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Lesson Tee

It's OK, Let Your Head Swivel

Why 'keeping it down' can be bad advice

October 2012

Every golfer has been told to "Keep your head down" at least once. The intent is to have you make better contact and not peek too soon to see where the ball is going. But using that tip can create tension and limit your swing.

Your head should be free to rotate. In fact, if it swivels slightly away from the target when you take the club back and/or toward the target when you swing down and through the hitting area, your chances of making a smooth and complete swing will likely improve. Former world No. 1s Annika Sorenstam and David Duval are among several pros whose heads rotate when they swing. Neither of them is even looking at the ball when the club makes contact. And don't forget that Jack Nicklaus used to turn his chin slightly away from the target just before he started his backswing.

If it worked for them, it can certainly help you. Keeping your head down might only prevent you from watching a bad shot.

Course Management

COURSE MANAGEMENT

Not sure which way a putt will break near the hole? Get down low and check to see if one side of the hole appears higher than the other. The putt will almost always break toward the lower side. If the high side is at the back of the cup, you'll know you have to hit it a bit firmer. And if you cant see the back edge, you'll know the putt will be a quick one.

LEADBETTER is a Golf Digest Teaching Professional based at ChampionsGate near Orlando. He operates 26 golf academies.

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