By David Graham
Marriott Golf Academy, Orlando
There are a few golf myths out there that show up on the lesson tee from time to time. These myths get passed on to each generation of new golfers which has the same impact as they had on previous generations, they harm our golf swing! Two of the most popular myths I have to dispel are: you should keep your head down, and you have to “get under” the ball to get it air born. Any of these sound familiar? Are you or have you tried to incorporate any of them in your swing?
The myth of keeping your head down is a very common fix offered between golf buddies and spouses, but it really hurts your game far more than it helps. When golfers keep their head down through the swing, any chance of getting into a good balanced finish position is gone. Look at the photo of the two finish positions. The photo on the left is an example of a golf swing with keeping my head down. Notice how, by keeping my head fixed, my swing is restricted and I’m unable to get my weight on my left leg. I drew a vertical line from my left foot up through my body. Notice the difference between the two swings, by allowing the head to turn with your chest so that you’re watching the ball in flight, versus looking at the divot where the ball used to be, your entire body can rotate to the target and finish in a good balanced finish.
The myth that you have to get under the ball to get the ball in the air is the root cause for many chilly dipped and thinned wedge shots around the green. Golf is a brilliant game of opposites. You want to hit down on the ball to make the ball go up. If you try to swing up on the ball, you’re actually raising the club up into the ball so you will either bottom the club out too early (a fat shot) or work the leading edge of the club up so you will strike the ball in the equator (a thin shot). Notice the photo of the two impact positions. The photo on the left I’m trying to “get under the ball.” Notice how the shaft is leaning back. That is a weak position to strike a ball. The photo on the right is a better impact position; because I am not trying to swing down and through the ball, rather than lift it, the shaft has a forward lean and my weight is in my left side where it should be.
So sometimes those old standard golf “tips” are really just myths. Let your head turn with your shoulders into a good proud finish position. Teach yourself to hit down and compress the ball and get away from the thought that you have to help the ball in the air. By getting a better picture in your mind of what the swing is you will be on your way to a sound golf game.