Last Updated on November 1, 2023 by Daniel
Common Golf Mistakes to Avoid.
With the start of the golf season just around the corner, I wanted to share some of my favorite golf mistakes and some of the ways you can avoid making them.
While I don’t know how many golfers out there have made all of the mistakes listed below, I do know that many of you have made at least a few of them.
One of the biggest mistakes golfers make is to try to fix their swing by changing their grip. I’ve seen golfers make the grip change to try and hit the ball straighter or even hit it further, but, in the end, they can’t get their swing back to where it was before the grip change.
The real mistake golfers make is to try to fix their swing by changing their equipment. If you’re not having the success you’re looking for on the course, the best thing you can do is to change your equipment.
I’ve written a lot about the best-golfing equipment and where to purchase them. I’m not going to write a lot about equipment here because you can read the posts on my Equipment page for more information.
With that said, here are some of my favorite golf mistakes that golfers make and some of the ways you can avoid them.
Table of Contents
The 10 Common Golf Mistakes to Avoid
- Buying and using substandard equipment
- Not striking the club hard enough
- Forgetting the fundamentals
- Swinging over the top
- Not taking golf instruction.
- No strategy in place.
- You’re not slamming the brakes on your driver.
- Your irons aren’t hitting the ground.
- Impatience with results
- Not enough short game practice
Buying and using substandard equipment
It physically hurts me every time I see it. Someone will purchase a low-quality complete set of clubs for a very low price. After a few months, the clubs will begin to break one by one.
They must cut their losses and purchase a higher-quality set. That implies they virtually squandered their first set of clubs, as they might have started with the higher-quality clubs instead.
Buying nice clubs doesn’t cost a lot of money, so you might as well pay the money upfront and bypass the process of buying low-quality clubs.
Not striking the club hard enough
Allowing your ego to get in the way of how far you genuinely hit the golf ball is, in my opinion, the most prevalent mistake in golf. Consider how far your 7 iron travels when you hit it. What is the first number that comes to mind? 160? Is that a typical 7-iron you hit? Is that a flawless 7 iron, or what? Are you frequently falling short of 160, even when you reach it perfectly? Keep a record of your ball flight by inputting your original calculation and adjusting it if necessary.
I believe that taking 30 minutes on a calm day (ideally on an open course so as not to bother anyone) to actually determine how far you hit the ball is essential. Use a rangefinder, the 150-yard markers, or whatever else you’d like. Hit a number of balls, calculate the true average, and use that as the distance for that club.
At the beginning of my golf career, I felt strangely drawn to trying to hit the same clubs as my best friend, who was a fantastic ball striker and much longer than me. Don’t make the same mistake as me. On average, hit the club that will get you the closest to your goal ON AVERAGE, not when you hit it perfectly. If you rely on yourself to hit every shot perfectly, you’ll be short virtually every time. Additionally, lower scores will impress your friends more than how far you hit your 8-iron.
It is the ability to understand distances that separate a “meh” golfer from a great one. A skilled golfer will understand exactly what club he needs to get the ball 160 yards, and it won’t be a 9 iron hit as hard as possible.
Forgetting the fundamentals is a mistake that many golfers make.
If the fundamentals are gone from your golf swing, you can forget about any consistency. In the last five years, I’ve had roughly ten different golf grips. I could have saved myself a lot of time and frustration if I had simply committed to a solid grip earlier. I’ve also had a bad tendency to always aim far to the right of my target, which has led to the development of a slew of other negative habits in my swing.
It will take a lot of effort, but I encourage you to do this: before each game, think about “PGA”: Posture, Grip, and Alignment.
To make it worthwhile, you should have a basic understanding of how these fundamentals should be applied to your swing. For instance, I’ve learned that I prefer a more athletic setup with less knee flex than I’m used to. I’ve decided on a strong left-hand grip with a neutral right-hand grip. Last but not least, I know I want to be aligned with my target line.
Swinging over the top
Swinging over the top is by far the most common mistake golfers make when it comes to the golf swing. It’s easy to do because most golfers don’t have a natural ability to swing on the perfect plane.
Swinging over the top occurs when you take the club back too flat and then have a steep downswing (upright). It’s frequently brought on by a desire to “hit.” the ball as quickly as possible after reaching the peak of one’s swing. Instead of allowing the club and hands to descend first, they take the closest path to the ball, which is over the top.
When a golfer hits the ball with a steep downswing, he or she is more likely to hit slices, pulls (to the left for a right-hander), and divots. Your divots will be pointing way left (for right-handers) of the target, which is a strong clue that you’re making this typical mistake.
It’s something that almost every golfer goes through at some point. The easiest way to remedy it is to do exactly the opposite: make the backswing extremely steep and then attempt to make the downswing as flat as possible.
You are not taking golf instruction.
Every golfer should work with a swing coach to learn the foundations of the game. You don’t need to take a lot of lessons, but even a few can help a lot.
For the first two years of my golf career, I was completely self-taught. It took me a long time and a lot of money to correct my swing defects.
Hiring a swing coach from the beginning would have saved me a lot of time and money. In addition, I would have progressed much more quickly.
There is no strategy in place.
This is a common blunder made by golfers. Instead of playing “wisely,” many people aim to hit the ball the furthest possible.
Consider a 520-yard par five-course. It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to get to the green in two shots. No matter how tight the hole is, most amateurs will take a driver (say 250 yards) and a three-wood (say 225 yards). They now have 45 yards to go, a distance that many golfers find difficult. Plus, their three-wood shot was almost certainly inaccurate, forcing them to punch out or drop and incur a penalty stroke.
A better plan would have been to hit a long layup shot to the widest part of the fairway. Also, a nice layup shot would have been at a distance you prefer. If you favor 120-yard shots, for example, you can hit your second shot to land right around that location. So a 250-yard drive, a 150-yard 7-iron (instead of the three woods), and a good 120-yard wedge or 9-iron would have been the plan.
This example can be used for any par four. Don’t rely on your driver to get you through every hole. Choose a club that will send the ball to the widest area of the course, or aim for a shot that will take you closer to the flag.
You’re not slamming the brakes on your driver.
Aside from coming over the top, another typical error in the golf swing is not striking the ball high enough with the driver. Drivers perform best when the ball is struck on the upswing rather than when it is struck when the driver is still moving downward.
To avoid this typical blunder, place anything 6 inches in front of your golf ball (such as a tee or a towel). This will urge you to miss the tee/towel by hitting the ball with an upward strike rather than a downward one.
Your irons aren’t hitting the ground.
Another typical error is not hitting down on the ball with your irons, which is identical to the previous one. To hit irons, you need to drive them downward… after which you should take a divot. To put it another way, you first hit the ball, then the ground.
A lot of golfers don’t really use their impact stance when using their irons. They can strike the ground before the ball, or they can just take a divot when they hit the ball. You’re probably not getting the most out of your distance or control if you don’t have a divot. The greatest practice is to place a towel or hit the tee just behind the ball, miss the tee/towel, hit the ball, and then strike the ground.
It’s difficult to grasp the concept of hitting down on your irons without going over the top. If you haven’t already, I recommend going back to #5 and scheduling a lesson.
Excessive impatience with results
Golfing can sometimes be difficult. Improvement is not linear. For a short period of time, you will noticeably improve. After that, you’ll find yourself in a slump. Believe me when I say that you are not an exception. You will face difficulties as well.
My finest piece of advice for you is to be prepared to lose a few strokes from your game on a monthly basis. It’s not possible. Every day, work on improving one part of your game (ball striking, short game, putting). Don’t get disheartened if you hit a bump on the road. Please continue to push forward and improve in some way each and every day!
Not enough short game practice
It’s all too easy to get into the routine of going to the range, shooting a round, and then leaving. But what about the quick game? Make time in your practice schedule to work on wedge shots, chips, pitches, and putting. If you have time, do it before or after rounds.
Below are reasons why you should spend more time honing your short game.
- The service is completely free. Driving ranges are usually costly, but you can practice your short game for free!
- It is the most beneficial: the majority of amateurs have the most difficulty with their short games. Is it comparable to a driving range in terms of entertainment? No, but it will significantly improve your scores by reducing the amount of tension placed on your ball hitting.
- Golfers with a strong long game but a poor short game are notorious for being unreliable: When their ball striking falters, they can never get “up and down” and make par. Golfers that have a strong short game but aren’t terrific ball strikers are significantly more consistent. They may not be hitting as many greens, but they are making par almost wherever they go because they can chip it in close.