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The Golf Downswing

Second Magic Move: Keep Your Head Back

The second magic move for a perfect downswing consists of keeping your head back.

The head, at this stage of the golf swing, plays a vital role.

You may have heard and/or read that the head is the anchor of the swing. That's absolutely true.

If we keep the head back as we move the hips laterally, it keeps the upper part of our body from going with the hips and thus loosening or relaxing the tension we have been at such pains to build up with the backswing.

This tension that we had at the top of the swing must be kept as long as possible as the swing comes down to the ball.

This is one of the chief factors that give power to the swing and speed to the club.

If the head comes forward at this point, we lose the tension and get ourselves, in a manner of speaking, "over the ball" as we hit it.

If we keep the head back we do in truth stay back of the ball where we should be.

"The head, as a matter of fact, has a strange little action of its own during the first movement of the downswing."

That is what is meant by the advice to "stay back of the ball."

The head, as a matter of fact, has a strange little action of its own during the first movement of the downswing.

Contrary to the old principle that the head must be kept still at all costs, it moves.

Pictures of our best modern golfers show that the head not only stays back but that it drops somewhat and, with most, even moves backward a couple of inches.

Almost sacrilegious, this seems. Yet there is a logical reason for it: As the hips move as far as they can to the left, and turn when they can move laterally no farther, and as the shoulders tilt, elevating the left and depressing the right, the foody bows out toward the target.

If the head doesn't go forward with the body, it has to come down — unless we suddenly grow a few inches during the downswing.

An archer's bow may be used as an example of what we mean: The bow may measure five feet from tip to tip before it is strung.

When it is strung it curves outward and the distance from tip to tip is less than five feet. When the archer draws it to shoot an arrow, the tip-to-tip distance is still less.

When a golfer hits the ball as he should hit it, his body takes the place of the bow: It curves out toward, the target, and the distance from head to feet is less than when he stands up to the ball.

Another reason the head drops slightly as the ball is hit is that most of the better players develop a rather definite knee bend as they come into the hitting area.

They make it a practice to keep both knees bent all through the swing, as they should be, and when they bring the club down to the ball with great speed, the centrifugal force exerted by the flying club head seems almost to pull them down just slightly and hence bend their knees ever so little more.

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