Have you ever mis-hit a shot and had somebody tell you that you didn’t keep your head down? Or how about being told to make sure you keep your left arm straight on your backswing? While the suggestions may be well-meaning, they won’t help you hit a golf ball better. In fact, it might even make things a little bit worse.
Putting your head in a ‘down’ position at address, will restrict your ability to make a full swing. Your chin will get in the way of your shoulder, and you will either continue trying to take the club back and sway away from the ball, or you will make an abbreviated backswing. Either way, you won’t make consistent ball contact and your distance and direction won’t be good.
In a good set-up position, your chin should be out a little bit so when you make your backswing, your shoulder has room to go under your chin. This will allow for a full shoulder turn and a completed backswing, giving yourself the best opportunity to hit the ball well. You still want to watch the ball while you are swinging, just don’t put your head in a ‘down’ position to do it.
If you try to keep your left arm straight on your backswing, two things will happen. First, you will have a tendency to take the club back on an outside path. Second, you will create a lot of tension in your left arm. With excessive tension in your left arm, you will not be able to release the club easily, and combined with the outside path, this is a recipe for a slice.
A better way to approach your backswing is to keep your hands as far away from your shoulders as you comfortably can without locking your left elbow. By the time you get to the top of your backswing, your left arm will not be perfectly straight, but it will be extended, giving you a nice wide arc and the ability to create a lot of club speed.
The next time you watch the Tour players on television, you will notice that none of them have their head ‘down’ and their left arm perfectly straight. If you apply this to your golf swing, you will hit better shots.