similar to the above phrases, yet just as confusing.
I actually encourage my students to look for the ball as soon as they have hit it, in an effort to teach the correct follow through position. Doing this allows the student the freedom to rotate their body towards the target during the follow through.
I would encourage you to test this for yourself the next time you are on the range.
Take a few swings to warm up. Then begin to swing down looking at your target, before you reach impact. Once you feel comfortable with this unorthodox movement, try it with the ball in front of you.
You will be amazed at the ball flight and distance that you achieve, with a swing that apparently leads to miss hits and poor shots.
There are a few reasons why you may hit the top of the ball or thin it. The main being a change of body position.
This change will be caused, in the most part, by the straightening of the knees during the down swing, in an effort to impart maximum power to the strike.
For others, especially beginners, this fault will be caused by the desire and intent to hit the ball up into the air.
Trying to lift the ball will cause your upper body to move away from the target, lofting the target shoulder and ultimately raising the position of the club.
Both of these errors will be greatly exaggerated if you try to keep your head down.
So, for those of you struggling to hit the bottom of the ball, religiously practicing keeping your head still, or down my advice is unequivocally STOP.
You are creating more problems than you think.
Until Next Time,
The Golf Swing Doctor