Golf Swing Tips for Keeping Your Head Behind the Ball
Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus, arguably two of the greatest golfers in history, share something besides trophies from major championships: Both try to keep their heads quiet throughout the swing, which allows them to achieve consistent impact from behind the ball. Amateur golfers tend to slide laterally during the swing, which produces pulls, pushes and inconsistent divots. Your head doesn't have to remain totally still during the swing, but it should be behind the ball at impact.
The Shadow Knows
To achieve the feel of a quiet head, get some feedback from your shadow. Place a tee in the ground and position your shadow so that the tee is in the center of your head. Imagine that this tee has your shadow fixed to the ground and make some swings while keeping your head's shadow centered on the tee. When you can do this consistently, you are ready to hit some shots.
Rotate, Don't Slide
The body should rotate around the spine during the swing, not slide to the right and left. Set up to the ball and tilt your spine away from the target until the ball is even with your left ear. If your spine stays still as you rotate around it, your head will also stay still. It's OK for your head to swivel -- just don't let it move vertically or laterally.
Release Your Head After Impact
To stay behind the ball at impact, resist the urge to slide laterally onto your left foot. But after impact, allow your head to swivel toward the target. This will allow a full weight transfer to your left foot and prevent fat shots. Most modern players finish facing the target while standing relatively erect. It's easier on the back than the old arched-back finish and just as effective -- as long as your head is behind the ball at impact.
Mike Wine received a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Northern Colorado in 1979, and has been writing ever since. His work has appeared in "Golfing" and "Senior Golfing" magazines. He is a member of the Professional Golfer's Association of America, and operates The Mike Wine Golf Academy in Tennessee.