Watching the great Swede in action there is a unique move in his golf game that leads us to ask why Henrik Stenson does NOT look at the ball at impact - the answer might just be the reason his ball striking is so good!
Henrik Stenson is without question one of the finest ball strikers in world golf. His imperious display at Royal Troon proves just how well struck his shots are. But if you have seen the Swede in action you have probably asked yourself why Henrik Stenson does not look at the ball at impact. This head movement might seem unusual but it is more common than you might think and can actually help the quality of your shots.
One of the biggest myths in golf is that you have to keep your head down. This is often a piece of instruction that gets handed down from one amateur to another. You can watch Rory McIlroy’s coach Michael Bannon talk about this exact point in this video interview.
The issue with keeping your head down is that you can restrict the way your body rotates through impact. As we all know, the golf swing put simply is – two turns and a hit. To generate real power you need to be able to be able to shift your weight through the downswing (from right to left for the right hander) while turning your hips and upper body.
Anything that restricts this move will cause problems both with the quality and accuracy of the strike. In Henrik Stenson’s case, he starts to rotate his head with his upper body rotation before he has actually struck the ball. Indeed, Stenson is not the only top player to adopt this move. Ian Poulter and, far more obviously, Annika Sorenstam both turn their heads towards the target before they strike the ball. Gary Alliss offers some video advice on how to master the right body rotation.
So when answering the question, why Henrik Stenson does not look at the ball at impact, the answer is simple, because you don’t have to. In his case, it is far more important that he clears his body. Importantly however, you should notice how he maintain his spine angle from address, through impact and towards the finish. This is essential. He might turn his head but he doesn’t lift or dip it.
Great golfers all have certain technical keys in common, maintaining their posture is one of them. So whilst Henrik’s head movement might seem strange, it is part of a very orthodox, very powerful golf swing. What does all this means – well, don’t let anyone tell you to keep your head down!