10 Bad Golf Swing Mistakes (Part 1)

Posted By: Golf.com Published: 09/06/2020 Times Read: 37 Comments: 0

It is amazing how many different ways there are to swing a golf club. I often think they are like fingerprints. Often you can identify someone from far away when you see their golf swing.

But while the list of ways to swing a golf club is long, the problems that plague the swing are significantly shorter. These are 10 of the most common swing or setup mistakes:

1. Weak grip causing slice

An open clubface slice is one of the most common mistakes that I see in my lessons, but the good news is that it can often be fixed very simply.  Many golfers that I see, incorrectly think that their lead (usually left) hand should have the thumb straight down the middle of the grip with their trail hand sitting on top of it (left picture above). This misunderstanding puts this lead head in a position that tends to open the face throughout the swing, producing a weak slice.  If this is you, take both of your hands — but more predominately your lead hand — and rotate them away from the target.  The grip change will almost immediately keep your clubface more square throughout your swing and most likely at impact as well.  A square face at impact will help your golf ball to not only go straighter but typically farther.

2. Bad posture

Being in balance at address and throughout your golf swing has a lot to do with being in good posture to start. The better your golf posture, the more it can support speed and athletic motion.  I love watching good golfers set up to their golf ball. You can tell before they swing that they are probably pretty good as they are properly bent forward from their hips with their hands hanging below their shoulders and their weight would typically be balanced in the balls of their feet.  Practice a good balanced set up and set up routine and when you do swing faster, your golf ball will still get in the way of your swing club and you will be able to maintain balance throughout.

3. Trying to lift the ball

Trying to lift the golf ball into the air is a copping cause of a topped or bladed shot. This tends to apply more to the mid- to high- handicapped golfers who do not completely understand what makes a golf ball go into the air.  Lower handicaps understand that around the greens, hitting down on the ball sends the ball up.

One of my favorite drills to teach golfers how to hit down on the ball is to place a tee flat on the ground on the target side of the golf ball. When you swing your club, not only should you sweep the grass under the ball, but your clubhead should stay low enough to the ground after the ball to also scrape this tee as well.  This scraping of the grass after the ball is what will produce more center face contact and higher shots, all because you understand what makes the ball launch.

4. Too much tension in hands and arms

One of the greatest ways to lose distance is to hold the golf club really tightly. This tension in the hands and therefore the arms will often overpower the club’s ability to swing, which produces less speed and distance.  There is a difference between holding your club and squeezing your club. One of my favorite ways to improve this is to turn your club upside down and hold onto the shaft of the club just below the club head and begin swinging. You goal is to hear the “swoosh” of the club. Grip too tightly, and you won’t be able to hear this noise.

5. Bad balance

Good posture certainly is a big step toward being in balance.  Every golfer, regardless of their skill level, should be able to hold their finish. You don’t need to do this every time, but you should test your balance by trying to do this on occasion.  One of my favorite balance drills is practice swings or hitting balls from a low tee with your feet relatively close together. This will help improve balance over time and rid you of excessive motion that makes it difficult to stay in balance.


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