Golf instruction has many different styles of teaching. All have very good principles that can make a student better. Nowhere in any style of instruction will you find the “myths in golf” that I’m going to discuss in this article. To me, these myths are completely over blown and unnecessary swing thoughts. They don’t really accomplish anything and just take up space in your mind. Actually, they can cause you to create a swing that is stiff, lacks in motion and doesn’t produce a consistent bottom of the downswing.
Left Arm Straight
I understand what’s trying to be accomplished with this swing thought, but it’s just not necessary. The interpretation of keeping your left arm straight usually leads to a locked left elbow that can often cause injury. When you address the ball, your arms hang down in front of your chest. The key should be to maintain the length and tension in your arms to the top of the backswing. This will allow you to support the club and keep width in the back swing without locking your elbow. A straight left arm is the way your arms hang down to your sides when you’re standing. The left arm doesn’t need to be any more locked than that.
Keep your Head Down
If I had a dollar every time I’ve heard this key given by a fellow golfer on the driving range in my 35 years of teaching, I’d be a lot closer to retirement. This swing key is useless. It doesn’t help anything except a chin buried in the golfer’s chest that reduces his range of motion, minimizes his turn and causes fat shots. As well, the golfer never sees the shot they hit, which can’t be any fun at all. Instead of keeping your head down, hold your head up positioning your neck in line with the spine. Maintain this position as you swing back and through and you’ll be a lot more consistent with your contact instead of having your chin buried in your chest. You’ll also be able to enjoy your shots a lot more when you can see the ball’s flight.
Often you hear of playing wedges off your back foot and the driver off your front foot. This is way too much movement throughout the stance for ball position. Generally, the irons should be off your nose and woods off your left eye. This allows for only a few inches of movement throughout all the clubs.
Understanding the real story behind these myths in golf instruction can help to minimize swing thoughts. They can also help to improve your swing and ball striking.
Tim Cusick is the Director of Instruction at the Four Seasons Resort and Club/Dallas at Las Colinas. The Northern Texas PGA named Cusick Teacher of the Year in 2005, 2009 and 2015, as well as the 2014 Horton Smith Award winner for education. He’s the author of ‘The Four Keys to Improve your Swing.’ Follow him on Twitter @timcusickgolf and visit his website: timcusickgolf.com.