Keep Your Nose At The Ball

Tue, 05/27/2014 - 12:00 -- Don Trahan

I've been on a personal mission to find the areas that Surgites are struggling with the most. I've already shared a few revelations with you, but I want to keep it going. One of the most common issues I'm currently seeing is with head movement. There is a direct correlation between your backswing and whether or not your head moves too much, yet I don't think the majority of golfers realize this.

If you over-swing or over-rotate, your head will pick up and come off the ball. This makes a golf swing extremely difficult because you are now faced with the obstacle of getting your head back to where it started before you make impact, which is just downright hard.

A good way to control your head movement (aside from swinging only to a 3/4 vertical position) is keeping your nose at the ball. When you set up to the ball, your head should be slightly behind the ball. This means you must tilt your head just enough so that your nose is pointed at the ball. When you start your takeaway, your nose needs to stay there. Your swing thought should be to keep your nose at the ball all the way to impact.

Once you start to realize how much your head is moving, you'll begin to understand why consistency is a challenge. I promise that if you work on keeping your head still, the good shots will start to repeat.

Keep it vertical!

The Surge

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Dragonhead's picture

Submitted by Dragonhead on

You have confirmed what 'I dared tell my wife yesterday' so well. Yesterday was our first trip to the course since my golf trolley collapsed and we had to drag clubs,bag and trolley to the car leaving 7holes still to play
over a week ago. She does it 'her way' on pain of me saying anything! Yesterday after watching her lifting her head and swaying rearwards, I took my life in my hands and told her not to lift her head and keep her head still until at least impact! On the next tee she hit a stunning shot off the tee straight up the middle of the fairway which has an upslope! Then on the next tee 'the drop' she smoked her tee shot and ended up on the very front edge of the green into a cold icy wind. Here ball was a foot in front of mine [from the same tee-the mens tee]! On the next par 5 off the tee she hit another beautiful shot straight down the middle!!! After that so-so on the last but one hole and not too bad on the last hole. All in all a startling transformation-I ended by saying, 'Now you know what you are capable of when you do it right!'
The reason I mentioned it to her had another reason : - ( I had been playing some good shots and some bad ones-the ground was very muddy, but that was not the cause of the bad ones. One of the faults was the position of my head in the set-up. That coupled with a too fast transition from the BUS to the FUS-Immediately I just 'did it right' and I was hitting much more consistent and repetitive shots on target : - )
When the day finished we were both still smiling and Happy. Better yet, no spousal repercussions hahaha~! Long may the improvements on both our games continue.
DH & DL in NZ
A good w/e for Scott-Montgomerie-McIlroy-Looking forward to the Memorial : - ) May the best golfer win on the day.

NeilofOZ's picture

Submitted by NeilofOZ on

Just watched a couple of my recent videos again and no problem here, it's just that Surge says my nose stays down far too long, but if I follow the PPGS mantra of coming up AFAP and or trying to finish towards the target then I
spray my shots all over the place, which means I must be coming off the
ball in the FUS. For me I must feel the release at the bottom of the FUS for
the ball to get distance.

Just this week I worked on Dave Everitt's tip of concentrating on the right shoulder to drop at the start of the FUS and all of a sudden got my power back, murdered a couple of long par 4's with a 3W off the tee and fairway, even got a birdie, but alas I still sprayed a lot of shots and ended up with
a crap score card.

Wish Surge could come "down under" sooner as I'm loosing my patience, LOL.

Dave Everitt's picture

Submitted by Dave Everitt on


You might find it interesting to check the August 2013 issue of Golf Magazine. Hunter Mahan does a very detailed description of his swing and his triggers for the downswing. He triggers the downswing by moving the right shoulder down. He says that if you do this, getting in the slot and moving the hips, takes care of itself. He also says that hip turn, as a source of power, is highly overrated and all he thinks about is transferring his weight to the big toe of the left foot. He describes this as a diagonal move through the ball. I tried all this today, after reading the article on the weekend and hit the ball very well, without any thought of making an aggressive hip turn to finish the swing.


NeilofOZ's picture

Submitted by NeilofOZ on

Thanks Dave, will definitely chase up that magazine, may be I can get it online.

Just got back from a bit of practise this afternoon, played two lots of nine holes with two balls. The first nine hit some good shots using the dropped shoulder but overall still hit a lot of crap, ended up 8 over my H/C. The second nine I said to myself, "what did Surge say today, NOSE at the ball", well what a difference that made, finished square with my H/C.

Thank you Surge, Steve, Bruce, Dave & DH on all your comments over the past few years, I just love this site for it's candour and comments and wouldn't miss it for quids.

Dragonhead's picture

Submitted by Dragonhead on

Just dug out a paper version of The 'Magic Move' of Golf-1974 by Allan Sadler with Allen Sears. I bought it around the mid 1970's. Imagine my surprise a few minutes ago when I typed those details into the google line, up it popped-still being sold by Amazon books and others for US$4.50. There was ONE review and it said it had moved on to more modern 'SWING SURGEON'!!!!!!! Does that mean I had the rudimentary basics of the PPGS swing nearly 40years ago? boohoo! boohoo! After having read it there are some points which are not advocated by Surge. Having said that the simple saying for the swing [which I got slightly wrong in the reply to Dave Everitts message to you] is 'LEFT CHEST DOWN in the Backswing and LEFT CHEST UP in the Forward swing. They advocate a pause at the top [which is not really a pause and I quote Allan Sadler on that one] He like Surge has stipulated that you interfere with the laws of physics and expect the worst......etc, etc.
It is only 17 A4 sized pages which I photocopied years ago before lending it to another fellow soldier golf-I was posted to Northern Ireland and on my return he had been posted elsewhere-a wise decision to copy it in the end ; - )
After reading it, I went and stood in front of the full length mirror and dropped the left CHEST DOWN [NOT just the shoulder, never just the shoulder] on the backswing [BUS for us ; - ], Pause and then, LEFT CHEST UP and that is all. The Pause is obviously his interpretation of the transition from BUS to FUS without hitting over the top etc.
With my NORMAL PPGS stance and set up and without doing anything else, I dropped the left chest, pause, left chest up and Bingo! perfect high PPGS finish and recoil. Allan Sadler said on page 5, ' let's confine our to the Nicklaus, Weiskopf "upright" swing.' Physiologically, the construction of the human body best lends itself to building a solid, repeating swing if the upright swing is utilized.Why? Because of the physical nature of the spine and back.Their structure supports, physically, the argument that the upright swing is better, sounder more repeatable swing. You can build a straighter, longer, repeatable swing if you use or adapt the upright swing.Because you are utilizing the engineering or your own body' Here endeth the lesson, Amen from me DH
Using the left chest down-pause-left chest up stops the myriad of extraneous other thoughts and the weight transfer just seemed to happen in front of the mirror. It is not an arms only swing either : - )
He had some interesting tips on putting and chipping too.
Brightened my windy, rain affected day ; - )
Keep on Neil and patience will win the day ; - )
DH & DL in NZ

cortsonlaw's picture

Submitted by cortsonlaw on

I have been searching for a copy of Sadler's paper for a very long time. I would gladly pay for a photo copy if you still have it. Feel free to email me, . I look forward to hearing from you.

Cashie's picture

Submitted by Cashie on

I too have been looking for the Magic Move book for years but can't find it anywhere. If there's any way you could send me a copy, please let me know.

Dragonhead's picture

Submitted by Dragonhead on

Thankyou very much for the link on Hunter Mahans driving instructions
which I have just read. Like NeilofOz this is one of the reasons I love this site, the number of off the cuff comments from fellow Surgites on the subject videos of the day. Well thought out comments I might add : - )
Reading the article page by page bells started ringing in my febrile brain! Many, many years ago I bought a type written tome called, 'The Magic Move of Golf', written by someone who was an engineer or had engineering experience and I can still remember his main theme when swinging-'Left CHEST down [in the BUS] and and Right CHEST up [in the FUS]. The similarities seem quite similar. As luck would have it I still have this paper document in my possession! So I will dig it out sometime soon and re-read it. It is not that long. One thing I can remember, it was in my early playing[should be hacking hahaha]days and for a short while I hit deadly accurate shots. Then as was often the trend for me as a neophyte, I flitted from one tip to another with predicatable results,ie, no consistency with the odd good result. Now with the PPGS system there is definitely light at the end of the tunnel for me and my golf partner and wife. The person writing the item emphasised dropping the chest and not just the shoulder in both back and through movements.
Pouring with rain here at the moment so will get off my derierre and go hunt out the Magic Move of Golf for curiosity sake if nothing else ; - )
Thanks again for the link to one of my favourite golfers Hunter Mahan.
DH & DL in NZ

Dave Everitt's picture

Submitted by Dave Everitt on


I think that this is one of the most detailed descriptions of a top player's swing that I've ever read. He is very generous with the details of his swing unlike a lot of what is presented as golf instruction by other professionals.

I have been moving my right shoulder blade down, as the first move of the downswing sequence for about a year now with good results because this move does such a good job of starting the bump in a controlled way. I don't think it matters too much if we think about the right shoulder, chest or shoulder blade. I like the right shoulder blade because that way I can use the same body part to trigger a complete back swing, followed smoothly by slight down move of the right upper body to trigger the bump and weight shift.

The vital piece that was missing for me was the slight diagonal move, that he mentions, to the big toe of the left foot. My thought is even more specific and has been giving me great results for the last week. I like to feel that weight is going to the underside joint of the big toe where it joins the foot. This little move helps keep the swing very centered and simplifies the timing of the whole swing. An added bonus of this rather subtle move, is that it places a lot less stress on my bad forward ankle and produces longer and straighter shots with no pain and a balanced finish.

I agree totally with Mahan when he says that " hip turn is overrated " after starting to use the diagonal move that he describes in a lot of detail. I also think that this little move, is very compatible with the body friendly Surge swing. It minimizes stress on the lead knee and ankle and can still produce a very upright and centered swing.

Dragonhead's picture

Submitted by Dragonhead on

It maybe a few days before I get to check it out on the range/course due to the weather, but will report on results of both the left chest down etc and the Hunter tip : - ) Hope that it continues to give you good results and leave you pain free and smiling : - )
DH as the sun comes through : - ) Bigger smile DH

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade on

Saying yes to the nose. Catching up on all the comments on the blog. Wow, it is so good to hear so many well thought out comments from so many. I think the good weather in the U.S. has many that are once again out of hibernation and working on their swing. I certainly agree that 'nose at the ball' helps us get back to and through the ball. One of Surges big points was that if we over turn in the BUS we must by nature turn the nose away with it then pointing too far behind the ball and maybe never getting back to it square.
I have a new challenge that I am still analyzing a bit. Which club to pull from which distance. Not sure why (aside from warmer weather) why I am hitting the ball so far. Thought it may be the ball but am using a variety of balls because I not only buy some but find several every round. Hit over the green on over half the greens lately. Yesterday I had a 190 yard shot to a par 3 hit my 6 iron. For years that has been my 160 yard club. I was just off the back of the green (close to 200 yards). On a par 4 I finally pulled the right club. had 135 yards and in the past normally hit a strong 9i. Used the pw instead and ended up pin high 6 feet. Seems I'm hitting all irons 10-30 yards further.
I know many of you might say that is a good problem to have but it is causing havoc when choosing the right club. As the summer moves on I hope to get dialed in on the correct numbers for each club with a normal full swing. Again I am still using my PPGS fitted clubs from 4 years ago so new clubs are not the reason. I almost never go to the range any more because of a ailing lower back and left leg. the only thing I focus on any more is alignment and set up. Don't give much thought to keeping the head still any more (it's automatic now) and I just keep my posture and spine tilt in place going back and then through the ball while then allowing my body to come up naturally after impact facing the target. Too much attention to the head and shoulders brings tightness and tension to the upper body. Just allowing the upper body to turn back (only 3/4's) and then fully turn through and up with the weight fully on the front foot are all I work on. K.I.S.S.
Again trying to keep my head down actually gives me chunks and thins where as - stable lower body (wide knees outward pressure) and stable spine angle ( no lifting up on down in the BUS and start of the FUS) gives me solid and long. Now to dial it all in for more gir's.

Dave Everitt's picture

Submitted by Dave Everitt on


I recently purchased a Ping counterbalanced putter. I couldn't find much information on the web on how to best use a heavy putter until I recalled your discussions about the L 2 putter. The excellent instruction video on the L 2 website turned out to be all that I needed.

While doing my search for putting improvement, I found a new way to grip the putter from a fellow Canadian, Shawn Clement. I think it is a variation of a double reversed overlap. It is a very solid and balanced grip with good feel that works very well with a heavy putter and equally well with chipping. As Clement says, "It does a beautiful job of locking everything together."

At the risk of sounding like an infomercial, I would also recommend a very inexpensive and well engineered putting training device being sold by Frogger. The device trains you to have correct and consistent alignment so all you have to work on is developing a repeatable stroke. Making 6 ten footers in a row because your alignment is correct is a good confidence builder.

michael915's picture

Submitted by michael915 on

I first bought Surge's videos about 8-10 years ago. I liked the idea but could never "get it". I wrote it off to playing so many years rotating. The turn just kept sneaking in and I hit lots of big pulls left. Maybe I just could not change? Well time goes by and I get older (71 now) and the old rotating swing works less and less consistently. Yea, my handicap is still 5 or so but the low to high range is now 10 strokes, not 3 or 4. I decided at the end of 2013 that maybe my problem is lack of right side utilization in the swing so I started hitting 50 balls each day one handed with the right hand. Boy, has it been enlightening. (I forgot to mention that I am left handed and have been playing golf right handed for 66 years!) My right side was anemic! Now, after five months of 50 balls daily (okay I missed about 10 days) I can honestly say I finally trust my right side at least a little. For the first time ever, I actually sometimes feel the right side in the swing as it is happening! This is especially true on pitches and chips. Anyway, last month I remembered Surge saying the PPGS swing is back hand dominated so I thought, maybe I should try it again now? Wala! It seems to be working well. Thanks Surge for all you do. I see young pros teaching older students at our club and trying to get them to swing like 20 somethings. You are a savior! Keep it up. -Michael Lach

Dave Everitt's picture

Submitted by Dave Everitt on


I'm right handed and find that right sided (back sided) domination of the back swing and start of the transition works well for me. I think that Surge would say that both sides should contribute equally to the forward upswing.

Congratulations on not being afraid to make a radical change, after a lifetime of playing golf at a high level with a rotational swing. Your body will thank you for becoming a Surgite. I'm now 69 and made the change 3 years ago. Learning something new like the Surge swing has been fun for me and keeps me interested in and enthusiastic about the game. You are so right about Surge being a savior.

Dave Everitt

BRC1948's picture

Submitted by BRC1948 on

Hi, I am having difficulty in my forward swing that I think may be affected by a right arm that, because of an accident, I cannot fully straighten. It is about an inch short of my left arm when holding both arms out in front of me.
I am always slicing and I wonder whether the shorter reach is causing me not to swing on on on and my follow through seems not to finish up by my ear but in a more rounded position away from my head. In practice swings the finish is fine but once a ball is addressed and hit I revert to the wider finish with my hands. Any suggestions as how I correct the issue?