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WUTiger

Head movement (fr. Hips thread)

14 posts in this topic

OK, here's what I heard about head movement from my second-to last pro:

Up-and-down head movement is what's bad. It shifts your spine angle, and causes you to lose balance - your swing falls apart.

Lateral head movement is OK, as long as you swing smoohtly. Allowing lateral movement helps with weight shift on takeaway. Also, too rigid a head can choke off your follow-through on your downswing.

I know that iacas worries that head movement can be the start of things going wrong, as did Nicklaus. A still-head proponent, Nicklaus wrote that his homecourse pro Jack Grout used to hold onto a handful of his hair to teach him to keep his head still.

For Hogan's Five Lessons view, I spend 20 minutes reviewing the book. The only mention I found of the head was that the chin should be in contact with the left shoulder at the top of the backswing. Didn't mention head activity, unless I missed something.

This GolfLink piece says mainly that Nicklaus as a player (on his drives) and Tiger Woods had lateral head movement. This piece says the head needs to remain behind the ball at impact.
http://www.golflink.com/golf-tips/tips/sullivan006.aspx

Jim Flick also mentions Tiger's movement, and suggests that people confuse a little head movement during the takeaway with major swaying:
http://www.book4golf.com/lessons/

So, what is the nature of still head ? Possibly, are some swing styles tolerant of lateral head movement, whereas others need the still head?
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Up-and-down

I disagree with that. My spine angle changes tremendously throughout the golf swing. So does, for example, Sergio Garcia. And every PGA Tour pro.

But perhaps you don't mean "spine angle." Perhaps you mean your "inclination to the ground." That remains consistent.
Lateral head

Really, really disagree with that. As you suspected I would.

Some PGA Tour pros can get away with a little bit (and really, Tiger's head movement isn't much, and more so with the driver where the exact low point isn't as important), but they swing a thousand times a day and "timing" isn't as much of an issue. The average golfer doesn't have the skill set or repetitions to time that move "back" to the ball after they've moved off it with any consistency. And I'm not worried about the follow through. Nobody's ever suggested you keep your head rigid past impact, and some people like Annika and Duval don't even keep it rigid leading into impact.
For Hogan's

Hogan never said "keep your head steady" because everything he did in his swing - and described in his book - kept his head pretty well centered. Look at the position Hogan describes with the hips and the shoulders in the backswing. The shoulders stay centered, which keeps the head centered.

This GolfLink piece says mainly that Nicklaus as a player (on his drives) and Tiger Woods had lateral head movement.

Their heads didn't/don't move much.

This piece says the head needs to remain behind the ball at impact.

We discussed this recently too. With the driver your head is set up behind the ball. If it stays there, it's "behind the ball" at impact.

With the irons your nose is over the ball at setup and stays there. How can the low point of your swing be three to four inches in front of the ball with, say, a 6-iron if you're trying to keep your head "behind the ball"? "Keep your head behind the ball" is a great way to hit fat shots, thin shots, and weak cuts. It's a great way to fall to the right on your downswing. I think it's bad advice.
So, what is the nature of

I like to keep it still.

Beyond that, I don't know what you're asking...
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Next season I will be going into my second year with the same clubs and the same basic swing. Hopefully, the repeating aspect will improve. In this vein, I wanted to address some of the things

iacas noted in his reply.
But perhaps you don't mean "spine angle." Perhaps you mean your "inclination to the ground." That remains consistent....

That sounds reasonable.

Inclination probably better describes what I was picturing in my mind's eye.
Hogan never said "keep your head steady" ... Hogan ... The shoulders stay centered, which keeps the head centered....

Interesting point. I hadn't noticed that before.

I like to keep it still.

What I was asking is this. In some swing styles, is the still head more critical than in others? I suspect it might be more critical to someone with a power swing - keep things under some control - than someone with more of a tempo swing.

Anyway, this has been an interesting summer. First time in a decade that I really compared different swings against each other, rather than just trying to hone my selected swing style. Also, increased availability of video performance analysis makes swing comparisons much more precise than in past.
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Rather than start a new thread I thought I'd revive this one.  I just saw in a recent post that approximately 1" of lateral head movement is acceptable at a pro level.  What's the max for a high handicapper?

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Originally Posted by newtogolf

Rather than start a new thread I thought I'd revive this one.  I just saw in a recent post that approximately 1" of lateral head movement is acceptable at a pro level.  What's the max for a high handicapper?


Less than one inch? :)

1" is not "acceptable." It's how much the average PGA Tour player moves his head on the backswing with a 5-iron. So "not much at all."

When's the last time you heard of a PGA Tour player who was working on trying to move his head around more?

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Never, was just curious what the benchmark is for pro's and high handicappers like me.

Originally Posted by iacas

Less than one inch? :)

1" is not "acceptable." It's how much the average PGA Tour player moves his head on the backswing with a 5-iron. So "not much at all."

When's the last time you heard of a PGA Tour player who was working on trying to move his head around more?



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Keegan Bradley is the current poster child for lateral head movement in the swing (note that the 1" average includes his far more than 1" in there).  What I find interesting about his swing is that he moves back laterally with prior to turning as far as I can tell and then turns around his spine.  That's different from those of us who try too hard to get width by pushing our left arm back and then move our heads laterally as a result and don't really make a full turn.  I just started taking lessons again after about 10 years off from the game.  The pro had me slow down significantly and when I did that lateral head movement wasn't an issue.  Unfortunately, I also lost about 10 to 15 yards with all my clubs.  The overall result would have been better scores of course if I could have taken it to the course.  I tried the head centered, pull the right shoulder back approach and got both the consistency and distance.  There was a bit more strain on my back however.

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I learned an incorrect backswing will cause your head to shift all over the place. The steady head is paramount to playing good golf..Now when I film and practice if I see a lot of head shifting. I bet it is a old bad backswing faults coming back. I'm not promoting anyone here, but 5 k was right about this. What I learned last night, it isn't something you force "keeping a steady head" . It is the result of everything else. One thing you have to determine, if you are right or left eye dominant. You preset that tilt at address , if all goes right that tilt you created will stay the same.. Never knew those new teaching swing monitors will show things like this. Can't wait to go back for another lesson. :-D
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I learned an incorrect backswing will cause your head to shift all over the place. The steady head is paramount to playing good golf..Now when I film and practice if I see a lot of head shifting. I bet it is a old bad backswing faults coming back. I'm not promoting anyone here, but 5 k was right about this. What I learned last night, it isn't something you force "keeping a steady head" . It is the result of everything else. One thing you have to determine, if you are right or left eye dominant. You preset that tilt at address , if all goes right that tilt you created will stay the same..

Never knew those new teaching swing monitors will show things like this.

Can't wait to go back for another lesson.

Yes if your keeping your back leg too flexed, or if your turn rates are off then the backswing can draw your head to the right.

For me keeping my head still is only possible if I have the proper hip rotation.

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IMO..fixing major issues ( my backswing) will fix other issues., (head movement/ steep transition at times/numerous other issues)..so yes agree saevel Her tip for the winter months without hitting a ball...practice with a glove under my left armpit for the backswing only..done let the glove fall out. Pull the handle into me all the way to the top..( handle in/ clubhead out ).. I actually held that magic tush line when I was doing this right on her camera. And my head was rock solid steady,, said my transition is pretty good..but looks better with her help on the backswing, Well worth the money on that lesson.
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Pros heads dont move on the backswing but ive seen them move away from the target on the downswing. Has anyone else noticed this?
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Pros heads dont move on the backswing but ive seen them move away from the target on the downswing. Has anyone else noticed this?

I think that is more of an optical illusion because the head will rotate, so the golfers is tracking the golf ball.

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You could draw a line, and their heads clearly move away from the line. Its very noticeable on drives
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Pros heads dont move on the backswing but ive seen them move away from the target on the downswing. Has anyone else noticed this?

Typically that doesn't happen, and when it does, it's almost always with the driver.

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