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How to Keep Your Head Down in Golf

Why do golfers sometimes look up early in their golf swing? It is not always what you think! Misalignment in your swing may be the root cause.
Golf Swing - Keep Your Head Down

When you were a beginner golfer, did your teacher or mentor often say to you to “keep your head down on the ball?” when you mis-hit a shot? It’s a common teaching and is often a root cause for errant swings. 

Pulling your head up too early in your golf swing can cause you to mis-hit the ball by not seeing it through impact. While everybody thinks they sometimes look up too early in their golf swing out of eagerness to see where the ball goes (although this is a frequent reason!), there are things in your swing that can also cause this to occur. 

Your body is the most common culprit that is causing your golf swing to become out of sync. Misalignment in your swing can result in you looking up too early or your swing to fall behind – making it feel like you looked up too early. 

Let’s break down what flaws in your swing could be resulting in you pulling your head up too early, how to avoid it and how to ensure you keep your head down through your golf swing.

Your Body Sways With Too Much Lateral Movement

This means that your spine and head will move right to left during your swing. This will change the movement of where the clubhead is supposed to make contact with the golf ball, meaning that the natural movement of looking up is ahead of when you strike the ball.

This could be that you are not looking up too early, but the point of impact in your swing is lagging behind the natural motion of the rest of your body. 

How to Resolve: Keep Your Head Still

One common golf myth is to keep your head down, but I want my students to pay more attention to keeping their head still, to prevent unwanted movements. Keeping your head ‘quiet’ allows for a more natural shift in your body turn.

How to Resolve: Rotate Around Your Spine

Let the clubhead lead your takeaway along with the shoulders and upper torso during your golf backswing. If the clubhead creates a quarter-circle turn, your torso, hips and body will follow as well. This will lead to better rotation throughout your body and into your legs to start your downswing in a proper turning manner. 

You Create Too Steep a Club Angle in Your Swing

This means that you picked up the club in the backswing (or you set your wrist) too early. This will lead to less body rotation and your hands will be closer to your body at the top of your swing. Your lead wrist angle becomes sharp and your left arm will become the main lever in your downswing which means you will pull down the club at too steep an angle. 

Thus, your body will have to raise at impact resulting in you standing on your toes and pulling up your body including…your head.

How to Resolve: Use Your Lower Body To Support A Shallow Angle

You should then feel that you are transferring weight into your right foot/leg earlier than you think. Make sure you just do not sway over there so let the clubhead lead your takeaway followed by your hip turn. 

The reason we want to feel this earlier is to create some rhythm in your lower body. This will help load into your back leg and to start your downswing with the lower body with a nice tempo. 

It is also more of a distraction to not use your hands and arms at transition so we can shallow the club on the way down with good body rotation.

Your Swing Is Too Fast

When you feel the result of your head pulling up, you may have noticed that you just swung way too fast. This is typically caused at the beginning of the transition as you rush the downswing. This usually means that you may have tightened your grip pressure on the way down to hit the ball hard. This can lead to a steep angle and your body going too far ahead. 

How to Resolve: Loosen Your Grip Pressure

When you loosen your grip, you will actually release the club at the transition. This means that you will let your wrists hinge and create your club to lag before you start your downswing. The lag is what creates speed in the clubhead without using your hands to pull the club down hard which will create a steep and quick downward angle into the golf ball instead of a shallow angle with lag.

Too Eager to See Where the Ball Ends Up!

The worst thing you could do is to actually make a perfect golf swing and ruin it by being too eager to see where the golf ball goes! 

How to Resolve: Stay in the Moment

Be sure you receive the benefit of performing a great swing. You did it, now give yourself the best shot to see the fruit of it. Focus on the feel of the swing that you’ve practiced thousands of times in preparation for these moments. 

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V Tongwarin

Visanu Tongwarin or “Coach V” is a Class A PGA Teaching Professional at Legacy Ridge Golf Course and Walnut Creek Golf Preserve in Westminster, Colorado. V's brings his passion for teaching the game of golf to all levels of golfers from running children clinics to training state champions and seasoned professionals.