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No golf tip has been repeated more often, with more unintended consequences, than “Keep your head down.

The problem is, too many golfers take the phrase literally. They stiffen the neck, which tightens the shoulders, which restricts the swing, which causes all sorts of bad golf shots.

Even if the golfer remains tension-free, trying to keep the head still – e.g. your eye on the ball – prevents him from rotating the upper body into the follow-through.

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As long as you understand the importance of watching the ball until the instant of impact, you’re better off forgetting the “head-down” mantra entirely. Once the ball has been struck, the head should turn toward the target as the right shoulder turns underneath it. (For left-handers, it’s the left shoulder.)

It may seem like anything that happens after contact is inconsequential – not true. Because the golf swing is a rapid motion, any post-contact movement begins before impact. If your head stays planted in position all the way to your finish, you will have inhibited the shoulders on the downswing, causing the arms to race ahead. The likely result is a loss of power and a pull or hook.

Allow your head to rise naturally with the motion of your shoulders on the follow-through. You’ll hit longer, straighter shots.