The 9 Most Common Golf Mistakes – And How To Fix Them

If you’re new to the sport of golf, welcome! You’re in for a treat with one of the most social and competitive sports you can pursue.

Golf is a great game that takes lots of practice to improve, which means plenty of hours enjoying the great outdoors and breathing in that fresh air.

However, that also means a lot of troubleshooting errors in your swing.

Golf mistakes are abundant at the beginning of your golf career, and troubleshooting your swing errors is the only way to fix them!

Many golfers find this kind of practice to be the most frustrating of them all. Picking apart your own swing and attempting to figure out what is going wrong can be exhausting, and no where near as fun as heading out to the driving range and rapid firing 100 balls as far as you can.

If you really want to become a great golfer, maybe even a scratch golfer someday, you need to be able to assess your own swing and figure out what you can do better.

That’s where we come in!

We’ve compiled a list of some of the most common golf mistakes you can find out on the course. These are things that every golfer has had to figure out at some point in their golfing career, even the pros!

So keep reading as we go through the most common golf mistakes, and how to fix them!

Lets get started!

golf mistakes. A golf ball next to a hole against the sunset.

the Most common golf mistakes:

1. Wrong Club size

A lot of golfers begin the sport with a gifted or hand-me-down club set. This is great for getting more people interested in the sport, but if you stick with that set for too long, it can start to affect your game.

Having improperly sized clubs can be the source of most troublesome swing errors. A club that is too short can cause you to top the ball or hit a thin shot, whereas a club that is too long can cause you to chunk the ball and affect your spine angle in your posture.

The best way to make sure that your golf clubs are properly sized is, unsurprisingly, to buy a set of golf clubs that are properly sized for you.

While it is definitely an investment, it might just be one worth making.

2. bad Posture

Another golf mistake that almost all beginners face is having bad posture in their swing.

Good golf posture is made up of a number of components: knee flexion, the hip hinge, foot position, spine angle, and shoulder position.

Any of these components being off could affect your swing negatively, and good posture is necessary for every kind of shot. No shot works better with bad golf posture, so don’t kid yourself that you’re getting away with it.

It’s worth making sure that you’re golf stance is adequate ASAP, otherwise it could start to have a real effect on your scorecard.

A golfer stands in position after making a swing.

3. Poor Swing Path

Your swing path is the entire journey that your club makes, up through your backswing, and through your downswing and your takeaway.

If your swing path is off, it can cause a shank or a hook, or a number of other mistakes.

Fixing your swing path to avoid these shots can be a very long process of troubleshooting the exact cause or moment in your swing path that is going wrong.

For the purposes of this article, let’s keep it simple!

One great way to fix your swing path is to first sort out your club face at address.

The angle of impact of your club face being either too open or closed can cause a number of swing errors, so if you first focus on keeping a straight and centered angle of contact in your swing can fix your problems on an unlucky day at the links.

4. trying to scoop the ball

If you’re having trouble getting height on your ball, or if you’re trying to hit a flop shot without knowing how there’s a strong chance you’ll try to scoop the golf ball.

This is one of the most common golf mistakes because it seems so intuitive. To get the ball in the air, you want to fling it up there, right? Wrong.

Getting the ball up is all about hitting the sweet spot on the ball, and following through your swing.

A great way to do this is by creating lag in your swing, this can help you ensure that your angle of contact is bang on the sweet spot.

a golfer makes a swing with an iron club.

5. not aiming

This is undeniably the silliest mistake on this list, and yet so many beginner golfers fall into the habit of not aiming at their target properly before making their shot.

If you struggle with hitting the ball correctly, you might just try and hit the ball without particularly caring where it ends up. This is disastrous for your scorecard.

Even if you’ve been known to whiff the golf ball, you have to at least try and hit a target.

Hitting the target is what golf is all about. So take a moment to make sure your feet are aligned correctly, and that you’ve made a decision as to where you’re aiming.

It all depends on what kind of shot you’re trying to hit. Reading greens when putting is a skill that takes hours and hours of practice and troubleshooting, but there are plenty of methods, like AimPoint or Plumb Bobbing, to help you out of a tough situation.

6. Ball Position

A lot of beginners get their ball position wrong for one big reason: they don’t know that it changes.

One of the most common golf mistakes is not only getting your ball position wrong for your swing, but not changing the ball position in your swing for different kind of shots.

For example, when driving, you want the ball to be slightly forwards in your stance. This is because your driver, or your wood, will have much less loft on the club face angle. Your ball will also most likely be on a tee when driving, and so you want to hit up on the ball to make sure you are hitting the ball far.

This is different when using your irons, as you want the ball in the center of your swing so that it is at the center of your swing path.

Except when playing out of a sand bunker. Having the ball slightly forward in your stance can really help with getting the loft needed to get out of a sand trap.

But for the majority of shots, your ball should be in the center of your position, far enough away from you that your club face should sit beside it when your grip your club normally but let your arms hang loose. Which takes us to our next point…

A golfer prepares for their downswing.

7. Rolled shoulders

In an attempt to control their swing more, a lot of beginners roll their shoulders in the golf stance. This can actually affect your swing plane and cause you to chunk shots if not attended to.

This is an easy mistake with an easy fix – just pull your shoulders back.

Just like you would for good posture in every day life, pull your shoulders back and let your arms relax. A lot of tension in the golf swing comes from the shoulders and can have a massively detrimental effect on your game.

You want your shoulders back, but your arms so relaxed that they hang loose at the beginning of your swing. As you begin your backswing, you’ll engage your shoulders and your wrists as part of the swing, but to start, your stance should be relaxed.

8. Balance

You might not think of balance as being a key component of a good golf swing, but it most certainly is.

Even though golf is a game played with both feet on the ground, your legs still have a lot of work to do in the swing, transferring your weight through your body to really build up enough power for your swing.

Trying too hard to channel all your power through your arms in your swing can lead to a golf whiff which can put you off balance and trip you up if you’re not careful.

Falling over taking a golf swing is definitely one of the most embarrassing golf mistakes you can make, but don’t let it deter you from playing a serious game.

A good drill to try is to make your shot and hold your final position until the ball has landed. Were you stable? Did you wobble? Trying this drill should intuitively tell you what it is you’re doing that is making you unstable in your golf swing.

A golfer smiles with her club on her shoulders.

9. No Warm Up

And finally the most common golf mistake, not warming up!

So many golfers make their first swing of the day with their first tee-off. You might be able to get away with it for a while, but not forever. If you want to play great golf, you’ll need to warm up.

There are plenty of ways to get warm before you start playing: do some stretches, make a few practice swings, but nothing works as well as hitting a few balls before you start.

Surprise your golf buddies and get to the course 30 minutes early and spend some time on the putting green, or at the driving range. Trust me – you’ll be glad you did!

So, that’s our rundown of the most common golf mistakes! Chances are, you’ll make some of these during your next round of golf, but remember that no one is perfect!

Even Tiger Woods hits a bad shot every now and then, so it’s nothing to be embarrassed about.

You’ve just got to keep practicing and keep learning new ways to improve!

Keep reading and learn why some people find golf so difficult!

Photo of author
Adam is a writer and lifelong golfer who probably spends more time talking about golf than he does playing it nowadays!

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