You see them all the time. They are the professionals you see on television that are playing in all the big tournaments.
People like Tiger Woods. Phil Mickelsen. Rory McIlroy. They make golf seem so effortless, whereas it seems like we’re bumbling around the golf course at times, trying to fetch our balls out of the woods. Or taking another penalty shot after dunking our shot in another water hazard.
These people have practiced over and over again so they don’t make common mistakes most people make when it comes to playing golf. That’s why you see every drive split the fairway like a cannon.
The good news is you can avoid common mistakes in order to improve your scores and lower your handicap.
Here are 5 mistakes great golfers never make that you’re probably making right now. Use this guide to pinpoint the sticking points in your game so you can show your buddies who’s the king of the course:
Mistake #1: Too strong or awkward of a grip
We are all told that we need to interlock your hands when it comes to your grip. But many golfers have the club too much in the palm of their hands when they grip the club and address the ball. This is because they focus on interlocking their hands before they grip the club.
You need your hands to work as a unit, but that doesn’t mean you need to have a vice grip on the club. That’s why it’s important to loosen your grip and make sure the club is positioned right in your fingers.
The trick is to stand above the ball with your club resting against you. You simply let your hands dangle as you look a the ball. Then you simply bring your hands together on the club with your palms facing each other. When you’re able to match your palms on the golf club, then you know you have this right.
Mistake #2: Trying to swing the club, so it’s in line with the ball’s path
Many golfers try to swing the club, so the clubhead path is on a straight line of where they want the ball to go. This is not the way to swing a club, and it’s a surefire way to slice your shot.
You need to remember that the clubhead runs around an arc around your body. So, when you swing, you only want the clubface to make square contact with the ball and then continue its arc around your body and continue throughout the follow-through.
The good news is swinging this way makes the shot look natural, not wonky when you’re trying to keep the clubhead in line with the ball’s flight. You’ll also avoid making a lot of slices that could kill your game.
Mistake #3: Trying to lift the ball when making iron shots
Many people try to lift the ball when making iron shots because that’s what they do when they use their driver. The problem is doing this will result in many shots that catch the turf before striking the ball or creating a lot of topped shots.
The key with iron shots is you want the lowest point of your swing to be just after the ball. That means you’re striking the ball with a downward motion when you’re making iron shots.
This will result in better ball flight and better distance.
It helps to practice brushing the turn with your iron shots as practice. You’ll want to brush the turf just after the ball so you ensure your clubface is going down when striking the ball. The more you practice this, the more you’ll be able to hit solid iron shots that’ll get your buddies buying your drinks at the 19th hole.
That’s why you see professionals take divots either at the ball or right after the ball. They’re making sure the lowest point of the club is right after the ball.
Mistake #4: Keeping your head still during shots.
You may have heard that keeping your head still throughout the golf shot will help you play better golf. You may have even had some well-intentioned golfers tell you to “keep your head still” or “you lifted your head too early” if you hit a bad shot.
The problem is this advice is wrong. It has wrecked and injured a lot of golfers. Keeping your head too still will make your swing and your game worse.
The bottom line is you want to create maximum body rotation when it comes to the golf shot. This is what gives you power. That’s why it’s important that your head rotates backward a little so you can get this maximum power.
The same goes for the follow-through. Your head needs to rotate along with the follow-through so you can hit a solid shot.
You’ll also notice that your head will inch backward from the starting position when you perform your backswing. You’ll also see your head move several inches forwards through the hitting area during your follow-through. Keeping your head still will rob you of the power and consistency that you need to play superior golf.
Mistake #5: Beat yourself up too much on the golf course
You probably notice that the caddies you see on television are always talking up their players, even after they hit a bad shot. That’s because they know the positive effects of mindset in the game of golf.
The problem is most of us don’t have caddies to tell us encouraging stuff while we play a round of golf. That’s why it’s critical to become an “inner caddy” so you can talk positively to yourself throughout a round.
Think about it. Golf is just a game. Unless you are playing professionally for money, you really shouldn’t get upset that you played a bad shot. That’s why it’s important not to beat yourself up after bad shots. You need to forget about them and move on to the next shot.
It helps if you have phrases you tell yourself before and after a shot. It also helps to visualize the shot to boost your confidence and feel like you can execute the shot.
Plus, think about what golf is constantly teaching you about life—things as overcoming adversity, handling anger, focusing, and having a positive attitude. There’s no reason to get upset when you play golf. After all, it’s just a game, and it’s teaching you some valuable life lessons.
Remember this when you hit a shot, and it heads straight to the trees.
This article should help when it comes to playing better golf and keep you from getting frustrated with your game. Remember, practice makes perfect, which is why it’s critical to head to the driving range to practice these fundamentals. So go off and take care of your game.