A most common reason for a golfer's failure to improve or even getting worse is a poor understanding of what is truly important in the golf swing.
I am careful when using the phrase fundamentals since many people regard parts of the swing as fundamentals when I would disagree. It is important to understand that most technique flaws stem from a few important steps that are often overlooked because they sound simplistic and boring. The golf swing is not complicated although it is made complicated by over analysis and a lack of understanding of the root of problems.
The most common example of this is the tendency to ignore aim, grip, ball position and impact while worrying about the technically incorrect head down, eye on the ball and don't sway. Many golfers aim either to the left or right resulting in the need to compensate with the club face angle through impact, this means the golfer in compensating for one fault with another resulting in diminished consistency. Many golfers grip the club poorly, usually by having the club too much in the palms of both hands.
Gripping the club in the fingers enables the golfer to control the club face at impact, the club face angle at impact is the most important stage of the swing. Many golfers position the ball too far forward or back in the stance directly affecting the angle of the club through impact.
The idea of keeping the head down and still is a disastrous one. The head must be allowed to move with the movement of the body.
With this in mind watch the golf on television and ask yourself "is the golfer trying to keep his head down and still." The answer is no, the head moves with the turning of the body. It is true that the height remains constant through impact, this is the result of an athletic pivot and not keeping the head still.
The same is true for the advice not to sway. If the weight does not move back and forward through the swing, generating club head speed is difficult. Excessive lateral movement of the hips is a common technique flaw but the correction is not "don't sway." The correction again is to pivot correctly.
On your next trip to the driving range do focus on grip, aim and ball position. Do not focus on head down and not swaying.
Terry Gingell, a PGA professional, is now taking registration for adult group lesson and junior golf camps at Empire Ranch and Genoa Lakes. For information call Terry, 690-7970.