Where Should Your Head Be Throughout the Swing?

By | on March 6, 2015 | 43 Comments | Array


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Paul Wilson is the creator of Swing Machine Golf and founder of Ignition Golf. Paul's golf swing technique is based on the Iron Byron swing machine. YouTube Channels: Paul Wilson Golf and Ignition Golf Tips. Please Join me on Google+

43 Responses to “Where Should Your Head Be Throughout the Swing?”

  1. July 20, 2012


    Great reminder Paul – Thanks
    I made several attempts to send a video of my swing to Pete at [email protected], but failed ever time. I keep getting a message saying the server has rejected the address. Any thoughts?
    Mark K

  2. Wow Paul. That was the best slow motion video of your swing that I have seen yet. I am a big fan of your teaching and I think that your the best instructor. RG members that follow you should also sign on with Ignition! I am improving weekly and am surprised with the results. This is another great tip. When playing the first few holes I am pulling the ball. After a while, I loosen up and hit straight. My head position maybe forward and this would naturally causea pull. I’ll watch for it next time on the course. Thanks again. Gerry

    • Thanks for the support Gerry.

      The RG members just don’t know this site is here yet. Hopefully they find out about it.

      You are right. If the head gets close to this line you will most likely pull it. Keep staying behind it and working on starting the lower body first in the downswing. This is what should be creating this backwards lean at impact.

      Here are the tips to cure a pull if you need them:

      Pull: https://ignitiongolf.com/cure-pulled-shot

      Pull 2: https://ignitiongolf.com/cure-pulling

  3. July 20, 2012


    Great tip Paul. It also showed me another fault and that is in ball position, I would be PW off the back and 7 iron mid point, so another adjustment to make. Keep them coming…!!!!

    • Martin, ball position is very important. Too far back and the club will be swinging too much from the inside. Also too far back and you will be de-lofting your club. This is just a simple way to remember it.

  4. Paul love your website, you’re a genius when it comes to the golf swing. I was like yourself, a self taught golfer that could shoot in the 70’s one day and then shoot in the 90’s the next. I have been doing your Swing Machine Golf program for the past 5 weeks and the results have been phenomenal. I have one question? I have been picking out much shorter targets with everyclub (not just my driver) in my bag and it has really slowed my swing down which is great, smooth as silk. Do you suggest this? Or should I only be doing this only with the longer clubs? I find if I have a 130 yard approach shot and I grab my nine iron and look for a target on the green I get locked up, if I have a target only 50 yards down the line I will hit a smooth swing that will land on the green. Have you ever done a video on shorter targets with the result being a longer target in mind? Does this make sense to you?


    • Johnathan, thank you for the kind words and supports. It’s greatly appreciated.

      I really like this drill with all clubs. Most people cannot do this drill. This takes total control and taking the arms out of the swing. So please keep doing it. This is just on the range though. When you go to play you should be swinging at no more than 80%.

      I have done this video as a drill in the past I just cannot find it.

      I think it might be in this tip:

      Why You Can’t Stop Hitting With Arms: https://ignitiongolf.com/cure-hitting-with-arms

  5. I am playing 1 iron single length clubs and they recommend to play all irons with the ball in a center position. My clubs have the same length as my old Taylor Made PW so I have played them in the middle of my stance but I can see that you play PW two balls inside your left heel. Should I move my ball forward in my stance?


    • Niels, This is hard to say as I have never hit these single length clubs. I would go slightly ahead of center in the stance. I do like this idea of single length clubs. I need to try them sometime.

  6. Hi Paul,
    After reviewing your last two tips, it finally got through……… It being start the uncoil with the lower body. Now I know why you keep saying “I will keep saying it until they get it”. Up til these two tips, I thought I was using my body for power, not my arms. However the results showed different. I was pulling the ball most of the time, which was a better thing than my slice, but not the desired result. For some reason this time when you said and showed leading with the lower body it clicked. Then I went to practice and guess what……….straight shot each time. The previous tip on grip was a great tip too, showing me a slight flaw in my grip which when corrected made the rehinge so much more natural.
    Thank you for dilligently going over and over and over on these tips!

    • If you were pulling it your arms were starting down first. Just need to turn them off and start the lower body first. In doing so, this action tilts the upper body back. Using the legs is like hitting the accelerator on a car. You have to keep doing it until you are good at it. Remember, if you learned as an adult you learned wrong. You need to get good at doing the opposite to what you have done (legs).

      I think you are getting it. Just stay focused.

      Do these 2 drills. As you do them feel like you are swinging up at it. You can only get this feeling if you stay behind it:

      Swing Off Ground: https://ignitiongolf.com/drill-swing-off-ground

      Listen to Club Swinging: https://ignitiongolf.com/drill-listen-to-club

  7. Paul – I notice that, during you downswing, your head DROPS considerably. I’m assuming that this is simply the result of firing your lower body and not an explicit move on your part. Am I correct? Thanks!

  8. September 22, 2012


    Hi Paul – Like previous poster Mike I have noticed your head movement in relation to objects in the background. It seems to be not just down but towards the ball, say about 45 degrees down and forward. I was a little surprised because I thought that the body tilt resulting from the leg movement would have meant a movement down and back (away from the ball).
    Also if it’s not just my imagination the movement seems greater with the wedge that with the driver.
    Any thoughts on this would be great.

    • September 24, 2012

      Paul Wilson


      I don’t see what you are seeing. I get to the top. The head is well behind the ball. In the transition it initially moves a little forward. This is due to the shifting of the weight. Then it goes right back behind the ball at impact where it way at the top. I do turn my head on a weird angle in the downswing. This i something I have never been able to fix. It think this is because I am looking at it out of my right eye.

      My body is angled well behind the club with all clubs. I think you are confusing my head swiveling a little left with the head staying behind the ball. You should be working on using the lower body to power the downswing and keeping your head behind the ball. As I test just hit shots tilting your upper body left and right at the range you will see where the ball starts. Once you see that tilting your body left will start it left every time you will never want to be in this position.

      • September 25, 2012


        Hi Paul – Thank you for this feedback.
        I think I need to look at the video again.
        I should have said the first time that I am finding your tips generally very helpful in my game. It is just this particular one that confused me – at least until now.

        • September 26, 2012

          Paul Wilson


          Glad you are benefiting from the tips. Keep at it. The head behind the ball is takes a little work but you should get it in no time. I want you to manually feel it staying behind the ball. I remember doing this many years ago. I worked on it because I was sick of skying the ball. After I kept my head behind it I never skyed another shots again. This was 25 years ago at least.

          Did you watch this tip:

          Impact Head Behind Ball: https://ignitiongolf.com/impact-head

      • Paul:
        Great visuals of your swing in slow motion. I have to agree with Mike and Matthew that it appears your head drops quite a bit during the swing, and I assume the body drops too. If you look at the background versus your head during your swing, it will become clear how much the head drops. I thought maybe this was necessary in order to take a divot as you swing through the ball. It almost looks like a conscious effort to lower the head and body even though the middle of your body is driving the turn.

        • David,

          I am not actually purposely dropping my head. My head is dropping because I am on more of an angle at impact than when I was at address plus I am looking at what I am hitting (ball).

          To understand it, take a flexible ruler or something similar. Have it vertical. Now bend it. When you do you will see it is now shorter than the one that is not bent. The more you bend it, the lower (shorter) it becomes. So you get this tilt by driving the lower body in the downswing. It is like hitting an accelerator on a car. When you drive the legs (fast/hard/quick) the mass of your upper body hangs back. You then hit the ball then it goes to a vertical position on top of the second axis (left leg).

          Yes, this is necessary to take a divot. You need the tilt plus full extension of the lead arm. I did a tip on it here:

          Divot: https://ignitiongolf.com/divot
          Cause and Effect – Trying To Take A Divot: https://ignitiongolf.com/cause-and-effect-divot/

          If you can’t get the tilt by firing your lower body this tip will help:

          Cures – Manually Tilt To Stop Pulling: https://ignitiongolf.com/manually-tilt-cure-pull/

  9. March 7, 2015


    Hi Paul:
    Great tip again! I love looking at your swing in slow motion, and then try to replicate it at the range. I’ve been a IG member for some time now and I can’t remember if I ever saw the correct placement of the ball for the various clubs, but now I have it. Tried it at the range and got very good results especially for the irons. I’ve also been meaning to comment on your golfing attire , PLEASE DON’T change the red shirt and white pants. They look great and I don’t think I’d recognize you if you changed.
    PS I had a real good Skype lesson with Pete a few weeks ago. Worked out great !

  10. Paul,During the throughswing ,YOUR head MOVES forward quite a bit .When m’y head tends to move too much forward ,I relie on a swing thougth where m’y head is ,at address ,in the middle of a Jagged ,broken ,Window pane ,When swinging through I must not Touch those Jagged pièces of glass protruding .Maintaining the head back enables to have more ” SNAP ” to the ball ,it seems to me .
    Am I right in doing So or not ?

    • Raymond,

      My head is moving forward a little due to the weight starting to transfer. It never goes ahead of where it started. In fact by the time I hit the ball it is a little farther back. I am certainly not even thinking about it. You want your head moving back as you go back to help load the weight. Then you need it behind the ball (as I show in the tip) as you it the ball. If your head is ahead of where it started at impact you will be over the top. If that works for you then do it. It’s a good image.

  11. March 7, 2015


    Paul, like Mike, Mathew and David, I agree your head is definitely dropping and not just a little bit, al la “flexible ruler”, but a lot. This raises the question as why your club doesn’t hit the ground well before the ball. Now looking at the video again and focusing on your waist and its vertical changes throughout the swing, I note that it is rock solid i.e., no vertical drop. This means your vertical head drop has to be occurring at the waist. Why is this important you ask? Because Paul Wilson says,”…maintain [your body] a constant forward tilt…” So confused here and I don’t think I am alone. You have also said numerous times,”…sometimes you think you are doing something that, in fact, is not the case”. Not being a PIA here, just trying to understand.

    Later, Ken

    • All great GOLFERS ” drop the head ” in the throughswing :BEN HOGAN,TIGER WOODS ,PHIL MICKELSON ,ETC..
      The explanation given by Paul is correct :hé does explain the low point of the swing is after the ball .,it has to do with the ” Tilt “

    • Ken,

      Even if my head drops it doesn’t mean I lose the spine angle. From down the line I will admit the head drops curling the upper spine. Again, this is me watching watch I am hitting. Couple this with the tilt and the head goes down quite a bit. Have I ever thought of dropping it? No. It drops do to firing the lower body. I have said in tons of tips that the spine and is pretty close, almost the same angle. If you are not topping it a lot then don’t make too much out of it. You will drive yourself crazy trying to manually do this a specific amount. All you have to do is be on the right angle at setup. Coil back properly and uncoiling ending up with your eyes on an angle not level. If you do you will maintain the spine angle.


      Spine Angle Follow Through: https://ignitiongolf.com/follow-through-eyes-tilted

  12. Paul ,Could you show us how to hit the ” High Draw “?
    Putting the ball forward in the stance ,slightly closing the stance and finishing High doesn’t do the job for me !

    • Raymond,

      That would be the high fake draw. I will show these in a month or two when I can shoot some more tips. I would aim the face where you want the ball to end up. Aim the stance right. Swing right keeping a little more weight on the back foot. This will add more loft allowing you to get it up higher.

  13. Paul ,I read contradictory advices on “shaft puring ” or ” shaft spining “.Some claim it improves dispersion and distance ,some say it doesn’t .
    TITLEIST SAYS it’s useless ,and doesn’t do it on the clubs they make .
    Long Drivers such as SEAN FISTER. ” THE BEAST ” say it’s essentiial to place the spine in the direection of the target .
    Tests have been MADE ,but it seems they are flawed .
    What’s YOUR opinion on the subject ?

    • Raymond,

      I recently heard this makes no difference with today’s shafts as they are much better. I don’t really care about it. I put the label up cause I like the way it looks. Others like it down.

  14. March 9, 2015


    Paul, can you comment on my attempt to identify the forces that I think you must be employing during the downswing to counteract the dramatic vertical head drop? First, if your head did not drop at all, you would strike the ball at the address position and therefore, no divot would occur. So clearly you (something on your body) has to drop vertically to accomplish this. Second, at address the legs are flexed while at the finish and before the leg is fully extended or straight, as per your lesson video. Now that straightening represents ~3-4″. Therefore, your head drops >3-4″ to compensate for the left leg straightening and to create a divot; the latter doesn’t occur with the driver because the ball is positioned forward in the stance, and the lowest part in the arc has already occurred. If all this is true, then the spine angle could be quite similar to the address position although I would maintain that it is slightly more to achieve a divot for the irons.

    • March 10, 2015

      Paul Wilson


      The force is me drving my legs hard and fast. In doing so it is like hitting the accelerator on a car. Your bod mass hangs back for a split second when the lower is fired. Think of a table with a heavy object on it. Push the legs and the table top will lag behind. In fact the leg would angle forward slightly creating and angle.

      My head is dropping because I am looking at what I am hitting (I mentioned this previously).

      When you look at my down the line you can see the upper spin bend or curl as the head drops not the whole spine. So I am not losing the spine angle.

      You would still take divot if you head was up. This is because from the front view you are not on the same angle as you were at setup. You are more angled when you hit the ball than you were at address. If so you are lower at impact then when you first started. Bend the ruler and you will see it. Doing this is representing you body from the front not the side. When bent the ruler is shorter.

      If one leg if more straight at impact than the other of course you would be more tilted when you hit the ball.

      It doesn’t occur with driver because to of the length of the club. Imagine a 100 foot long driver. It is swinging too shallow to enter the ground.

      How To Take A Divot: https://ignitiongolf.com/how-to-take-a-divot/

  15. Can you do a viedo on ball posittion for short irion, mid irions , hybrids 3 wood Driver thanks keep the videos coming just love them.

  16. You have a great step and swing Paul. It begs the question, did you play on any tour and are planning on playing the senior tour when you turn 50?


    • August 6, 2015

      Paul Wilson


      Unfortunately, I did not play on any tour. I lost my swing at 19 years by taking lessons. I got it back in 1999. By then, I was in my early 30’s with no way of pursuing it on a daily basis. My goal at that point was to be the best teacher in the world. If someone back then would have told me not to hit it with my arms I would have made it.

      No desire to play on tour. This takes all day every day practice which I do not have time to do.

      Oh well, all I can do is pass on to others what I learned in over 10 years of total frustration.

  17. Set up, I meant.

  18. August 10, 2017


    Hi Paul,

    I’m having difficulty getting a high trajectory with my driver. My ball flight is usually in the low to middle range. How do you feel about having a little more axis tilt at setup? Thanks.


    • Avatar photo

      August 10, 2017

      Paul Wilson


      I did a tip on it here:
      Hit Ball Higher: https://ignitiongolf.com/shot-hit-higher/

      You are talking about pre-tiling more. Although this may work at first you will start blowing it right hitting pushes and push fades if you keep doing it. Just follow the tip above.

      Typically, when people hit it too low they are moving ahead of it or re-gripping just before they take it back. Lower flight = less loft on the club as you hit the ball. There are only a few things that will cause this.

  19. September 25, 2017


    It really is as easy as just touch the legs without doing anything else With the upper. The problem is I always want to move towards the ball causing the pull. In practice swings it is easy to feel how when only tocuhing the legs you get the accelaration feeling tilting the upper behind. With the ball there its different, but will continue to work on this in practice swings.

    • Avatar photo

      September 25, 2017

      Paul Wilson


      It is that easy. You need to think “turn” not “shift.” The shift will occur on its own if you get to the touch the legs position.

  20. Paul,

    This is a great, bring-it-all-together video regarding head position. The line and the background allow us to follow your head position and movement throughout the swing.

    You always say the head should move back 3″ to 5″ on the backswing as you establish an axis on the back leg. Am I correct that the backward head movement is greater the longer the club and is less for short clubs?


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