Where your head position should be for every type of golf shot

Welcome to Shaving Strokes, a GOLF.com series in which we’re sharing improvements, learnings and takeaways from amateur golfers just like you — including some of the speed bumps and challenges they faced along the way.

There are so many key elements in the golf swing that an often overlooked piece is where the head position should be. But if you’re among the amateurs who only focus on things like rotation, width in the backswing and where the trail arm should be — and not head position — you’re doing yourself a disservice.

After all, Jack Nicklaus actually went as far as to say that understanding head position in the golf swing is “the most important thing” when it comes to hitting good shots.

“Keep your head right there, dead still,” Nicklaus said. “Feel as though there’s a shaft right down through your head and you just keep it right there and revolve around that area.”

Where should your head position be in the golf swing? Use this guide

While it’s important to understand head positioning in golf, we all know that it varies from shot to shot, meaning it’s in a different spot when using you’re driver compared to when you’re chipping.

But where’s the ideal spot for every shot type? GOLF Top 100 Teacher Kevin Sprecher delivers a go-to guide below to help you out.

1. Full swing (driver)

With the golf ball positioned farthest forward, your head position will be behind it. Avoid excessive rearward spine tilt or shifting too much weight onto the trail foot, and allow your head to move back slightly in the backswing and then forward during the transition into the downswing. Additionally, some backward movement at impact can assist in swinging up on the ball, especially with the driver’s wider stance and faster swing speed.

2. Full swing (irons, hybrids, fairway woods)

Start with your head positioned behind the ball at setup. As you go into your backswing, it may move back slightly, but it should re-center by impact before moving over the lead foot in the finish.

3. Bunker shots

Keep your head on or slightly in front of the ball, and avoid hanging back in the downswing to prevent fat or thin shots. This can be a common problem for many amateur golfers, who tend to try and scoop when hitting from the sand — which causes them to lean back and throw off their head position in the golf swing.

4. Pitch shots

Similar to hitting from the bunker, you’ll want to keep your head either centered over the ball or just slightly forward, maintaining most of your weight on the front foot. As you go into your backswing, you should feel as if you’re on top of the ball, letting your head follow the movement of your body into the downswing.

5. Chip shots

To help promote a steeper angler of attack on chip shots, position your head just slightly in front of the golf ball. Similar to other short-game shots, keep the weight on your lead foot and avoid dropping your head back during the swing to prevent against chunking or skulling.

6. Putting

Keep your head steady and centered, avoiding any excessive movement during your entire swing axis. A good trick to see if you’re doing this is by practicing in front of a mirror or watching your shadow, which helps ensure consistency.

Maintaining the proper head position in the golf swing will significantly impact both your shot consistency and accuracy. So practice each one of these positions to get the feel you need in order to make better ball contact.

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