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Why 'keeping your head down' is bad swing advice

October 03, 2023
Myth#3 HeadDown-HiRes

Illustration by George Retseck

Looking for the all-time king of golf-instruction malarkey? “Keep your head down” has to be in the conversation. What makes it so damaging is that it’s one of the worst pieces of advice you can get.

“Our coaches will teach about 1.8 million golf lessons in 2023, and about a million of those will start with a player blaming their topped and chunked shots on not keeping their head down,” says Nick Clearwater, GolfTEC’s senior vice president of player development. “Your bad shots are literally never caused by this ‘problem.’ The best players in the world are moving their head upward, and their arms and legs are straightening as they swing through the ball. Yours should, too.”

Instead of working hard to keep your head down—which only serves to restrict your body and slow your arm swing—try this plan of action: Make sure to set up so that the ball is in the center of your gaze. If it drifts too far forward or back, it disrupts your depth perception, and you won’t have as much success swinging freely and making consistent contact. Now make some swings where your only goal is to copy the position of the figure on the PGA Tour’s logo—that’s it.

“The only way to get there is to let your torso move up and your arms and legs extend,” Clearwater says. “Have a friend film you and see how consistently you can get into that position. The closer you are to getting that part right, the more issues you’ll automatically knock out of your golf swing.”