Editors Game Improvement Challenge

There are literally thousands of articles on the web about the golf swing that break down every moving part of the body. In any issue of Golf Magazine and/or Golf Digest you will find pages dedicated to perfecting every facet of hitting a golf ball. Almost every instructor today uses technology to examine a player’s strengths and weaknesses on the road to improvement and understanding the path to getting better at this difficult game called golf. The motion involved in swinging a golf club is far from natural and the skill to repeat this motion with consistency is the challenge we all face every time we play the game. The question we all struggle with is a simple one, is there a simple rule I should follow to make it all easier?

The answer is yes, but let’s first talk about a few analogies to make this point. If you try to throw a ball at a moving target the task becomes much more difficult. If you and the target are both moving then, it becomes even more difficult. So in relation to the golf swing where we have to move to hit the ball how does this all apply. Quite simply, it’s all about one of the heaviest parts of our body that moves more every day of our life than any other part of our body, our head. The average weight of the human head is 8-13 pounds and almost everything we do in life with almost every movement is led by our head. Try to get up out of a chair without using your hands, you have to lead with your head in order to do so. So it makes sense to understand the implications of the head in a golf swing. The most common misconception in the game of golf is head movement causes bad golf shots. So I say how is it possible not to move your head when you are swinging a golf club at 100 MPH, It’s not.

Head movement in the golf swing is going to happen and for that matter has to happen to allow our body to get through a golf swing. The key to all of this is when your head is moving, not if it is moving. Considering the ball is stationary any movement prior to impact means we are making that impact unpredictable at best. If you move your head off the ball on your backswing and move it forward on your down-swing then your eyes never have the opportunity to focus for any moment on a still target. The end result is simple, mishits, off target shots, hitting it thin , hitting it fat and sometimes almost missing the ball completely.

Try this simple drill, hit golf shots 15 feet at a hula hoop with your head swaying back and forward in your swing. It is almost impossible to land a ball in that target from only 15 feet away. Now imagine that Hula Hoop at 400 yards away, it is an unsurmountable task to say the least. Now look down over the ball keeping your left eye on the top of the golf ball and try not to move your head in your takeaway or downswing until your make contact with the golf ball. A remarkable thing will happen, you will hit the ball cleaner, farther and with much better consistency each and every time. Once you have ingrained that simple drill, try to finish with your eyes following the golf ball slowly after impact. Follow the ball off the tee and rotate through your line of sight up and through your finish. This is by far the single most important aspect of a repeatable golf swing and the most important drill you can use with every club in the bag to become a better and more consistent player and improve your scores. If you take a moment to watch all the different swings on any given Sunday on the PGA Tour, one thing will be apparent with them all, their head remains still through impact.

I am on week #11 of the Editors Challenge and trying to ingrain correct habits. In almost every lesson with Mike Harbour in this entire series, the one thing that is checked in every lesson is head position. Where the head goes the body will follow.