Do you keep your eye on the ball? Really?

Mar 15, 2015

Do you keep your eye on the ball? Really?

Posted: 22 Mar 2015 11:00 AM PDT

My biggest pet hate in my coaching is when a golfer tells me the reason for hitting a bad shot, or for topping the ball, was because they lifted their head or took their eye off the ball.


The next time you play with your golfing colleagues, try standing to the side of the player as they are hitting a shot and stare as hard as you can at the ball as they swing.  I absolutely guarantee you will not be able to see the club hit the ball.

Impact - defined as the time it takes for the club to collide with the ball and then for the ball to leave the clubface - lasts about 0.0004 seconds on an average shot. This may change with club selection and shot choice, but research has shown that it does not change that drastically.

To put this into perspective, impact is about 800 times quicker than the speed of your sight.

I am making this point to tackle what I believe is a major misconception in golf – that you must your head down and still during your swing.

For example, in a recent TV broadcast of the PGA Tour event at Pebble Beach in California, cameras picked up a very different view of the swing of eventual winner Brandt Snedeker.  This particular camera angle, looking from the ground in front of him at a slight angle, revealed two things. 

When starting his downswing, Snedeker actually lets go of his right index finger and thumb, and then re-grips the club.  This is clearly something which I would not recommend any golfer to do, but it is an idiosyncrasy of his own particular technique. 

The second thing was that he closed his eyes through impact. Yes that’s right, he literally takes his eyes completely off the ball.

Now, I can hear many of you saying, well what do the best players on the planet look at when their head stays down for a really long period of time after impact?

The honest answer it could be anything.  Once they find something that works, whether it be looking at a blade of grass behind the ball or a specific dimple or marking on the ball, they will keep repeating that same focus, as they know it works for them.

Also, most of the golfers on tour are highly flexible and incredibly strong athlete, meaning they are able to maintain that position, mostly due to their postural strength and stability.

It does not mean however that they have consciously kept their head still, or down.  The head, as a result of the rest of the torso moving throughout the swing motion, has to move at some point, and this normally occurs when the torso moves through impact.

So, moving forward with your golf, don’t fear moving your head.  Allow your torso to move naturally and it will all fall into place.

Two golfers who I coach are blind and play to a very high standard.

They have cheap replica handbags recently challenged me to a ‘blind golf match’.  The results may be interesting, and I am sure will be reported in the coming months.


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