10 mistakes I see average golfers make all the time

I’m not a teacher, but I play a lot of golf with a wide variety of people. If you’re looking for a teacher, check out the best of the best, also known as our list of the GOLF Top 100 Teachers in America. I’m not a teacher, but I do play a lot of golf. The majority of the people I play with are respectable mid-handicappers who are capable of shooting in the high 70s or low 90s, but most of the time they shoot in the 80s. They are all eager to advance to the next level, but they have a constrained amount of time to practice and are not always clear on how to do so. All too frequently, they will come to the conclusion that the problem is that they simply do not possess the necessary skills, which is the furthest thing from the truth. The majority of the time, they have everything they need; however, they continue to make the same fundamental mistakes, which causes them to fail.

The good news is that they are extremely common — so common that you might not even be aware that they are mistakes you are making yourself — and easy to fix. The bad news is that they are extremely common. The following is a list of the mistakes that I see the majority of my fellow golfers making:

1. They don’t do any swing maintenance

Consider your golf swing in the same way that you consider your hair. Or your lawn. Or your car’s engine. It’s something that’s shifting, albeit subtly but consistently, over time. It is preferable to perform routine maintenance, which isn’t always fun or easy, but it is preferable to leave it untouched and have to deal with something that has been neglected and overrun rather than performing maintenance on a regular basis.

The best players always approach their swings in the same manner. They make a commitment to a coach that they like in order to have regular check-ins with them and are constantly making minor adjustments to their swings in order to avoid having to make significant changes in the future. A significant number of the players with whom I compete have handicaps somewhere in the middle. They make a concerted effort to put their swing out of their minds until something catastrophic occurs, at which point they hit the panic button.

2. They don’t pay attention to their fundamentals

In a related vein, better players have a tendency to maintain a fairly laser-like focus on their fundamentals, and despite the fact that there are a variety of ways to hold a golf club, the majority of professionals settle on a position that is relatively close to neutral. This is not the case for many recreational golfers, particularly those who have trouble breaking the 90-point barrier in their scores. These players typically have one or two significant fundamental flaws, which lead to compensations in later stages of their swing.

3. They only get the yardage to the pin

To be fair, I’ve seen this getting a little bit better as players embrace on-course apps like Golf Logix ( and are both owned by the same parent company, 8AM Golf) and technologies like Arccos, but so often I see golfers whip out their rangefinder, zap a yardage to the pin, pull a club, and go. The best players that I compete against always make sure to get yardages to everything, such as “how far is it to carry that ridge in front of the green?” What’s the deal with that bunker in the back left? Or the distance from the beginning to the middle? Don’t worry about where you are or where you’re going. want to hit it; give some thought to where you want to hit it. can You can still make contact with your ball and stay out of trouble.

4. They treat max yardages as stock yardages

Something that Max Homa refers to as the “biggest lie in golf,” and something that is most likely the most frequent error on this list. Golfers who are merely average: Simply because you  can Even if you hit your driver 280 yards, that doesn’t necessarily mean you do Your driver should be hit an average of 280 yards. Be honest with yourself about how far you can hit each of your clubs, because if you misjudge that, it will be extremely difficult for you to successfully navigate your way around the course.

5. They chunk difficult chip shots

By getting your yardages dialed in, you will be able to avoid tricky situations, such as leaving yourself short-sided, which is good news because I’ve seen recreational golfers chunk more short-sided chip shots than I can count. One of the reasons for this is a problem with the technology (we’ll talk more about this in the near future), but the primary issue is a mental one. They notice the pin, and then attempt to hit a flop shot in the style of Phil Mickelson, but they always end up missing it. Avoid falling into that trap the next time you find yourself in this position. Forget about the hole in the ground; instead, take your medicine and try to pitch the ball somewhere in the middle of the green. After that, concentrate on making two putts.

6. Their backswing is too long on short shots

What about the problem with the technology that I mentioned earlier? Deceleration, which is caused by a backswing that is too long, is one of the most common problems that our Top 100 Teachers encounter when working with average golfers around the greens. They can attest to this fact. Around the greens, keep your backswing short and maintain an aggressive stance to produce chunk-proof chips.

7. Their clubface is too shut in bunkers

There is no shot in golf that causes the average golfer more anxiety than shots from greenside bunkers, and part of the reason for this is that they are unsure of how they are supposed to hit these shots. They frequently commit the error of not opening the face sufficiently away from the sand, which results in the club digging too deeply into the ground. Debbie Doniger, a GOLF Top 100 Teacher, has developed a useful four-step checklist that will assist you in avoiding those problems.

8. They’re too-aggressive on birdie putts

When one of my playing partners has a good look at a birdie putt, I can almost feel the excitement building up inside of me because birdie putts do not come along all that frequently. When they get to that point, an extremely predictable event takes place: They end up giving their putt a little extra force in an attempt to force it into the hole, but they end up giving it too much force. too much. They irritate themselves by leaving a five-footer coming back, which, when they are rattled, causes them to miss it most of the time.

Don’t turn out to be that jerk. When you have a good look at a birdie putt, your goal is straightforward: It is not to make the putt, but rather to hit an ace. good  putt. That entails striking it at the appropriate rate of speed. Make every effort not to consider whether or not the ball is going to fall into the hole.

9. They don’t focus on getting the ball in play

According to Marc Leishman, who has broken 80 on multiple occasions, the most important thing is to  not act like a hero. This is especially true off the tee, and it’s a mistake that I regularly see other golfers, especially average golfers, make. It is not necessary to make every single shot count against the ball. It is imperative that you put the ball into play. It is not necessary to strike the ball directly in order to get it back into play. You have to make the most of what you have. It’s not the bogeys that kill your round; it’s the doubles and triples that you take. In addition, those large scores are frequently the result of an off-planet drive off the first tee. Protect yourself against the potentially disastrous outcome by any means necessary.

10. They have no idea how to hit a ball above/below their feet

Amateur golfers, make a mental note of this right now so that you won’t make me nervous any longer by hitting poor shots when you’re set up to the ball in a position where it’s difficult to hit it. The following are four of the most awkward lies in golf, as described by GOLF Top 100 Teacher Gary Weir in the perfect rundown right here:

A ball that is situated above your feet will head in the opposite direction, so tighten your grip and aim to the right.

A ball placed underneath your feet will move to the right, so you should play for the fade and maintain some additional knee flex.

Uphill with a ball will cause it to go high, so make sure you tighten your throat muscles and tilt your shoulders in the direction of the slope.

Roll the ball downhill will cause it to go down, so remember to keep your weight forward and tilt your shoulders in the direction of the slope.

  • course strategy

Luke Kerr-Dineen

a contributor for

GOLF Magazine’s Game Improvement Editor, Luke Kerr-Dineen also writes for the magazine. . In his current position, he is responsible for managing the brand’s game improvement content across all of GOLF’s various multimedia platforms, including instruction, equipment, health and fitness.

Luke moved to New York in 2012 to attend Columbia University for the purpose of earning his master’s degree in journalism. Luke is a graduate of the International Junior Golf Academy as well as the University of South Carolina–Beaufort golf team, where he was instrumental in elevating the team to the top spot in the national NAIA rankings. His work has been published in a variety of publications, including but not limited to USA Today, Golf Digest, Newsweek, and The Daily Beast.

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