Keep Your Head Still…or Maybe Not

“Keep your head down. Keep your head still” are perhaps the most often heard bits of swing advice to recreational golfers from their playing partners. The trouble is, both admonishments are wrong and attempting to keep the head still especially with the chin firmly pressed downward can result in poor ball contact, a loss of distance and control.

The “head down” problem is a function of the setup position but easily fixed by correctly addressing the ball with the chin up and the derriere pushed out slightly so your weight is balanced and you’re in an athletic position…think of a shortstop preparing for the crack of the bat.

The “head still” is a little harder to fix since if the head does move, how much is OK and how much is not? Teaching professionals will tell you that the head moving slightly (maybe 2 inches?) towards the right on the backswing is correct. On the downswing the head moves back to the starting point and when the club actually hits the ball the head is moving slightly back to the right again which is described as “staying behind the ball.”

The amount of head movement and in what sequence is difficult to learn even with the help of an instructor but now there is some new technology called the PowerPlane to give you the feedback you need.

PowerPlane is simple to use, just attach the hat clip above your left ear (assuming a right handed swing), place the sensor on the clip (it’s magnetic) and set up to a ball with the PowerPlane unit parallel to the line of the shot.

If your head is out of position at address or if it goes too far in either direction during the swing the unit beeps.

We tested it and it works actually showing two of the testers they were set up too far forward at address meaning they effectively were positioning themselves for a reverse pivot. It also quickly showed there was a lot of movement on the downswing by the single digit handicap tester, sending him back to the pro shop for more range balls.

We like that the PowerPlane was equally good if you are having problems with head movement during you putting stroke or when chipping. The sound of the beep is particularly telltale for the lookup before impact either with a putter or wedge.

Negatives: Some may feel the price of $189 is a little expensive.

Recommendation: If you have conquered the problems caused by keeping your head down toward your chest and need help for fat and thin shots plus want more distance from better contact the PowerPlane can go a long way to solving the problem. For additional technical information and to purchase visit PowerPlaneGolf.net. Included in the purchase price is free shipping and a PowerPlane hat and there’s a 30-day money back guarantee.

DST-Hitting it Pure

DSTCompressor_400x300At last January’s PGA Merchandise Show I came across a booth with a huge banner manned by Englishman Bertie Cordle. The banner showed a golfer striking what anyone would have to say was a perfect iron shot.

On display were wedges and irons but not normal wedges and irons. Each had a pronounced curvature to the shaft so naturally I asked what it was all about. Cordle’s explanation made tremendous sense.

To hit it pure, we know irons must be struck with a descending blow having the hands ahead of the clubhead. But as with a lot of things, golfers often find this is one of those easy-to-say-hard-to-do moves that we struggle to master. Our swings produce poor hits maybe because the club is not on plane but usually because our hands are behind the ball.

Aside from the speed of our swings, that poor club-ball contact is undoubtedly the biggest difference between the typical amateur and the touring professionals and the probably the biggest reason we don’t score up to our potential.

CompressorClubsCordle, a teaching professional who understands all of this, figured out to train amateurs to make proper and impact…i.e., hit it pure, he needed an easy to use and understand training aid. Thus, after a lot of trial and error, the Compressor clubs were born from his company DST Golf.

There are two, an 8-iron and a wedge (each $100), with curved shafts so to hit it properly the swing must be on plane, the weight shifted to the left (for right-handers) and the hands ahead of the ball at impact. In other words, the entire package for producing better iron shots. You are instructed to replicate the impact position of hands ahead of the ball at address and there’s an alignment line on the hosel to help.

Cordle explained in an email…”here are a few things to bear in mind when using the 8 iron compressor for the first time. Due to the curvature of the shaft it is not unusual for players to hit it fat for the first few shots. If this happens you will be forced to get more weight onto your lead foot prior to impact. Secondly don’t be surprised to see a draw flight path or a pull. If you do see this ball flight, the compressor is encouraging you to hold your hands off for longer through pact. So you have a flatter lead wrist. Essentially, the club requires that you swing the club face square or minutely open to the target line for 15cm longer than a conventional club. It forces you to feel how to control the club face through impact.”

The DST Compressor Wedge uses the same principle but where the wedge really pays for itself is teaching how to hit pitches and chips. It is amazing to watch someone who has been hitting it fat or blading the ball over the green–typical wrist-flipper moves–all of a sudden see the ball go towards the hole with a nice trajectory and actually spin to a stop.

After a series of practice range sessions with both clubs I can report simply they work. Improvement wasn’t instantaneous but after a couple of range sessions I figured what it took to swing for a much more powerful on-line blow and my iron game really improved.

Now if I could just putt.