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Keep Your Eye Line Parallel to the Target Line

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It makes me incredulous that this topic is never talked about. I say never in the context that I have never seen anyone as good looking or smooth with the ladies as myself, but I know this mythical figure probably exists.

Apple fights in the monkey cage at the zoo are conducted with more civility than debates over inconsequential topics like how much forearm rotation Hogan had between P6 and P8, yet an extremely important and fundamental topic like eye line gets no play at all.

I will start with a question. What would you think about basketball players shooting free throws with their eyes tilted 45 degrees from the rim? Now, this might have been the cure for Shaquille O’Neal’s woes, but for most, it would be a complete disaster.

How many bad guys would a CIA sniper take out if his scope was not mounted parallel to the gun barrel?

One could say both of these questions seem rhetorical to the point of being ridiculous. I agree, so why then do hoards of golfers tilt their eye line as much as 45 degrees off the target line with barely a mention anywhere, or by anyone?

It boggles the mind in the same sense as why you park on a driveway and drive on a parkway.

Kenny-600x450

Kenny Perry

  • Bobby Jones, who “over rotated.”
  • Jack Nicklaus who tilted his head away from the target to trigger his back swing.
  • John Daly whose back swing scoffs at convention.
  • The mighty Monte Scheinblum, who won a world long drive title without enough muscle to bench press a sleeve of golf balls.
Monte-600x450

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All of them kept their eye line parallel to the target line.

Even Kenny Perry, who lifts and basically turns his his entire back perpendicular to the target line, barely shifts his eye line a few degrees right and he is the extreme.

I see eye lines all day long that start as much as 45 degrees to the right. I can hear the minions of the morass saying, “So what?”

To put it simply, the arms and the turn of the body will follow where the eyes are looking and swing the club there. Without getting into a dissertation about all of the swing faults a poor eye line causes, let’s just look at two simple, common and easy to understand ones.

  1. The head starts tilted, so the right ear (right-handed golfer) is tilted too far toward the right shoulder. Guess what? The arms follow that line too far to the inside on the back swing. That tilt of the head makes it awkward to properly shift into left side, so the arms reroute over the top. Well folks, your two choices in that pattern are a slice, or your friends are going to make you feel like you are skeet shooting. “PUUUUUUULL!!!!!!!”
  2. The head and eye line start OK, but the head tilts to the right at the top of the swing because the golfer is trying to make a “full turn.” Assuming the body shifts and turns in the transition properly, the arms get trapped inside trying to follow the eye line. They fly out away from the body, the body stalls and the hands flip. Captain Hook.

This issue is extremely easy to fix and always pays immediate dividends. Put an alignment stick just outside the ball as a frame of reference. Get setup and put the club shaft you are holding on the bridge of your nose across your eyes and see where you are. If need be, change your head position until your eyes are parallel to that alignment stick. When you swing, make sure your eyes stay parallel to that stick. Have a friend help you out if need be.

I have yet to see one person who didn’t improve the path of their arm swing (on both the back swing and downswing) the very first time they fixed their head and eye line position.

For all those wanting to tell me sob stories about being old or inflexible: your back swing is too long. Shorten it and fix you eye line.

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Monte Scheinblum is a former World Long Drive Champion and Web.com Tour player. For more insights and details on this article, as well as further instruction from Monte go to rebelliongolf.com

11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Milhouse

    May 15, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    I totally disagree!

    Your neck does not have 180 degrees of range of motion. To put it another way, you cannot simply turn your head far enough to get your chin over your shoulder. You’ll be 15-20 degree short of this.

    So if you consider a full shoulder turn is important (which I think is a misnomer in the golf community since your “shoulders” do not move really, it’s your rib cage and torso that needs to turn 90 degrees, but I digress), then your head and eyes won’t be able to stay parallel to the target line. You’ll either turn your chest only 75-80 degrees in trying to keep your eye line parallel to your target line, or your eyeline, using your pencil on bridge of nose idea, will have to aim 20 or so degrees out to the right for your chest to have cleared out of the way and made a full 90 degree turn.

    I completely disagree with your premise and would argue that trying to keep your eyeline as you have defined it as being on a vertical plane parallel to the target line, would be MORE likely to cause a golfer to come over the top. In trying to keep the eyes parallel, a golfer is more likely to end up with his head ahead of the ball or at least on top of it. This will result in a swing path from out to in, across the ball.

    Taking the club back to the inside is an issue of trying to wind up around the body and hit the ball, not of the eyeline. Aim your sight line 45 degrees to right if you want – you can STILL take the club back on plane. But the causality you suggest is just incorrect and the sports analogies you make don’t parallel the point either.

  2. Jay

    May 13, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    I would really like to understand this concept. Do you have any pictures or videos to illustrate this? I know, especially on the driver, I tilt my spine (reverse K), tilting my head and my eye line away from parallel. Do I tilt my spine then tilt my head up straight again to keep my eyeline parallel? Please help. Thanks.

    • Monte Scheinblum

      May 14, 2013 at 11:07 am

      It doesn’t matter if you tilt your spine for a reverse K. The eyeline is still going to be down the target line if you do it correctly. It will just be pointed more toward the sky, but still on the same vertical plane.

      Lets say you had a pencil on the bridge of your nose with the eraser pointed down the target line. If you tilted your head away like Nicklaus, the eraser would point more toward ground and a Reverse K, the eraser would be pointed more toward sky, but still down target line and not well out to the right.

  3. STICKS

    May 10, 2013 at 1:38 am

    i dont understand fully and i realy want to

  4. STEVE ALMO

    May 8, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    Excellent Monte! …AND ALIGNMENT TO TARGET!

  5. Steve Pratt

    May 7, 2013 at 11:35 pm

    Good stuff, Monte!

  6. geoff duncan

    May 7, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    Great advice. I just hit a bucket and it works.

  7. John Kelly

    May 7, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    great advice. will take it to my next tournament!

  8. John Forster

    May 7, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    Great article. I had never thought about my eyeline.

  9. Pingback: Latest GolfWrx article. | Monte Scheinblum's Blog

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Instruction

WATCH: The problem with swinging too far from the inside (Lesson of the Day)

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In our all new “Lesson of the Day” video series with V1 Sports, we match a different GolfWRX member with a different V1 Sports instructor each day. It’s extremely important to both V1 Sports and GolfWRX to help golfers improve their games and shoot lower scores, and there’s no better way to do that than getting lessons. While we not only want to provide free lessons to select GolfWRX members, we want to encourage and inspire golfers to seek professional instruction. For instructions on how to submit your own video for a chance at getting a free lesson from a V1 Sports instructor as part of our Lesson of the Day series, CLICK HERE.

In today’s Lesson of the Day, V1 Sports Instructor John Hughes teaches GolfWRX Member Brandon Goodwin the importance of alignment, and why coming too far from the inside can be detrimental.

Hughes has more than 29 years of experience. He’s the golf coach to beginners, intermediates, elite juniors and amateurs, corporate executives, celebrities, mini tour and major tour winners. One of only 368 individuals who have earned the designation of PGA Master Professional, Hughes has the skills, knowledge, experience, and passion to provide you an opportunity to experience the absolute best golf lesson you will ever have, as well as assist you in reaching your potential. For more, check out his website here.

Enjoy the video lesson below!

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Instruction

WATCH: How to swing the driver “from the inside”

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In this video, I show you how to consistently deliver the driver from the inside.

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Instruction

Golf 101: How to properly grip the golf club

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I’m sure you’ve heard by now that a good grip is one of the cornerstones of a good swing. Clichés become clichés because they’re true, and putting your hands on the club is extremely important… for reasons you know, and for some reasons you probably haven’t heard before.

Let’s start with the big, obvious one you already know. Your grip establishes the default relationship between the clubface and the golf ball. If you set your grip in a way that promotes bringing the club back to impact open or closed, you’re going to have to do something else in your swing to compensate for that. In other words, a sound grip makes the job of squaring the club easier.

The less obvious reason that a good grip is important is speed. If you set the club in your hands correctly—so that the handle runs across the base of the fingers in your left hand and not across the palm—you’re giving your wrists much more freedom to move. This wrist “mobility” is what allows the final transfer of energy from the body to the club. A great swing thought is to envision that your wrist joints were just greased up. They should feel like they are unrestricted and “oily.”

Another less obvious problem caused by a bad grip is that it tends to perpetuate itself. If you have a bad grip and repeatedly make off-center contact on the clubface, the off-center hits will actually jar the face of the club more off-line, and you’ll hit it even more crooked. And the bad feeling those shots produce in your hands will cause you to continually adjust it. There’s no consistency or feel there. It’s like hitting a whole bunch of baseballs off the end of an aluminum bat on a 39-degree day. A recipe for pain.

To fix your grip, start with your left (top) hand. Set the handle along the first joints of your fingers, and hold it like you would carry a suitcase or briefcase by its handle.

When you get the grip in this position, you’re creating an angle (and a lever) between the club and your left arm, and you’re giving the wrist freedom to move. If you turned the handle so that it crossed your palm diagonally—like a putting grip—you’d immediately feel how your wrist would be much more restricted in how it could bend or turn. That’s why it’s great for putting—because it restricts how the face turns. But on a full swing, you want to take full advantage of the range of motion that comes from rotating from open to square. (this is what the club is designed to do!)

Get a firm grip on the handle with all of the fingers of your left hand and get as much of the thumbprint pushed onto the grip as you can. Now, place your right hand on the handle so that the underside of your right thumb covers the left thumb as much as possible, and get as much of the thumbprint on your right hand onto the top of the grip as possible.

Where you place your hand on the grip is more important than if you decide to interlock, overlap or play with all 10 fingers on the handle. I prefer the overlapping grip because it keeps the index finger of your left hand on the handle, and that extra finger can make a difference for many players.

If your grip isn’t great and you make these changes, it’ll definitely feel strange at first. But I’m betting that straighter and longer shots will make up for it.

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