Once a year we get together with other instructors and talk about teaching golf to our students. Invariably, we discuss the most common swing faults we see in golf instruction sessions among new students. Our discussion on common faults generates valuable insights into teaching the game to new players. Many of the faults we discuss in these sessions can also be found in veteran golfers, but the swing faults we talk about are particularly bothersome to new players.
This year was no different. During our discussion, we developed a list of 10 common errors we see in new players. Below we name four of the top faults we see in golf lessons among new players. We also provide golf tips on correcting them. These golf tips can also help veteran golfers correct them. If you commit any of these faults, you should know that eliminating them could help you chop strokes off your golf handicap and break 80.
1. Lack Of Clubhead Speed
Clubhead speed is the key to hitting longer drives. Hitting longer drives results in shorter shots into the green. To increase clubhead speed, set up as you normally do. As you start your swing, slowly push your clubhead away from the ball on a straight line. Keep your left arm extended as much as possible. When you get to about hip high, start cocking your wrists. Continue cocking them until you get to the top. If you execute your backswing correctly, you’ll set yourself up for a powerful downswing that delivers tremendous clubhead speed.
2. Swinging Too Hard
New players who take golf lessons often swing the club too hard. The harder you swing, they think, the farther the ball will go. But swinging hard can cost you. It throws off your rhythm and tempo. We teach students in our golf instruction sessions to swing about 75% to 80%. We also teach them to take a little off their swings at key times, like when they have a sidehill or an uphill lie. You should also take a little off when hitting into the wind or from a fairway bunker.
3. Poor Body Rotation
New players don’t always make a full turn. (Veteran golfers often do the same.) To get those extra yards from your shots, you must make a full turn. If you have problems turning, try this: Take your normal address position. Now shift your back foot back a few inches and flare out your front foot. This move gets your back leg out of the way when turning and shifts your weight onto your front leg—setting up the correct weight shift on the forward swing.
4. Poor Distance Control
Poor distance control near the green costs you strokes. Getting your wedges to bite improves distance control. Putting spin on the ball help get your wedges to bite. Here’s some golf tips on creating spin: Make sure the ball is sitting up in the fairway and that it’s positioned back of center at address. Also, use a wedge with little bounce on it. Make an aggressive downward strike from the top. Ideally, you want to pinch the ball against the turf. To do this, you must keep your keep your hands in front of the ball throughout the swing.
The four faults discussed above can derail your swing. For new players, they’re deadly because new players lack the experience needed to make mid-swing changes. Veteran golfers are also prone to these swing faults. Eliminating them—whether you’re a new player or an experienced golfer—improves your ballstriking and helps chop strokes off your golf handicap.