“That is so simple to understand. What you are saying is so logical and I can feel that after doing those two exercises, putting the head down has got to be the exact opposite of what is needed” – Pete Norman from the book ‘I could play golf when I first started’
By Ian Hardie
‘Keeping your head down’ is the great paradox of the game of golf
Those of us that teach the game know that it is possibly
The single most destructive piece of advice that golfers are given by other golfers
Yes read that bit again and make sure you understand it!
But the continual spreading of it from golfer to golfer on the golf course
Means that the resulting poor shots that golfers hit when they listen to it
Is what keeps a lot of pros in business teaching golf
Assuming the golfers don’t get so wound up that they quit the game altogether of course
The strangest thing about it all?
The advice isn’t that far away from being useful
However most golfers don’t experience that
Instead the harder they try and the more they put their head down
The worse the shots are that they will produce
If they hit the ball at all of course!
It’s something that the character Pete Norman had experienced an awful lot in the book I could play golf when I first started
Let’s take a look at some of what he found;
…………………..think back to when you first started to play the game Pete, a lot of your attempts would have either missed the ball altogether or just hit the top of the ball and moved it along the ground
After a few of these, there was always someone there who was helpful enough to tell you to ‘keep your head down’ – in fact even if you were playing on your own, there always seemed to be someone who would pop up to ‘help you’
As the shots that you were trying to hit were resulting in the club hitting on top of or going over the ball completely, you would have readily accepted this advice
The idea of positioning yourself lower to allow the club to hit the bottom of the ball instead of going over the top would have seemed so simple and logical, that without another thought you would then set up to hit your next shot with your head forced down much lower than before.
Trouble is the result of the next shot would have been the same as the first or may have even got worse, as the club would still miss or just hit the top of the ball
Undaunted, the advice gets repeated by your ‘helpful’ someone and you continue to put your head down and the cycle repeats over and over.
As the game goes on your shots would get so bad that you began to think that whatever limited ability that you had when you started is now gone forever
Until a couple of holes from the end when you would have had just about enough and would say to yourself
‘I’ve had it with this game’
Just stood up on the tee and whacked it without trying to do anything and what happened?
You probably hit a really good shot, the best of the day
‘Where did that come from?’………………That stunned expression on Pete’s face was back
“That’s happened to me said Pete, almost exactly like you have described – how could you know that?”
Well Pete, I know that because nearly every golfer that has ever started playing has probably had that experience or one very similar and unfortunately this experience is being repeated all over the world, every few minutes of every day
“So you are saying not to keep my head down but that I should put it up instead?”………………I will demonstrate what I am saying to you
If I put my head down before I hit my shot and then make my turn – what happens to my back action?
“Well, it’s quite short because your shoulder has hit your chin and stopped turning”
Exactly, but even though it’s not ideal to have such a short back action that is nothing compared to what happens next
I will start the movement of the club down towards the ball and I want you to watch closely as the club gets to around hip height
Now from this position which is about halfway down towards the ball, can you tell me whether I am going to get the clubface in to hit the ball before or after my shoulder hits my chin?
I will do this a few times really slowly so that you can see Pete
“Oh I get it, because your head is down, your shoulder runs into it just before the club is going to hit the ball”
Correct, as I am about to get the clubface to hit the ball my shoulder runs into my head but because of the speed and movement it does not stop rather it…………………..
“Pushes your head up and away?”…………………
I’m going to talk more about what really needs to happen
In ‘Keeping the head down while playing golf – part two’
To find out more about what exactly you need to do with your head while playing golf
As well as how to get rid of a bunch of other problems from your golf game
You can grab a Kindle copy of I could play golf when I first started here or you can grab an old fashioned printed copy of the book here
After reading it and understanding what to do
You will be amazed at just how good your golf shots can be
Once you get your head out of the way