One of the questions asked over at the Brian Manzella forum (www.brianmanzella.com) is 'what's the most ridiculous advice you ever heard?'
I replied 'keep your head down.'
I wanted to expand upon that further, but I have been thinking about this lately and how it relates to bad golf scores and how it effects golf instructors, so I decided to post it here instead
First off, I play with double digit handicappers WEEKLY. I think that puts me in a unique position because I'm dealing with golfers who don't know much about the golf swing and rarely get a lesson, unless they are in dire straits like shanking it.
The problem I think most golf instructors face is that most of their students are people that are seeking them out for instruction and no matter what...were likely to get lessons anyway.
However, according to AMF studies, only 10% of the golfing population actually takes golf lessons. There's the old 80/20 rule in business which says 20% of your customer base will make up 80% of your business. I think this applies well for instructors, if not even more extreme like 10% is 90% of your business.
The average score hasn't gone down in 80 years!
I think this has a lot to do with instruction as well...partly being golfers not getting instruction and to counter...a lot of poor instruction going out there as well.
But the more I play with these double digit handicappers, the more I believe that the reason why the average score hasn't gone down has A LOT to do with the self instruction of 'keeping your head down.' And I mean A LOT, like probably upwards to 80% of the problem.
Here's the main philosophy of the golfer who never takes a lesson or very rarely takes one:
'If I do not get the ball airborn, it's because I moved my head. If I don't move my head, the ball will at least get airborn and will not be hit fat or thin.'
I think most golfers reading this will agree that this statement is pretty close to being accurate as to what these golfers *think*.
However, it's dead wrong about 95% of the time. In fact, here's a sample video of a golfer hitting a ground ball with his head looking down at impact.
I believe that most golfers get frustrated with the game right away and as far as getting a lesson goes, it comes down to their level of faith that if they get a lesson, how much will they improve.
With this belief of 'keeping the head down and you'll get it airborn', I feel that these golfers are somewhat content with that and then judge good golfers as people that have an inordinate amount of talent and/or put in a ton of time in the range.
That can be true, but I think many instructors would agree that you can turn into a pretty good golfer who can break 80 without a ton of natural talent and a ton of time put into the range.
So, if I was an instructor at a club with a membership base I would greatly promote myself debunking the myth of 'keeping your head down.' If anything, I would show that keeping the head down does not mean you will get the ball consistently airborn and that I can show a student how to consistently get the ball airborn.
I think that if promoted aggressively, that will give way to a spike in increased lessons.
Of course, the difficult part is getting the golfer to get the ball consistently airborne. But if that happens, I think many of those golfers will want more, like improved accuracy, more distances and lower scores and they'll do that with more lessons.
While I love getting into the finite aspects of the swing, I think that the scores won't decrease until 'keeping your head down' is thoroughly debunked.