Ever hear a fellow golfer say, “I looked up.”, “My head moved up.” or “I didn’t stay down on that shot?” I hear it quite often, too often in fact. Sometimes I am the one saying it. It always follows a poor shot. My golfing buddy, Mike, likes to quote an often heard cliché that goes, “If you want to see a bad shot, look up.”
I suppose looking up is among the most common golf swing faults. Do you know what I am talking about? Well just because it is common doesn’t mean we can excuse ourselves for doing it. It is a swing fault and if we are afflicted with it we must do our best to correct it.
Over the years there have been several inventions available that claimed to help the golfer correct this fault. The most famous and humorous version was the one that connected the golfer’s head to his groin. Lifting up would inflict the most severe pain a man can know. That would sure motivate a fellow to keep his head down!!
Since that method is out of the question for most of us, what is the best way to stop looking up too early? The answer to that question will depend on why your head is moving up during the shot. You could be lifting your head due to a balance problem or you could be overly anxious to watch the ball flight.
Let’s talk today about that second reason. We cover the first in a different article.
It’s you. You are peeking to see where your shot is headed. You don’t want to lose another ball do you? Or maybe you so enjoy the beauty of the ball in flight that you don’t want to miss it?
The truth is if you look up too soon in anticipation of watching the ball flight you will never see anything good. This is a controllable body movement. Your looking up is a normal part of the golf swing. It is just happening before your club makes contact with the ball and that is too soon.
This action of looking up moves your entire upper body up as well. Now the club head is moved up and an ugly shot is the result. All because you wanted to see the ball flying before it ever left the club face.
The good news is that since you are the one causing yourself to look up, you can correct the problem just the same. Here are a few thoughts on just how to go about fixing this looking up problem.
Focus your swing thoughts on any one of the following keys during the swing.
1. Wait until your trailing arm touches your chin before looking up.
2. See the hit. Focus on watching the ball until it is gone.
3. For those using a one plane swing. Point your chin at the ball at address and leave it there until the ball is gone. This will help you create and maintain the spine angle throughout the shot.
4. For those using a two plane swing. Look at the ball through your forward eye. Once you are at address rotate your head so that you are viewing the ball mainly through the forward eye. Jack Nicklaus recommends this as a way to keep the ball in your field of vision a second or two longer.
Remember, “If you want to see a bad shot, look up.”
These solutions will only help you if you work to make them a habitual part of your golf game. If you will do so, you will find that your ball striking will improve dramatically with just these few suggestions.
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by Wayne Hudler