So I went over to Dave Orr's trusty forum and asked some questions about this because 'neck tilt' is almost never talked about in popular golf instruction.
David replied that this neck tilt down is caused by the fact that I have the head tilted *upward* at address. And that this neck tilt down effects my PIVOT and my downswing path, among other things.
Tilting the head upward at address is something I've done since I was a teenager, as I was taught to do so because it would help me get better shoulder turn on the way back. This is actually a popular piece of instruction. Golfers who also have their head titled upward at address include Tiger Woods and Adam Scott, both of whom have a neck tilt issue of their own, just not as pronounced as my neck tilt.
David then explained the fix is pretty simple, get the head tilted more downward at address so the eyes are 'centered' over the ball. Here's some pretty famous golfers at address who have a slight downward neck tilt
Look at those photos again. Their eyes are all either centered with the ball or very close to it. And look at my address position again.
See how I have to look down at the ball because my 'sight line' is directed about where the headcovers on my stand bag?
According to some of the posters over at Orr's forum, like 'Pinnacle', what basically happens is when the golfer tilts the neck upwards at address, they tilt it back down in the swing because they are trying to get back into the position where they can see the ball properly with their eyes. This causes the perception of where the club is supposed to swing to be altered. Remember, how I talked about in my last lesson with Ted Fort we had talked about how my downswing gets a bit vertical and then has to shallow out? I believe that problem is being caused by the neck tilt.
A simple solution to this is to get a laser pointer and address the ball with a club. Then put the laser pointer between your eyes and see where it aligns to the ball. I've been doing this and it works. The only problem is that since I've ingrained it for so long, I have a tendency to want to tilt my head upwards at address again.
For more on David's forum, check out his Web site at http://www.orrgolf.com/.