Golf Tips Newsletter - Issue 305 - July 9th, 2014
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In This Issue  

- Tom's Featured Tip: Keep Your Head Down ?????
- Tom's Bonus Tip: I Remembered Two Things
- Lesson Comments: What Students Have To Say
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Tom's Featured Tip: Keep Your Head Down ?????

For the sake of simplicity, all advice on swings and drills is provided from a right handed perspective; lefties .... well, you know what to do!

I became aware of two events this week that inspired me to write about the head and the neck in the golf swing.

Event number one was that my son Tommy in Florida went to a Dr. to find relief for chronic neck pain. After the Dr. examined his X-rays, he asked Tommy how long ago it was when he broke his neck. The question blew Tommy away, because he was unaware that he had broken his neck.

Tommy did have an incident at a play park with his kids several years ago where he fell off a platform and landed on his head, pushing his chin into his chest. He shook it off and didn't think about it much after that, and certainly not in the context of a broken neck. That event apparently caused the broken neck, which went untreated and now is the cause of a degenerative disc issue in his neck which gives him problems.

Tom was a PGA club pro for a few years in the Buffalo NY area twenty years ago, then he changed professions, and in recent years he has always had a sore neck and minor headaches after golf. He also has a habit of keeping his head down after impact, which was taught for a lot of different swing methods years ago - and still is for a few methods..

He is undergoing treatment now and is getting some relief from his pain.

Event number two was that Chris Carroll, a student of mine and the Director of Golf at Rothlands Golf in Akron NY, let me know that he was in the hospital recently for a neck issue. His Dr. told him it was golf related, but he thinks it may have happened when he was lifting some heavy boxes.

He's feeling OK now, which is timely because he has his first Canadian PGA Event coming up. The Seaforth Country Classic, from July 31st through August 3rd at the Seaforth Golf & Country Club, 1A Doig Dr, Seaforth, ON N0K 1W0, Canada. It's about a three hour drive from Buffalo.

I texted him the advice below to keep him from aggravating the injury.

Another relevant thought that comes to mind is that Davis Love had serious neck surgery due to problems attributed to his particular golf swing technique. Other golf professionals have had the same type of neck problems.

That brings us to the head and neck in the golf swing, and what you can do to avoid neck problems that could occur from your golf swing method.

In a good golf swing, there is always some angle of inclination between the upper torso and the ground that is maintained throughout your swing. I have had better luck with my students by describing this angle as tilt towards the ground.

At address, your upper torso is bent at the waist, or tilted towards the ground. As you swing, it generally goes from front tilt, to side tilt in the backswing, to front tilt at impact, to side tilt again in your follow through.

As this all happens, your head should remain stationary from a lateral movement perspective, but needs to rotate to avoid injury. If you "keep your head down" as in tilted towards the ground in a front facing position through the whole golf swing and do not allow it to rotate - like Davis Love did for years - you are asking for a neck injury.

The older and less supple you get, the more likely it is that injury will occur if you "keep your head down".

To avoid injury, allow your neck to rotate right after impact for all full swings - but not to move laterally backwards or forward, or to straighten upwards. After the ball is off the clubface, go ahead and rotate your head as you still maintain good side tilt towards the ground. That's my definition of staying "down and through".

A technique benefit of swinging this way is that you also execute a faster swing, because keeping your head down also inhibits swing speed and a natural follow through.

On greenside chips and putts, you can - and should - hold the head in a totally stationary position for at least a two count after the strike, because there's not enough stress in the swing to cause a neck problem, and you will insure that you don't stand up through impact (up and out), which is a very common swing flaw I see in poor chips and putts.

So the bottom line is forget "keep your head down" unless you want a poor swing and a neck injury. Instead, maintain good body tilt throughout your swing, and let your head rotate after your strike on all full swings.

Love your practice, enjoy your golf, own your swing,


Tom's Bonus Tip: I Remembered Two Things

For the sake of simplicity, all advice on swings and drills is provided from a right handed perspective; lefties .... well, you know what to do!

Last week I talked about remembering two things when you play.

So I have been thinking about remembering important other elements of my swing, and last weekend it paid off.

I have been playing once or twice per week, and although my ball striking has been good, my driver was constantly going right, a long block.

I gave it some thought and recalled that my early drives were pretty good, but at hole four I started blocking it right.

I realized that by hole four I had been warmed up and my adrenaline was taking charge on my drives. I was swinging hard - not fast - and I was sliding my head just a fraction laterally forward on my downswing. As a result, my clubface was open just enough at impact to start it to the right, thus the block.

So this weekend, I tried to remember just two things - to keep my head stationary but to allow rotation, and to maintain good side tilt into my follow through.

Exactly what I wrote about in todays main tip.

The result was a 72 on Saturday, and a 73 on Sunday, and I was hitting from the fairway most of the time - except for one hole where I forgot to remember and blocked it right. That resulted in a double bogey.

Remember the important things - your own important swing keys - and the rest will fall into place.

Love your practice, enjoy your golf, own your swing,


Golf Lessons

I conduct lessons at The Plum Creek Driving Range & Practice Facility
there's a link for Plum Creek info here:

Lessons are available for all ages and skill levels, please contact
me - Tom Tucker - at (716) 474 3005 or email me at
for more information.

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All the best,

Tom Tucker
Teaching Pro, Plum Creek Driving Range & Practice Facility
WGTF ' "Top 100 Golf Teacher"
USGTF Class "A" Teaching Professional
Cell: (716) 474-3005

"There are no substitutes in the quest for perfection!"
~ Ben Hogan