My Golf Instructor
Sign up for the Ask Maria Featured Question of the Day
By clicking Sign Up, you agree to our Terms of Use and our Privacy Policy.

Question on Diagnosing Problems:

Everyone is always telling me keep your head down and keep your eye on the ball. How do I break this habit of looking up?
--Thomas O. from Mansfield, TX

Hi Thomas. Thanks for writing MyGolfInstructor.com.

I have always held that keeping your head down and keeping your eye on the ball are two totally different things in golf. In all sports you should keep your eye on the ball. What that means for golfers is that as soon as the ball is struck and takes off, the eyes should follow it. Unfortunately, too many golfers are told to keep their head down and as a result, they actually keep their eyes down too long. Often times this results in not seeing where their balls are headed. What's worse though, is that keeping their eyes and head for that matter down too long restricts their body turn through the shot and causes them to use more hands through impact. Keeping your eye on the ball is critical for hand eye coordination, seeing where your ball goes and making sure that you rotate through shot.

Lets talk more about keeping your head down. The first thing you should know is that all good players move their head somewhat. None of them keep it perfectly still. It is also rare for someone to just lift their head up. It's usually their whole back because of a change in posture. That's why I've always thought of "keep your head down" as somewhat of an old wives' tale. What I like to tell my students is "keep your spine down". It is important that once we establish good posture, that we remain in it throughout the swing. If your posture remains the same and your swing center remains the same distance from the ball, you could lift your chin up or even look away from the ball and still make solid contact. Take David Duval and Annika Sorenstam for instance. Those are two great players who don't even look at the ball when they strike it.

Your buddies are probably telling you that because you top a lot of shots I'm assuming. You are more likely short arming it or standing up if you are topping, than having and issue with your eyes or head.

My recommendation would be to get your rear end against a wall and practice making swings with or without a club back and through while keeping your rear against the wall. If your rear end stays back, then your back will stay down and you will likely feel a stretch on the finish you haven't before. This will teach you to remain in your posture until your swing is fully complete.

I hope that helps and be sure to use our free practice planner and game tracker so we can get a more complete picture of your game to better help you.

By:

Other Related Tips on Diagnosing Problems
Who is Maria Palozola?
- Top 50 LPGA Instructors in the World
- A Golf Digest Top 10 Teacher in Illinois
- A Golf Magazine Top Teacher in the Midwest
Who is Maria Palozola?
- Top 50 LPGA Instructors in the World
- A Golf Digest Top 10 Teacher in Illinois
- A Golf Magazine Top Teacher in the Midwest
- More about Maria
- Golf Questions
Golf instruction made simple
Golf Overview
Overall Game
- Getting Started
- Equipment
- Golf Fitness
- Junior Golf
- Mental Game
- Practice
- Rules of Golf
Short Game
- Bunkers
- Chipping
- Pitching
- Putting
Full Swing
- Pre-Swing Fundamentals
- Shot Making
- Diagnosing Problems
- Driving
- Hybrids and Woods
- Irons
Playing Golf
Ball Striking
- Fitness (78)
Basics
- Course Management (82)
- Getting Started in Golf (75)
- Practice (66)
Course Management
- Club Selection (66)
- Equipment (107)
Driving
- Driving (68)
Putting
- Putting (127)
Rules
- Golf Rules (69)
Short Game
- Bump and Run (72)
- Chipping (82)
Problems
Ball Striking
- Chunking (79)
- Distance Control (86)
- Fat Shots (92)
- Flipping (48)
- Poor Accuracy (118)
- Slicing (48)
- Thin Shots (85)
- Topped Shots (52)
Distance
- Lack of Distance (108)
Putting
- Putting Accuracy (72)
Swing Plane
- Blocking (50)
- Inside Out (56)
- Outside In (59)
- Over the Top (49)
- Pulling (54)
- Pushing (66)
- Releasing Early (47)
The Swing
Grip
- Grip (65)
Setup
- Alignment (55)
- Balance (50)
- Ball Position (80)
- Posture (77)
- Setup (117)
Swing Plane
- Backswing (84)
- Controlling Trajectory (47)
- Divot (48)
- Downswing (67)
- Impact (103)
- On Plane (85)
- Path (84)
- Power (71)
- Shaft Plane (63)
- Swing Plane (112)
- Weight Shift (79)