Eleven-time world golf champion Walter Hagen once said that he expected to make at least seven mistakes in any given round of golf that he played. If that doesn’t tell you that mistakes are part and parcel of being a golfer, nothing will! But what are the most common mistakes that should be focused on and fixed?
How Many Errors Is Too Many Then?
On the course, there will be errors. But if you’re closer to the 20 mistakes range per round, then it’s worth examining your game a little to see where you can improve.
If you quickly look at the top 10 mistakes almost every golfer makes, many of them are easily fixable with just a bit of training.
Poor Grip and Posture
Your grip and posture are fundamental to a good swing but often get ignored. It’s not “just how you hold it” or “how you stand”—they’re the rudder of your entire game. The wrong grip or posture automatically makes it harder to play good shots because you could accidentally “lead” the ball the wrong way.
Yes, grip and posture make that much of a difference. Grip the club about a half-inch away from the end for better control. Do your research and learn how to grip the club properly. Align your shoulders, hips, and feet.
Neglecting Course Management
Course management is assessing each hole, deciding which clubs to use for each shot, and making better on-course decisions. If you’re familiar with the course, you should have a plan for each hole. This will help you to avoid wasting energy and streamline your round.
So, how do you manage yourself better on the course? Know your yardages for each club, track your data (and assess it afterward), and if you want to lower your score, play it safe. As they say, sometimes good golf is boring golf.
Not Knowing Your Yardages
If you don’t know each club’s yardage, how do you know which club to choose for which shots? Club selection can either help you improve or hold you back, so this is key to becoming a better golfer.
Here’s What To Do
Hit about ten shots for each of your clubs, measure the distance, and take an average. Repeat this process every month or so to account for improvements in your strength and power.
You can do this on a golf simulator or driving range for accurate distances, but remember that you’ll need to account for wind, uphills, downhills, and hazards when you’re on the real course.
Trying to Hit Too Hard
Hitting a powerful shot comes down to your timing and not your strength. Trying to hit hard can result in a poor shot because you end up tensing your muscles, losing your balance, and ruining your swing rhythm.
If you focus on a smooth, controlled, and well-timed swing, the golf club will do all the work for you. You won’t need to overexert yourself and inadvertently ruin your shot. Stop trying so hard to put power into your shots and work on your rhythm and timing instead.
Using the Wrong Club
So you know your yardages. You know your distances on the course, thanks to your rangefinder. An all-too-common mistake is choosing a club to match the yardage without considering external factors.
A high wind, a slight breeze, an uphill slope. Many things need to go into your club selection, not just the yardage of each club. In most cases, choosing a club from the equivalent yardage will work better unless you’ve got a nice tailwind behind you.
Failing to Read Greens Properly
Learning to read a green is an invaluable skill. Misreading the green you’re playing can add shots to your score. Many golfers spend far more time on the driving range than on the putting green, which could open your short game for mistakes.
In this case, practice often makes it not perfect but a lot better. Get on the putting green and work on reading the green; from there, you can work on responding with the right shots.
Playing the Wrong Clubs for the Conditions
If you’ve got a crazy headwind, you’ll have to club up to power through it. On the other hand, if you’re playing on a wet day, you might want to club down because the ball won’t roll like it would on a dry fairway.
This takes time and practice to get right. Experiment in different weather conditions, and don’t skip going to the range when it’s less than a bright sunny day—you’ll be missing a valuable learning experience.
Lack of Pre-Shot Routine
We’ve all laughed at that one guy who shuffles his feet 6 times, touches his nose, looks to the east, and then sizes up his shot. But a pre-shot routine could be your best friend for improving your shots.
It narrows your focus, shuts out the external, and gets you into the proper posture. You don’t have to go wild, but make sure you have a routine of getting into a comfortable, athletic posture, relaxing your muscles, visualizing your shot, and playing your shot.
Letting Frustration Take Over
Golf isn’t easy. You need many hours of practice on both the range and the course to improve. And it’s easy to get frustrated along the way. Letting your emotions control you instead of controlling them can be one of the worst things to do.
Emotion causes you to tense up, affecting your swing. Poor shots lead to a bad mood, which hampers your decision-making process. All in all, stay cool and don’t let frustration get to you.
Blaming Everything But Yourself
The wind. The sun in your eyes. That club that “never works for you.” The key to becoming a better golfer is to learn to adapt to the weather, dress for the conditions, and be able to play decently no matter what kind of club you’re holding in your hand.
Will You Give These Expert Tips a Try?
Whether you’re a beginner, an intermediate, or an experienced golfer, knowing the mistakes to look out for is the first step towards fixing them and lowering your handicap. You must be willing to put in the time and effort to improve, or you’ll always be frustrated and annoyed on the course.
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