One important movement during the down swing is to ensure the head remains level or slightly behind the ball at impact.
This is especially important with the longer irons and woods. One great way to achieve this position is to ‘lay the head on a pillow’ during the down swing.
Coming into impact, if a player can feel the head is tilting back and resting on an imaginary pillow resting on the left shoulder they should be able to keep the head back at impact. This position will also allow the head to be brought up naturally after impact as the left shoulder rises. Laying the head on a pillow can also be a great position to incorporate into the set up.
During the back swing for a left handed golfer, the shoulders rotate around the spine angle until they have turned about 90 degrees to the target. At the top of the back swing, the right shoulder rotates and sits underneath the chin. For this to happen, there must be room. If the right shoulder begins to turn but is impeded by the chin, the back swing will either be incomplete or the head and body will rise up which will lead to problems during the down swing. The main problem will be the lack of power being generated as the shoulders don’t complete the turn possibly leading to a ‘thrash’ or hit with the arms and hands on the way through the ball.
The easiest way to ensure this doesn’t happen is to not impede the turn of the shoulders, laying your ‘head on a pillow’ at address will help accomplish this.
1. At address, get your stance set appropriate to the club being used. For this explanation, imagine you are hitting a driver.
2. Take a solid grip and place the ball just inside the right heel. This forward ball position will allow an upward arc during the down swing, striking the ball more on the upswing.
3. The shoulders should be tilted slightly away from the target.
4. Now pretend there is a comfortable pillow resting on the left shoulder. To hold the imaginary pillow in place, the head must be tilted sideways and resting on the pillow.
5. By tilting the head sideways, the chin is moved backward and upward allowing room for the right shoulder to turn.
Left handed golfers can practice this drill with any club to better get the feeling of resting the head on the pillow. If you are very keen, you can even take a pillow down to the driving range although the stares from friends and playing partners could follow!
By resting the head on the pillow, left handed players will find they are more capable of turning the right shoulder underneath the chin as it has been moved out of the way. A complete shoulder turn will improve the back swing and allow for a greater amount of power to be built up throughout impact. During the down swing, repeating this position will allow the left handed golfer to remain behind the ball at impact, coming up naturally after the ball is struck.