Director of Instruction
Fisher Bryan Golf Academy at Longbow Golf Club
Golf Instruction has been around a long time and so have some of the “fundamental” statements that people have heard. However, if taken literally, some of these statements can actually be more detrimental to your game than helpful.
Let’s start with, “Keep your head down”. Whoever first said this, I am sure did not actually mean for students to keep their head down, but rather was trying to find a way to help them maintain their posture throughout the swing. Taking this statement literally has caused countless golfers to bury their chins in their chests, which inhibits their backswing. Or, keep their eye pasted to the spot where the ball used to lay long after impact has happened. Doing this stops them from turning into a finish.
How about, “Keep your left arm straight”. For most golfers “straight” creates feelings of stiffness that certainly do not belong in the golf swing. Perhaps a better word may have been “extended” since I am certain the first person who coined this phrase was trying to keep students from collapsing their arms in the backswing.
Maybe my favorite is the old standby, “Pretend like you are sitting on a bar stool.” I have tried for a long time to come up with exactly how this phrase may have been meant to create help to a golfer, but I cannot seem to find it! Sitting on a bar stool drops your hips down, bends your knees too much and makes your spine much too vertical to ever be able to swing the club at the ball. “Lean over the bar” may have been a more helpful tip!
But, my main point is that often phrases are used by instructors to elicit feeling rather than literal actions and by taking them literally they can do more harm than good. So, the next time one of your playing buddies tells you to, “Keep your head down”, smile a knowing smile and smash the ball down the center of the fairway!
Jeff Fisher is the Director of Instruction at the OB Sports Golf Academy at Longbow Golf Club in Mesa, Arizona. Jeff can be reached at 480.414.9330 or firstname.lastname@example.org.