Golf Tip: Don’t “Keep Your Head Down”

The most flawed golf tip I hear given (and received) on a constant basis is “keep your head down”. Although well intentioned, the focus of simply keeping your head down will lead to lack of rotation and overall rigid, unathletic golf swing. The head lifting up was just the final product of a more common swing flaw, and the most easily recognizable to the outside observer. The head SHOULD actually move (within reason) freely throughout the course of the golf swing.

During my golf lessons, I prefer to focus instead on maintaining your spine angle (spine tilt) throughout the swing. If spine tilt is lost at any point before impact with the ball, your head will naturally lift, resulting in the common topped or thinned shots. The golf swing simply revolves around a pre-set tilt of the spine created at setup. That’s why a fundamentally sound setup is not just a recommendation, it’s a necessity.

As you can see in my active swing sequence picture, I’ve set my spine tilt early in my setup, and simply revolved around that fixed point throughout the entirety of the swing into impact.

A good golf drill I like to do with my students to see (and feel) spine tilt is demonstrated in the final 3 pictures. Place two golf balls roughly one foot apart from each other, one where you would normally play the ball in your swing, and the other just outside of that. Take your normal setup position, focusing on proper spine, and pelvic tilt in your setup. Then simply place your golf club across your shoulders, arms crossed, with the butt end of the golf club pointing out towards your target. Simply replicate your backswing from this position and point the end of the grip to the outside ball. Then slowly simulate your downswing with the focus of delivering the club head to the inside ball. This simple drill will give you a visual feel for what spine tilt throughout the golf swing means. If at any point the golf club levels out, this will show you a clear loss of spine tilt, and as a snowball result, the head lifting up.

Your head needs to have some slight movement to allow the swing to rotate freely underneath it. If you simply focus on “keeping your head down” your mobility will severely be compromised, resulting in a loss of power, consistency, and even potential injury (both emotionally and physically). Focus instead on maintaining your spine tilt throughout your swing and allow for your head to move freely. As a result, you’ll be on your way to improved contact, and better enjoyment of the game.

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