10 Bad Golf Swing Mistakes (Part 2)
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:
6. Trying to swing in a straight line
A golf swing is a curving and circular motion. For that reason, many golfers incorrectly attempt to swing their clubhead on a straight line back and through. In either case, if you swing your club too straight back and never allow your underarms to stay close to your body, the club rotates on an arc. You can easily correct this by allowing your underarms to stay relatively close to your chest throughout your golf swing. Not only will this help produce a consistent, circular path, but you will also be able to keep your hands and arms more relaxed to help increase speed.
7. They come over the top
We hear this all the time, but what does it really mean? So much of golf terminology isn’t very logical. “Over the top” means to swing from out-to-in, cutting across to the inside typically producing a pull or a slice. In my experience, most golfers who come “over the top” do so because their clubface is open due to their grip position, which has the effect of aiming them to the right. Think of it this way, if your alignment on your car was off to the right, after running into everything on the right side of the road, what would you do? You would likely start twisting your steering wheel to the left. Sometimes it might work, but it doesn’t fix the underlying problem in the car. So, to adjust your downswing path, first check your grip, clubface, and use swing aids to promote a more neutral swing path. Even something as simple as an alignment rod on the ground just outside of your golf ball can help avoid the inclination to have your clubhead in the wrong position and can be enough to improve downswing path.
8. Bad ball position
It may sound all too simple, but incorrect ball position can cause huge issues with contact and direction. One of my favorite lessons is to show how ball position can lead to mishits, even when technique is perfect. Most often, if a golfer has the ball too far forward in their stance, they will tend to hit a fat shot. Many times, you are hitting the ground where the ball should be. If your ball position is too forward, this is often accompanied by a shoulder and forearm alignment that will cause swing path issues.
9. No setup routine to correct ball position
An improper ball position can cause issues with your setup through too much (or too little) shoulder tilt. Start with your hands on the grip of the club and bow forward from your hips to set the club behind the ball. Place the club in the middle of your body with your feet completely together and touching. This will help you to find the center of your body and also help your body alignments to start relatively parallel. Next, take the smallest widening step you can with your lead foot and then a larger step with your back foot. When you do this, allow your trailing shoulder to drop lower also. This will help you find proper ball position and the correct shoulder tilt needed to maximize your driver contact and distance.
10. Closed face causing bad path
Since your clubface is such a huge influence on your golf ball, extreme versions of an open or closed face can cause huge issues in your swing. A closed clubface will often produce a lower flight and a ball that hooks. The problem with a hook is that the ball will also struggle to launch high enough into the air to carry. A closed face most often comes from an incorrect grip where one or both of the hands is rotated too far away from the target in a “strong” position. This will cause the clubface to close throughout the swing and at impact, leading to a low hook shot. The natural reaction to this miss is to swing more out and away and the issue here is it typically increases the hook and makes pitching and bunker shots nearly impossible. To correct this, take one or both of your hands and turn them toward the target so you see fewer knuckles on your lead hand and fewer fingernails on your trail hand. This more neutral position will allow your clubface to stay more square. When you are looking to improve your golf game it’s crucially important to make fixes to your fundamental problems. Don’t just blindly pick a fundamental to work on unless it makes sense to what your golf ball is telling you. When choosing from the list of most common mistakes, make sure it matches your particular game.
When you’re making adjustments and changes, be vigilant and remember, it takes time to truly make a change a habit, but your focus will pay off.