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Instruction: Head Movement in the Golf Swing

Lydia Ko swing analysis - head motion

Keep your head still.

If you’ve played golf for any amount of time you’ve likely heard this phrase. It has passed on through generations of golfers, all believing it to be true because of how often it is repeated.

Unfortunately, the statement has likely ended up causing more grief than success for many golfers.

The golf swing a motion of the body that requires plenty of movements to create the force that moves a golf club, and precise alignments in order to match up the golf club with the golf ball in a successful manner. It would be nice to simplify it for easy consumption, but that’s not the reality.

Consider head movement, for example. The head is attached to the spine; it does not move independent of it. So, if your head is restricted it will also likely to restrict the motion of your shoulders, torso, and pelvis, all connected to it. That’s a very inefficient way to create any amount of power in the golf swing. Let alone any other chaos it can produce that works against you.

If you watch the best golfers in the world closely you will see that there is, in fact, some movement in the head, both in the backswing and the downswing. Yes, it not a major lateral shift, we are still trying to control where the arc of the swing gets to its low point to have quality impact conditions between the club and ball, but here IS some head movement. A few inches, for certain. We see that in 3D body measurements all the time. It may be less noticeable in full speed videos, but slow down a video and you’ll clearly see it.

Don’t restrict the head as much as you think and you’ll likely have a better overall swing motion.

To better understand the head motion, have a look at this video analyzing the swing of one of the best players in the world, Lydia Ko.

/ Scott MacLeod is the Associate Publisher of Flagstick/Flagstick Golf Magazine and a Class A member of the PGA of Canada