The biggest round-killing mistake golfers make, according to a Top 100 Teacher

a golfer takes a swing.

What's the biggest swing-killer that's hurting amateur or weekend golfers?

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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — In the middle of a frustrating range session and worried you won’t be able to fix it on the course? Don’t fight it, Sean Hogan says. 

Hogan, a GOLF Top 100 Teacher and director of instruction at the Leadbetter Academy, said the No. 1 swing-killer amateurs make on the golf course is taking on shots they haven’t practiced.

“If they are warming up and playing with a 10-yard slice with their irons and a 20-yard slice with the driver, go ahead and just live with that shot shape [that round]. Don’t take on a shot that’s not going to fit or that you haven’t practiced,” said Hogan on Monday at GOLF’s Top 100 Teachers Summit at Talking Stick Resort. “In other words, if you are taking on a shot and trying to draw it 10 yards, it’s probably not going to happen.

“It’s really playing the shots that you own and your current swing DNA, and sticking with that. And look, if you want to change it, that’s a time to come into a lesson and get with your coach and tweak things.”

So if your typical stock drive is a 15-yard slice on the range on this particular day, don’t fight it, own it, and play it with confidence. The last part is key.

“Aim down the left side, left center, and be committed, be athletic to that shot shape, because it’s in your current DNA,” Hogan says. “Something may have changed, the grip, the club-face action, the path.”

It’s a quick fix for the round, as Hogan notes, it’s important to get it checked out by a teacher later if the issue is bothering you and won’t go away. He referenced Jack Nicklaus, saying the Golden Bear would warm up and hit a few draws and a few fades and get a good understanding of which felt more effortless that day.

“Knowing that a player of his ilk could definitely move it the other way if he wanted to, unless he had to, he said, ‘Hey, this fade is working fine today and we are just going to go with it.’ And he’s also won with a draw, so sometimes the draw was very comfortable to him.

“Jack’s case in point: Don’t fight the shot that you currently have and that you are confident in. Go with it and maximize your performance.”


Josh Berhow Editor

As’s managing editor, Berhow handles the day-to-day and long-term planning of one of the sport’s most-read news and service websites. He spends most of his days writing, editing, planning and wondering if he’ll ever break 80. Before joining in 2015, he worked at newspapers in Minnesota and Iowa. A graduate of Minnesota State University in Mankato, Minn., he resides in the Twin Cities with his wife and two kids. You can reach him at