Above: Bubba Watson’s swing disproves several teaching theories including “don’t go past  parallel at the top” and “keep your lead foot on the ground”.

1. Should I focus on keeping my head still?

No. This myth is the one that is probably most widely believed by all levels of golfers. Your head will move naturally to the right from its centre position (for right-handed golfers). The amount of movement will vary depending on the golfers’ flexibility (e.g. Jason Day’s head stays more centred due to his great flexibility and stability). During his career, Jack Nicklaus’ head moved a lot more to the right in comparison. Trying to keep your head still will limit the amount of rotation in your swing and create inconsistent shot shape, distance and balance.

2. Can I go past parallel at the top?

Yes. Some of the world’s greatest players swing past parallel – Sam Snead being one example. Most players that go past parallel are slightly out of control and will find their timing and balance inconsistent. The modern swing is more of a three-quarter swing that uses core strength and ground forces to create speed, distance and control. Biomechanics has disproven the myth that swinging it harder and faster creates more distance.

3. Can I lift my lead foot off the ground?

Yes. The modern golf swing is based around stability in the lower body (keeping your feet on the ground during your swing). Bubba Watson lifts his lead foot off the ground but Adam Scott does not. Personally, I teach clients to keep their feet on the ground but know that golfers with less flexibility do benefit from lifting their lead foot off the ground during the backswing. This allows them to make better use of the ground as they move forward into their follow-through.

4. Do I have to maintain a straight leading arm?

No. What may look like a straight leading arm is often just a golfer that maintains good structure in that arm. Good structure will still have a slight bend to ensure good rotation in the swing. The slight bend in the leading arm prevents any build-up of tension, a vital element of an effective swing from start to finish.

5. Am I swinging too fast?

Not necessarily. Just as we all walk at different speeds, we swing at different speeds. Slowing down your swing may not work for you, as it could be against your natural rhythm.

Jason Laws is the NSW PGA Teaching Professional of the Year. If you have any questions, email him at [email protected] and don’t forget to include a contact number.