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Golf doctor: Kevin's casebook.

Byline: Kevin Craggs

THIS week I look at a player suffering from a common complaint among amateurs - topping the ball. When it happens, the first thing they say to themselves is, "I lifted my head, I never kept my eye on the ball".

Often they are right but trying to keep your head down for a long time can lead to many other problems. Let's look at this week's pupil and see if we can solve the mystery behind the myth of keeping your head down

PUPIL CASE STUDY Name: Ali Shanks Age: 41 Occupation: Lap dancer Weaknesses: Rubber wellies and lycra pants Ambitions: Play with Alan Partridge Problems: Topping the ball

PRO CASE STUDY Name: Colin Montgomerie Age: 39 Occupation: Tour pro Weaknesses: Trusting women Ambitions: Keep enjoying golf Problems: Spectators with cameras

HOW many times has someone told you the reason for your bad shot is because you lifted your head to soon?

It happens to be the most commonly used phrase by amateur golfers and is allegedly the reason for 90 per cent of all bad shots.

I suppose it might be a contributing factor but keeping your head down for too long can cause other problems.

Look at the picture of Ali and you can see his head has come up about a fortnight too early and to strike a golf ball consistently from this position is practically impossible.

Former Open champion and world No.1 David Duval resembled the position of our case study at impact - his head would come up early and the club would then power through into a perfect finish.

The difference is he is in the minority and you have to be incredibly skilled to deliver the club consistently back to the ball every time.

This week I've chosen Colin Montgomerie as my tour pro comparison as he demonstrates perfectly the head position post-impact.

Colin's swing produces results under the most severe pressure situations. It is important that through impact a player allows his arms to hit past his head.

Then the head will move up in conjunction with the right shoulder swinging through towards the target. The longer you keep your head down the harder it is for your shoulders to pass through, causing the arms to collapse and fold too soon, resulting in disastrous strikes.

Ali should concentrate on hitting a few shots off a tee peg. It is important he tries to see the tee peg before lifiting his head. Then he'll know the ball is on its way towards the target.

That will be his cue to lift his head up.

I tell my pupils to focus on seeing the strike. It is amazing how many people think they are looking at the ball when in fact they lose sight of it midway through the downswing.

It's worth marking your ball with a pen, giving you something to focus on as you swing back and down.

Focus on a particular part of the ball, keep the head steady as opposed to still and lift your head after the strike.

Do this on every shot and you will hit the ball much more consistently
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Sep 29, 2005
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