I hear many golf pros, parents and friends like to tell each other to “keep your head down” through impact. As if this was going to give them a better chance to create a better strike to the ball. I’m here to tell you that it is false.
What I teach is totally opposite. I like my players to allow their eyes to look toward the target because this allows them to get their chest open and thoracic extending thru the impact zone. I like to see my player’s chest open anywhere from 5 to 25 degrees at impact. If you were to “keep your head down” this makes it really difficult to rotate your chest open consistently.
Everyone knows that to hit a crisp pitch shot, the divot comes after the ball. This means that the low point of your golf swing is after impact. If you keep your head down and don’t allow the chest to rotate open by impact, you would need to manipulate the low point of the swing with early extending of the trail arm, or excessive wrist movement, or a lot of other worse compensations. The problem wis that now it makes it really hard to judge speed, and in pitch shots, distance control is very important. So I suggest to not keep your head down, but rather let it rotate towards the target.
I’ll give you one more prime example. We never see Major League Baseball player keeping his eye on the ball or throwing hand when they’re pitching. He actually does quite the opposite. He allows his eyes to work toward the strike zone very early, long before he release his 99 mph pitch toward the hitter.
Remember, in golf the ball doesn’t move! Just because you stare it down and look at intently, it will not help you make good contact. I suggest you allow your head to rotate toward the target naturally and ignore the “keep your head down” advice.
It’s making golfers worse, not better.
Nam Padung is Director of Instruction at Jones Creek Golf Club, Augusta, Georgia