I’ve been a PGA Professional for nearly a decade, and have taught golf for 18 years, so I’ve seen and heard every myth out there about the golf swing.
But there are two misconceptions about the swing that I would like to squash right now, so we can all continue with the correct information.
The first myth is that we have to keep our head down during the swing. Nothing could be further from the truth. The head will, and should, move throughout the golf swing.
How many times have you watched golf on TV and seen a touring professional holding his finish with his head in the exact position that he started the swing with? Answer: never!
If your head doesn’t move while you’re swinging it will ultimately get in the way of the body rotation and arm swing. Focus on keeping your eye on the ball—if you keep your eye on the ball throughout the swing your head can move freely and won’t get in the way of the fluid motion the body is producing.
The second myth is that we need to keep our left arm straight. I hear that all the time because we watch those great players on TV and the left arm (for a right handed golfer) appears to be extended straight when they reach the top of the backswing. In fact, the left arm is always bent at least a little bit when you’ve reached the top of your backswing.
When you try to keep your left arm straight all you do is increase the tension in your arms while you’re swinging. This increased tension will lead to slower clubhead speed and also make it tougher to return the clubface to square at impact, or release the clubhead properly. Trying to keep your left arm straight will result in shorter, more crooked golf shots.
So the next time you mishit a shot, whiff, and/or top a shot, and your playing partner tells you that you didn’t keep your head down, please not only correct their misguided advice, but remind them that is what amateurs say who don’t know any better!
Mark Wehrman is the PGA Head Professional at the Big Sky Resort Golf Course.