“Keep your head down!”

(Every so often you guys will see slightly edited versions of this post for as long as I write this blog. 😮 )

If you say this to yourself after a topped drive or bladed chip, I will help you rectify this in a moment.

If someone else says this to you, you can immediately discount anything they say because they have no idea what they are talking about…as far as golf is concerned.  Their political beliefs are probably warped as well.

This is the most overused, overrated statement in all of golf and it is completely wrong.  At one time earlier this decade, David Duval and Annika Sorrenstam were the #1 players in the world and both of them were not looking at the ball at impact.

In over 25 years of golf I have never seen anyone pull their head and cause a bad shot.

In actuality, trying to keep your head down will actually make it much, much worse.  Telling yourself to, “keep your head down,” will make your head drop.  You will either bury the club in the ground behind the ball or pull your arms in and top/blade the shot even worse than before.   The double chicken wing not only makes you top it more, it will make you hit the ball shorter when you do hit it well and most importantly, make you look like an uncoordinated doofus.

There is a simple reason for those topped shots and bladed chips.  The human brain has trouble understanding that hitting down on a golf ball will make it go up in the air.  At the end of your backswing, the club is way up in the air and must travel on a downward track to get to the ball.

The topped/bladed shots are caused by trying to hit up on the ball to try and help it in the air.  That causes the right shoulder to drop, the shoulders to stop turning and the arms get shorter and can’t reach the ball anymore.

The solution is to allow the club to swing down to the ball by continuing to rotate the shoulders and allowing the arms to extend.

When you hit up on the ball, you are causing the club head to change directions a split second before you hit it. Imagine the timing that takes to do that correctly.

Some will say, “Monte, the club eventually does bottom out and come up into the follow through. I like the play driver far forward in my stance to allow me to hit up on driver.”

Those who say that just made my point. The anatomy of the body will cause the club to bottom out just before the arms extend and start to arc up. That happens automatically and if you try to speed up the process by trying to hit up on it, you are fighting the natural way the body will work with a little bit of physics mixed in.

Are you starting to notice the trend? Allow things to happen and you will get the desired result. It’s when you force things to happen that you create problems for yourself. A golf swing takes around a second +- and your brain can’t possibly transmit all of the proper movements consciously. It all happens to fast.

Hitting down on the ball and rotating your shoulders won’t solve the problem on the next shot you hit because improvement in golf takes time, but you will see a reduction in the number of topped/bladed shots you hit until they disappear completely.

Now back to your regularly scheduled programming on The Golf Channel.  Mindless and endless mechanical checklists that will lock up your brain, cause you to play too slow, increase your scores and reduce how much you enjoy the game.

Previous

Next

6 Comments

  1. Kenneth Hunt

    I enjoyed the bit on ‘keep your head down’. I have been guilty of using that phrase too much. Your advice makes a lot of sense. Thanks, Ken

    Reply
  2. Monte Scheinblum

    Thank you for you comment Ken. Good luck, I think you will find over time that more shoulder rotation and hitting down on the ball will help.

    Reply
  3. David

    “The human brain has trouble understanding that hitting down on a golf ball will make it go up in the air.”

    this is how it works for me…..Lately I’ve discovered my shots are better if i concentrate on keeping my left arm straight, rotating my shoulders around my spine, while maintaining my spine angle. (Yea, I know too many swing thoughts but in reality it’s more of one simple motion.) If I do it correctly, right after I start my downswing my brain yells out, “My God what are you doing? We’ll never hit the ball this way! You’ll end up digging a trench a foot deep behind the ball!” If I ignore my brain and commit to the swing it actually works. Afterwards my brain tells me, “We did all right on that one, didn’t we?”

    Reply
  4. Steve Wood

    Good advice:

    *Mechanical checklists that will lock up your brain,
    *Your brain can’t possibly transmit all of the proper movements consciously. It all happens too fast.
    *The human brain has trouble understanding that hitting down on a golf ball will make it go up in the air.

    When I look at pros, their hands are swinging smoothly and evenly. If people try to manipulate the club, the even movement is lost, as is the feel of a swing, and the hands tend to stop. What do you think about swinging your hands instead of the club…using the body & arms with the idea of swinging the hands? I’m finding that the more I ignore the club, the more I try to produce a smooth swinging of my hands, the better things get, chipping and full shots.

    When people swing a club, it’s out of sight anyway–so why try do something with it when you have no feedback? As you say, “Allow things to happen and you will get the desired result. It’s when you force things to happen that you create problems for yourself.”

    The “hands” idea may be counter-intuitive, but it seems to work–as long as a proper backswing was made. Backswing is the key. If you get back correctly, it’s a done deal. When my right shoulder is coming back to the ball with my hands, I like it. Swiping a ball away with your hands is something that the brain understands because your body has been controlling your hands since you were in a baby crib. Centrifugal force will catch the club up at the proper time.

    Crackpot?

    Reply
  5. Davinci Kalani

    Hahaha, I don’t even think about it. Everyone just needs to get out of the way when I’m on the course:)

    Reply
  6. chris

    I have been starting to learn playing golf recently. But my performance was really disappointing and I even began to doubt that I could never be able to play it until days ago a friend of mine recommended me this ebook “The Simple Golf Swing”, also called “Golf Swing Guru”. It is the best selling golf swing book authored by David Nevogt, who is a golf expert and a great golf teacher.

    I have to say that this book is really helpful in solving your swing problems.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Share This
X