First up, let me convince you to forget the first swing tip you ever got: "Keep your head down"
Out of desperation of years of suffering from the chipping yipps, I was ready to try anything to help my issues. I realized that I would get especially nervous chipping when I had a bad lie, so I decided to simply not look at the lie anymore… or even the ball. Here’s the unconventional technique my desperation drove me to:
The Heads-up Technique
For the first couple practice swings, I keep my eyes down to get a feel for the ground and grass, then, I rotate my head towards the hole and hone my eyes in on the target, usually the landing spot. Nothing odd so far, as most golfers also do this to test the lie and gauge the strength needed for the shot. But instead of bringing my head back down, I just move right into the real swing, still focused on the landing spot, keeping the rhythm and momentum of my practice swings. I immediately started seeing really positive results in my chipping... from any lie! Let me show you why it works and why it’s actually a good technique and how it can even apply to your full swing!
Out of sight, out of mind
Without looking at the ball, I've been able to (mostly) conquer my chipping yipps, that really showed up on bad lies, because the lie is out of sight and out of mind! Without focusing on exactly where the ball is, and how it’s lying, you simply have to trust that your swing will intercept the ball and do what it’s supposed to do without worrying about manipulating the club or trying to help the ball into the air.
Swing through the ball:
Keeping your head up throughout the swing promotes multiple good swing moves... even if it's just for a drill.
Try it out... checkout your practice swings while looking at the target and notice how your club brushes the grass nicely without taking a divot. This is because with your head rotated towards the hole, your shoulders will be slightly more open throughout your swing making your club path more shallow. Furthermore, you will be promoting better timing by leading with the big muscles in your shoulders and core. This will produce more speed through the shot and the club's momentum will take you to a nice full follow-through, even on chips or short pitch shots… rather than jabbing your club into a big divot and chunking the ball.
Bring it to the full-swing!
The benefits illustrated above can also apply to your full swing, but it takes a little altering. On a full swing, it's hard to keep your eyes on the target while trying to attain a full shoulder turn on your backswing. Instead, try picking out an intermediate target just a couple of yards in front of your ball and stay focused on that spot for your entire swing. You'll gain the same benefits in your full swing as described with my chipping technique, plus something extra!
Choose an intermediate target a few yards ahead of your ball:
See something you’ve never seen before!
One really cool thing that happens, is that for the first time in your life, you will see the first 30 yards of your trajectory! Try this on the range by hitting several shots quickly in a row and you’ll really see the trend of how your trajectory starts. You will learn a lot from seeing the path your ball takes-off on and especially the feeling of how and why you shape shots… purposefully or not.
Proven on Tour
This method has been proven with some of the world's greatest players. David Duval, Annika Sorenstam, Stuart Appleby, Henrik Stenson and even Dustin Johnson all do this, but in a more discreet way. Instead of starting with their eyes down the line, they rotate their heads on the downswing to achieve the same position through the impact zone.
Ever seen the first 10 yards of your trajectory? These players sure do!
I invite you to try my technique, if only for a drill, I guarantee that you will see dramatic results. Try it on the range or maybe start with doing it while putting on the practice green and work your way up to the full swing. I believe it will make your swing more fluid and powerful and you'll finally swing "through the ball" since you won't even know where the ball is!