Why 'keeping your head down' is a myth

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PGA of America Championships

The Still Head

A straight, rigid left arm not only can cause you to have a reverse pivot, but also can have the opposite affect on your right arm at impact.

In the small photo below, notice what happens if you have too much strain in your left arm at the top—you'll lose your ability to shift your weight properly, and in doing so, the right arm will straighten too soon on the downswing. So, if the left arm is too rigid, the right arm will do the same through the impact zone. Hey, if you can keep your left arm straight without strain, go for it.

It will add power. But if you can't, it's perfectly acceptable to allow for some bend in the elbow. By allowing the elbow to flex, the body will rotate more, and the release through the downswing will be much more fluid.

In the photo below, I've lessened the tension and strain in my arms, which then allowed my body to rotate much more than it did with a rigid left arm. Not everyone is as flexible as Tiger Woods. Nobody is as flexible as he is! If you aren't flexible enough and you attempt to keep your left heel grounded as you swing, you're likely priming yourself for a reverse pivot as shown above.

Instead, by allowing your left heel to raise naturally, don't force it , the body can shift its weight back and forward much more effectively. Nicklaus, Snead, Palmer, et al. They all lifted their left heel. If you tuck your right elbow too much, here's what will happen. First, your swing will likely be too flat at the top of your swing. If you stay tucked, your arms won't be able to swing freely down and through, meaning your body will have to compensate and either cause you to overrotate or come over the top of the ball as I'm showing here.

And in case you didn't know, coming over the top from outside the target line to inside the target line is never a good idea, as it produces all sorts of duffs, hooks and slices. Davis Love III has made quite the career by allowing his right elbow to fly. In other words, by allowing the right elbow to drift from the body, DL3 can make a huge upper-body turn and keep the clubshaft perfectly on plane.

From the top of the swing, he then drops his arms down as he rotates his body through the golf ball. In this sequence, I'm doing the same thing. By letting my elbow drift up and away from my side as I initiate my downswing, it becomes a lot easier to keep my club perfectly on plane. And check out my impact position in both swings. My body is much more rotated here and in a much more athletic position. I can't count how many times I've heard other instructors tell their students that the key to successful putting is to keep your head down through the stroke.

But before I digress, how many of you can shoot a basket while looking at the ball? Or shoot a target with a gun while staring at the gun? In sports, where precise positioning is required, more often than not, the best way to accomplish your goal is to have the mind and eyes fixated on the target. Baseball players need to the see the baseball, primarily because it's moving at great speeds. They also don't have to fear hitting it too far, meaning they can swing at full throttle every time and not worry about a lengthy comebacker for par.

Putting, like shooting a basketball, requires a deft touch that's best executed with help from the eyes. Now, back to my point. By keeping your head down, you stifle the body's ability to rock the shoulders through the stroke, invariably causing the hands and arms to collapse before, during or even after impact. A better way to ensure a smooth pendulum stroke is to allow the head to rotate with the putterhead through impact. This will foster a more natural forwardstroke and also help train the eyes to become more accustomed to seeing how far each putt rolls out.

The eyes also can help correct any tendencies in your aiming as well, since you can see the effects of the roll. Practice a few putts and allow your head to rotate don't lift your head; rather rotate it from side to side and get a feel for how far the ball rolls and in what direction with strokes of various lengths. In no time, you'll see and feel what it's like to become a better putter.

For more information, call I was a 5 handicap but the more that I learned about the swing,the worse I got. Your article on Swing Myths and Simple Fixes is. One of the first pieces of golf advice you will inevitably receive when getting started in the game is this — you need to keep your head down.

There is likely not a golfer in the entire world who has not heard this piece of advice at one time or another. Usually, it is passed along by a well-meaning friend or playing partner. Or, you may have heard it during your first golf lesson, if you have taken one from a local pro at some point along the way. As you might suspect, this piece of advice has become popular because it is important.

If you hope to play good golf, you do need to keep your head down. With that said, it is possible to go too far with this tip, and we will get into that issue later in the article. Setting the details aside for you, you should know that keeping your head down is going to allow you to strike better shots, and do so more frequently. Golf is all about hitting the ball cleanly as often as you can — keeping your head down is going to serve both of those goals.

Knowing that it is important to keep your head down, you may wonder out to the driving range with the intention of working on this point. How are you supposed to work on keeping your head down during the golf swing?

This is more complicated than it might seem at first. Like everything in golf, the devil is in the details. You do need to keep your head down, but forcing it down toward your chest throughout the entire swing is not going to lead to positive results. Instead, you need to find a good balance where you can keep your head down but still maintain the freedom of movement necessary to make a quality swing.

In this article, we are going to go in-depth on the topic of keeping your head down. We will explain what it looks like to keep your head down properly, and what mistakes you need to avoid along the way.

Also, we will highlight how you should be keeping your head down in the short game, as this is a different challenge than accomplishing the same feat during a full swing. In the end, we hope you have all the information you need to work on this crucial fundamental during your next practice session.

All of the content below is based on a right-handed golfer. If you happen to play left-handed, please take a moment to reverse the directions as necessary. A Picture of Success. So, what is it going to look like when you make a golf swing where your head stays down nicely? We are going to answer that question in this section. As mentioned in the introduction, it's not as simple as just pushing your head down toward your chest while swinging the club around you.

The best golf swings are those where the head stays in a comfortable, neutral position throughout the swinging action. Getting into such a position isn't the hardest thing you will have to do in golf, but it is not something to take for granted, either. Spend a bit of time working on this point and you will become a better player for the effort.

The following list highlights the points you should be monitoring while trying to place your head in the right spot. It is going to be difficult to build a quality golf swing without placing your head in the right spot.