By Rick Smith
How many times have you been told to keep your head down when hitting chips and short pitches, but you still hit them fat? And the more fixated you are on this swing tip, the worse things get.
Turns out, it's not you, it's the advice. The thought of keeping your head down creates tension in your hands and arms, which restricts you from swinging the club through the ball and into a balanced and controlled finish with your weight on your left foot.
If you're struggling to execute these shots, here's one thought I'd like you to concentrate on instead: Track the ball with your eyes. This will make you rotate your head toward the target during the through-swing.
“Pivoting your head reduces tension.”
Allowing your head to pivot like this reduces tension, encourages good body rotation and promotes solid contact. It also works because it puts the club on a shallow path into the ball. Instead of snagging it in the grass, the sole slides along the turf so you can pick the ball cleanly. This technique works so well, top pros such as Henrik Stenson and Annika Sorenstam let their heads rotate on full swings, too. —With Roger Schiffman