Bobby Jones published golf tips in several newspaper columns in the 1920s. Fifty of these columns were compiled and printed in a book entitled The Best of Bobby Jones on Golf, published in 1996. Jones was quoted as saying: "Stay behind the ball is a wonderful maxim, and if you ever come for the ball at any time in the swing, this will certainly lead to a bad shot."
In The Little Red Book by Harvey Penick, published in 1992, has the title "Stay Behind the Ball" on page 75. "All the big golfers move their heads slightly backwards before and during the impact, but never ahead. A golfer has to stay behind the ball. I mean with your head behind the ball and keep your head behind the ball. If you move your head forward during your downswing or impact, you will hit a small, ugly shot, probably a drawn piece. "
Tommy Armor, in How to play your best golf all the time, (1953) stresses: the main principle of all golf shooting is that if you move your head, you ruin the body action. In his summary of the 12 key points of his book, Armor lists the main points 5, 10 and 12 as "keep your head stable". Interestingly, however, on all photos of fluctuations of golfers in the book, the head is seen as behind the ball through the impact area.
David Leadbetter in 100% Golf, 2004, declares: "the head and upper body stay behind the ball as you burst and accelerate in impact." Try to keep your spine angle from the set up to the moment of impact and do not worry if your head has a little lateral movement. Your head and back are behind the ball at impact.
Jack Nicklaus is the most steadfast head movement. In his book, Golf My Way (2005), Nicklaus offers this warning: "If you hope to improve your game through this page, but can not or do not want to learn to keep your head stable during the swing, do not read There is nothing that I, or anyone else, can do for your golf game.Any movement of the head, at any point from address to impact, will change the bow and the plane of the swing, which, if it is not a total destructive factor, certainly a complicating one. "All the swinging photos from Jack show that his head is kept stable, but also well behind the ball until after the impact.
Like many golfers, I have tried dozens of tips and instructional techniques, all to little or no benefit. It was only when I concentrated on this aspect of the swing that I broke 80, and that was when I was 65. Since then I have broken 80 times and can finally enjoy the game. Learning to hold back was not easy. It required a lot of practice, much of which was done without hitting balls. New muscle memory had to be learned and that was not easy, especially at my age. But with tactile feedback to the head, the bad habit of "looking up" could be overcome.
Tiger Woods published his book How I Play Golf in 2007 and has already become a bestseller. He writes: "Impact must look like address, my angle in the back is the same and my head is in pretty much the same place." The accompanying image shows that his head is behind the ball. He concludes: "It proves how uncomplicated the golf swing can be."
What makes the golf swing complicated is the often contradictory instruction that can be found in pressure and orally. Some professionals will learn that the head must remain stable during the swing. Some will preach that it is OK to move back and forth on the backswing and just before the impact. Others will say to keep an eye on the ball. But NONE will suggest that the head comes up, or that the ball advances until after the collision. As described above, most, if not all pro's, MUST agree that the head must remain behind and behind the bulkhead through the impact zone.