Focus on the eyes, not the head
The worst advice ever given in golf is also one of the most frequently used and is normally proffered by a trusted colleague, friend, or family member. After a poorly struck golf ball, we are often told “you lifted your head – keep your head down”.
What a load of rubbish! Now, I realise this is almost akin to denouncing the existence of Santa Claus. But let’s look at this logically and try to understand the effect I see that it has on all golfers.
When a bad golf shot is played, there are umpteen reasons for this. Lifting the head alone, without the mention of the rest of the body, does not tell the whole story. Believe me, I have videoed thousands of bad golf shots. Not once has lifting of the head been identified as the sole cause of the issue.
In fact, just keeping your head down as instructed, could be dangerous, both for your golf and your physical wellbeing.
Keeping your head down at address would normally lead to the chin dropping into the chest. This then restricts your ability to turn your shoulders. Not a good start. More worrying is that keeping your head down after the ball has been hit will probably hurt your neck and back.
This is because your body has its own natural head lifting mechanism. It is called the right shoulder. As you hit the ball, your chin meets the right shoulder. This is when you should release your head and allow it to turn towards the target, thus allowing you to see where the darn ball has gone. Alternatively, if you insist on keeping your head down beyond this natural point, your body from the neck down is whizzing round at speed but your head is being held firmly in place. That is whiplash.
The irony also is that keeping the head down too long also restricts your ability to complete the required weight transference into the follow through. This is usually the reason that the player tops the ball. Being calmly instructed to keep the head down on the next shot only causes a downward spiral.
My advice is simple: keep your eye on the ball. Firstly, you keep your eye on the ball during the swing. Then, when your shoulder hits your chin, let you head come up so that you can keep your eye on the ball in the air. Focus on the eyes, not the head.
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