I had an interesting session with a student the other day when trying to explain the head's behavior in a good golf swing.
Like many before him, he was advised to keep his head down, still and behind the ball. When I told him that good golfers, in effect, had three heads during the swing, he looked at me like I was crazy. When we finished the lesson he had a different understanding of the head and the proper manner in which it must behave to gain maximum results.
What I meant by three-heads was, if you note the head position upon address, at the top of the swing and the finish, you will find the head merely responds to the motion created by the body and arms during the swing.
A way to verify this reality is to look at sequence frames of any great player and draw a vertical line from the ball to the top of the head at address, noting the relationship of the line to that of the head.
Now take a look at that relationship at the top of swing position and you will see a space or gap compared to the start position. Finally, check the head at the finish relative to the line and you will see that the speed and momentum of the swing has carried it to or slightly past the original vertical line.
Did the head move-or did it merely respond to the energy created by the body?
The answer is pretty simple: the body rules the head, never the other way around. Once I can convince a student that "head-flow" is not only OK but necessary, the results can be very dramatic.
Watch the likes of Annika Sorenstam or Joe Durant (Disney winner) and you will see very clearly how the arms, body and head all flow together finishing straight and balanced.
In fact, when Durant was interviewed recently the comment was made that his head motion was similar Annika's. He smiled and said he has been doing that since he was 10 years old (he's 42) and that Annika was copying him. No matter who copied who, it doesn't matter. They are both exceptional ball strikers and we all should copy both of them.
As I have stated many times in this column and to all my students, the head is fairly heavy relative to the body and any effort to anchor it will do nothing but restrict natural body rotation and rhythm.
What I am trying to convey is, the head is attached to the body and when the body moves to make the swing, the head just gets carried by the momentum generated during that swing.
We play golf on two legs, one at a time; right leg on the back swing and left leg on the through swing. Trying to hold the head in a fixed position only restricts your ability to "coil and recoil," and send that ball long and straight down the fairway.
There is a better way, try it.
Yours for better golf.
Del Starks is a PGA teaching professional at Abacoa Golf Club in Jupiter. Contact him at (561) 262-0708, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.delstarks.com.