I’ve given countless golf lessons over the years with a great deal of success. In that time, I’ve held golf instruction sessions for hundreds of golfers, none of which were alike when it came to their swings. That’s why I started writing golf tips for weekend players. Everyone has, or seems to have, swing faults peculiar to his or her golf swing.
While every player is different, some faults are more common. I see them time and time again. Neither the player’s level, genders, size nor does matter. If you’re a recreational golfer—with limited time to practice—you probably have one of these swing faults.
Fault #1: Pull Hook
Hooking is probably the second most common fault among weekend golfers. The problem usually is in you setup. Since most golfers are right handed, there’s a tendency to emphasize that side of your swing. The problem often is in your setup. Your right arm is tense, your right shoulder rides high, and your right hip’s cast toward the ball. Inevitably, this leads to a descending blow that causes a duck hook.
The cure is simple. Relax your right arm. Take your normal setup, then shift your hips laterally to the left a bit. This setup raises the left shoulder and relaxes your right arm. It also puts your left side in a more dominant position. As you take your backswing, you should feel as if you shift your weight go no further than the inside of your left foot before beginning your downswing. This approach helps you stay behind the ball and maintain your balance throughout the swing.
Fault #2: Upper-cutting
If you’re mid- and long-irons are coming up short, you’re probably upper cutting the ball. Weekend golfers and those that lack hand strength, often try to help the ball get airborne. They reinforce this notion by setting up with their weight on the back of their heels, the right shoulder inordinately low, and the right arm (for right-handers) bent to an extreme.
The golfer with this type of swing must spin out and fall backward to hit the ball, swinging up rather than down. This increases the loft of the club, sending the ball skyward.
Once again, your set-up is the key. The simplest way to cure this swing fault is to drop your left shoulder enough to allow you to turn it under your chin. Now aim your shoulder on a line parallel to the target line and distribute your weight more evenly. Move the ball back a little in your stance as well.
This setup encourages a better, less restricted shoulder turn and a more descending angle of attack. Remember the loft of the club will drive the ball airborne. You don’t need to help it.
Fault #3: Blocking
Many recreational players who take my golf lessons “block” the ball. When asked about it, they say they’re trying to get the feeling that the back of their left hand (for right-handers) is going toward the target. This swing thought is not good.
What you want to feel is your arms and hands on the “inside” of the ball and moving left after impact. You must maintain the triangle of the chest, arms, and hands on the backswing and follow-through.
One way to cure blocking is to feel as if you’re driving your right shoulder down and past the ball, with your hands in a more passive role. This type of action through the ball allows you to use the larger muscles of your body more. It also allows you to make a good follow-through. An added benefit: It’s much easier on your back.
Fault # 4: Flying elbow
While a flying elbow is most common among golfers with high golf handicaps, many players with low golf handicaps also do it. Players who’ve played baseball before turning to golf often have this problem as well. The basic problem is that you let your right elbow (for right handers) detach from your body in and effort to generate more distance for yourself, instead of letting the club do the work.
One of the best ways to cure this problem is to start with your left elbow pressed against your chest. Now swing the club back until you feel like your hands are touching your right shoulder and then start forward. If the left arm stays in this position on the backswing, you’ll get a full shoulder turn, a flatter plane, and a less dominant right side.
They’re you have it—Golf’s Four Most Common Mistakes I see when giving golfer lessons. These faults are common among golfers with high golf handicaps.
But you don’t need hours of golf instruction sessions to cure these faults. Just follow the golf tips I’ve provided and you should be able to cure them with practice.