Don't Keep Your Head Down in Your Golf Swing

By Ed Ibarguen

Why Keeping Your Head Down is Bad Advice

Golf tips are a dime a dozen. I am sure you have heard dozens, and dozens, and dozens of golf tips and some of them talk about keeping the head down, which is one of the worst pieces of advice that you can give in golf. Do not ever tell anyone to keep their head down because if you do you can not make any kind of a turn. What are people trying to say when they say you need to keep your head down? You need to keep your head dead still.

Why You Should Keep Your Head Still Instead

What we are trying to say is when you get set up in here you are trying to make the most centered pivot you possibly can. The reason for that is so that when you return back to the ball you are able to come back into that nice centered position. If you are the kind of person that moves off the ball you are going to find yourself either having to make that move back this way and then come into impact or you might find yourself falling backwards.

All those things will change your angle of approach into the ball. We advocate simplicity. Just try to keep a nice center. I am very curious because I talk to students and see a lot of bobbing and weaving. I see the upper spine moving up this way. I see the upper spine moving out to the right trying to shift their weight back into the right side. This creates all kinds of problems in the downswing.

The Time I Coached Michael Jordan in Golf

What I would like for you to think of is very similar to one of the students that I had, I always like to say that sometimes when you work real hard you get lucky. The harder you work the luckier you are. I happen to be the Head Professional at the University of North Carolina and a very nice talented basketball player came down and wanted to get some lessons. This kid's name was Michael Jordan.

Now Michael was just getting out of his sophomore year and he was very excited about golf and started to take his lessons. Remember, Michael is a basketball player who moves laterally to a stationary target. When he came to golf his backswing had a lot of movement in his body and of course he had pretty good hand-eye coordination to return that club back on the ball. However, he is tall, his hands are huge, there was a lot of dispersion to his shot. A lot of pulls left, a lot of slices to the right.

I tried to explain to Michael, I said Mike, you want to get this string and set right here and try to feel like you are turning your upper body, rotating into the ball joining your back hip and trying to feel as if you are staying there. I want to be sure you are understanding this, it is not a reverse pivot falling to the left.

Proper Form: Centered Pivot

This is a centered pivot where the weight comes back to the right. Because you are now in that position, when you come back through you are going to be in that good impact position without having to make a lot of adjustments. Looking at it from down the line, here we are at half way back, the up, see that spine angle stay. Coming right back down.

Bathroom Drill to Keep Your Head Still

Again, it is trying to make a swing with the fewest compensations possible. Get a mirror and here is the exercise for you, here is the drill. I want you in your bathroom up against the sink, hips are pressed against it, I want you to have your face straight at the mirror and I want you to try and turn your upper body and keep that face in the mirror. Most people will have some give to the right but just try and be as centered as you can. Stay right there then come this way, see how your head is staying right there and coming in and you know what, my weight is transferred into my left hip. It is really easy. Give it a try.

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