You could make a case that this is the single-worst piece of golf-swing advice | Instruction
There’s a lot of cliched golf teaching advice: “Hold the club like it’s a baby bird.” “Finish in a trophy pose.” “Keep your left arm straight.” In most cases, the advice was born out of necessity, to get someone to make drastic changes to their golf swing when nothing else would work. This is certainly where “keeping your head down” comes from. Too many golfers come out of their golf stance by letting their head go up in an effort to help the ball in the air, or they are so anxious to see the outcome of their shot that they look up too soon.
Unfortunately, “keeping your head down” is bad advice, both for your golf game and your health. Dan Shipman, named one of Golf Digest’s Top 50 Coaches in America, explains the health part.
“Neck issues are a big deal for a lot of my golfers,” says Shipman, who trains players at his gym, Full Torque Fitness (@fulltorquefitness on Instagram), in Largo, Florida. “Whether it’s an executive who lives behind a desk or a retiree who sits a lot, many have difficulty moving around their necks.”
Biomechanically, your neck is really good at doing one thing at a time, Shipman says. It can flex or extend (think up and down motion), it can bend sideways left and right, and it can spin left or right. When there is a general lack of mobility around the top of your spine, the cervical spine, you put extra pressure on the entire neck area and this can lead to injury.
“And when neck rotation is limited, the body tries to compensate for that lack of function by getting movement from another area,” Shipman says. “Most of our exercises with clients who have limited neck mobility focus on getting the upper traps (traps/upper back muscles) to stop dominating. We will also look at the lower traps, mid back and sometimes the serratus anterior (region of the thorax). ).”
Trying to keep your head down also sucks for your golf game, says 50 best teacher Hank Haney. This actually limits your chances of making a functional swing. “Too focused on keeping your head down prevents you from turning in the right direction,” he says. “Your timing will be messed up and you’ll probably hit the big shot. Let your eyes follow the clubhead as it hits the ball and moves in tracking. In other words, synchronize the swing of the club with the turn of your head towards the target. You will begin to hit it harder and more consistently.”
At the top of the page, Haney showed what it’s like to keep your head down at the top of the swing. This is what he prefers to see (below).
If you play a lot of golf, it’s probably a good idea to incorporate neck and upper body exercises into your fitness routine, Shipman says. Here he offers a few ways to improve this area of the body.