10 common swing mistakes I see golfers make on the range
I’m a GOLF Top 100 Teacher, but part of being a good teacher is being a keen observer. Every day on my lesson tee I observe my students: their technique, their routines, their preparation, their mentality, and their attitudes. I even observe golfers who don’t come to me for lessons, and make a mental note to myself what I would do to make them better.
All that observing means I see golfers make a lot of mistakes along the way. These are some of the most common:
1. Open clubface causing a slice
The most common cause of a slice is an open clubface. Better players tend to have their clubface more square at impact, which doesn’t just help them improve it also allows them to have more fun.
Open clubfaces are usually caused by a grip that’s too weak. If you clubface is open, I suggest turning both of your hands away from the target to “strengthen” your grip and square-up the clubface.
2. Poor swing path
When your clubface is too open or closed, golfers naturally begin to compensate by coming over-the-top or too far from in-to-out. Those two things combine to put a lot of shape on the golf ball, and inflate your scores.
I am a great believer that you should fix the face before the path, because the face is the main influence on your ball’s direction. Once you fix your clubface, it’ll be easier to straighten out the club path.
3. Poor posture
One of the simplest ways to guarantee good and repetitive contact is good posture. I often see golfers hold their posture too upright and bend their knees too much to get back to the ball. This unathletic posture will pull the golfer off-balance before they even start their swing.
Good golf posture involves bending forward at the hips, with your chest over your toes so your hands hang directly below their shoulders.
4. Trying to ‘lift’ the ball
Getting the golf ball into the air can be completely counter-intuitive. To keep it simple: In order to hit the ball up, you need to the club needs to hit the ground. Many golfers attempt to do the opposite: They try to ‘lift’ the ball into the air, which causes constant topping of the ball.
Practicing off a low tee and feeling like you’re trying to break the tee in half can be good practice. I also like my students to feel like they’re extending or throwing their trail arm straight down towards the ground on the downswing for full extension and turf contact.
5. Hitting balls to no target
I often see golfers randomly hitting golf balls into the range, aiming for no specific target. Taking a quick second to use an alignment rod can help you understand if you’re hitting the ball straight, and what adjustments you need to make before going to the course.
6. Guiding rather than swinging
If your setup is good, then your golf ball should feel as though it’s getting in the way of your swing, and it’ll go where you want. Too often I’ll se golfers slow down their swings as an attempt to make contact and hit the ball straight, which can prevent you from making a good pivot and hurt your swing speed.
7. Bad balance
Good balance is the key to consistency and accuracy. Golfers often fail to hold their finish in practice and cleverly disguise it by reaching for another ball before they fall over. Holding your finish until the ball lands is a great habit to get into. If you do not typically do this, it may feel extreme at first, but your contact will improve.
8. Ball position too forward for hybrids
Ball position is one of the most important fundamentals. When the golf ball is on the ground, I prefer to see it mostly centered or slightly forward for fairway woods. I often see golfers on the range play the ball far too forward, and then hit the ground before the ball.
A great way to find center is to start with your feet together, and the club centered in your body. Then take equidistant steps with each foot to avoid the golf ball being too far back or forward.
9. Ball position too back for driver
Then the ball is teed up and the ball position is too far back with the driver, the angle of attack will be too far down, which will cause a pop up. You can use the feet together drill featured above, but this time, take a small step with your lead foot and a big one with your trail foot.
10. Rushing to the first tee
Often on my lesson tee, I see golfers rushing to tee off, rather than taking the time to warm up.
Arrive early enough or tell your group you need to hit a few balls, not only to warm up but to see what your golf ball is telling you needs to be adjusted. You may think that good golfers always hit the ball well but this is absolutely not the case. Often, the best golfers simply know how to adjust their swings or setups to compensate for the mistakes they might be making that day. Take the time to warm up properly and your round will likely be more enjoyable.
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