Why this common piece of swing advice is actually a huge myth

Being told to "keep your head down" isn't actually good advice.

@JonathanYarwood

If you’ve been around golf for any meaningful amount of time, you’ve likely heard the advice to “keep your head down” or “keep your head still.” When someone starts struggling to make consistent contact, there’s always someone nearby to suggest they keep they focus on the movement of their head.

The advice is well-intentioned, and to the uninformed, it makes perfect sense! Too much movement with your head means that you’re (theoretically) taking your eyes off the ball. And it’s tough to hit something you aren’t actively looking at.

However well-intentioned this advice may be, though, it’s actually not all that helpful. In fact, according to GOLF Top 100 Teacher Jonathan Yarwood, the advice is a huge myth.

“As soon as you keep your head still, your body stops turning,” Yarwood says. “You get kind of too close to the ball and your extremities have to start fishing for the ball. You’ve actually got more chance of topping the ball and hitting a bad shot while keeping your head still than you have when actually letting it do what it’s supposed to do.”

With an iron, your head should slightly move off the ball (to the right) when you take it to the top of the backswing. Then, on the way down, your head will move down as you push into the ground and then forward from where it was at the top of the swing. After impact, it will continue moving forward and then up as you follow the ball on its flight.

“Your head is moving quite a lot with an iron shot,” Yarwood says. “It’s not staying still. That allows me to move my body and keep my body flowing, which pulls the club and allows me to hit a decent shot.”

The same is true with a driver, although the head movement is slightly different. Once again, your head will sway off the ball on the way back and then slightly down to begin the downswing. But as you near impact, your head will actually shift a little backward in order to create an upward angle of attack.

“It definitely does not stay still,” Yarwood says. “Let your head move around as it’s supposed to … Do not keep it still. That is yet another myth.”

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Zephyr Melton is an assistant editor for GOLF.com where he spends his days blogging, producing and editing. Prior to joining the team at GOLF.com, he attended the University of Texas followed by stops with Team USA, the Green Bay Packers and the PGA Tour. He assists on all things instruction and covers amateur and women’s golf.