Lateral head movement: A rhetorical question to ponder this weekend…

I will be the first one to agree that lateral hip motion on the backswing is bad and should be avoided…and getting the upper body and balance points outside of the feet is not the best of ideas.

I also concede I am not a believer in the swing anomaly of one world class individual, should not be emulated.

That being said, every long driver of note (myself included) has lateral head motion in the backswing. So did Tiger Woods at his most dominant, Alvaro Quiros (the longest hitter on the Euro Tour) and many other top players, the list of which is too vast to compile.

My decline in both distance and ability to score is very likely related to my elimination of my lateral move…which I am reintroducing with some nice results.

We have seen other restrictive cliches be proven to be restrictive to success. Restrict hip turn and swing in a barrel, e.g.

Now I am not suggesting (not yet anyway) that lateral head movement should be promoted, I am suggesting there are those who have it with no obvious consequences, other than it goes against the “keep your head still” cliche.

Why is lateral head movement on the evil list, when the longest hitters in the world do it, and the most dominant player of all time did it at his highest level of dominance?

PS-If you have the urge to ask me if I am saying that having the head move all over the place is a good thing…remember my “too much of a good thing is bad” mantra.




  1. Mike Divot

    Did Saint Ben the Pure have a lateral head movement?

  2. woody

    “Why is lateral head movement on the evil list”

    –Because preserving the spine angle is on the list. The reasoning goes, if your head moves, then you can’t preserve the spine angle. One restriction leads to another.

  3. North

    Head movement is on the list of bad things because Jack Grout held Jack Nicklaus hair to keep Nicklaus head still when he was teaching him to play.

  4. The Original Brian

    If your head is going to move back, make it easy on yourself and do it on the downswing.

  5. Robert Johansson

    I move my head laterally a bit.
    You get more distance and spineangle is fine.

    I dont concern myself with swing stuff only swing to target.
    as long it works for me I go coolio…

  6. 4theloveofthegame

    Great blog, videos, articles and thoughts Monte (loved the MTD, most of it is equally applicable to amateurs Monthly Medal competitions across all handicap classes)- keep it up, open-minded and friendly- unlike so many golfswing discussion boards- and start to organize it please (ebook/DVD etc.?).
    Once I have sorted out my technical issues, I will send you my swing for comments- hopefully before Frank’s next win and your justified price rise by then…
    I will offer the following “swing (food4) thought” regarding this particular post concerning the (IMHO) upper point of the pivot (not swing) axis:
    “Keep the BACK of your head still (meaning calm).”.
    Effect: no sway in the backswing and “head behind” in the downswing until impact but no undue restriction.
    I found it on another website (no connection/idea about it), which also offered another helpful idea about the lower point of the (IMHO) pivot axis: the tailbone moves an inch TOWARDS the target in the backswing and another two in the downswing.
    Effect: again, no sway in the backswing, “hands ahead” and no hang back in the downswing- ideally, and in conjunction with some other moves…

  7. theMIKE

    i have a guess, if you are an atletic player and you move your head much off center, you tend to get a very shallow impact, perhaps too shallow.
    if you are not an athletic player and do not have a fairly straight neck, trying to keep your head centered can lead to a reverse spine and that is a death position (steep position). It is all relative to the particular human body.

  8. Jacob

    Interesting post. In the past, I always had a pretty good sway but I did hit the ball more solid than I do now. I think good footwork helps a lot if you do sway. Might be time to tinker a little.

    Monte, your swing back in your long driving days was amazing. What a move.


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