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9 Common Mistakes Amateur Golfers Make
Golf, on the surface, is an incredibly simple game. Your only objective is to send a little white ball along and specific distance on each portion of the golf course and into a hole plenty wide enough for the ball. Sounds so easy, doesn’t it?!
But as everyone knows, golf is anything but simple. There is always something to tweak in your game in hopes of shooting lower scores and feeling accomplished at the end of the day. Within the simple framework of the sport, there are infinite variables potentially wreaking havoc on your performance.
XGolf offers the best golf simulator technology on the planet, using more than 15 years of research, design and development to create an authentic golf experience year-round. And now Grand Junction golf enthusiasts can enjoy the XGolf experience for themselves!
But beyond a passion for golf simulation, we want to help you improve your golf game. So we’ve dedicated an entire section of our blog page to help you get the most out of your game, which you can work on at XGolf Grand Junction — even in the winter.
So here are nine common mistakes amateur golfers make out on the course and hopefully they help you take just one more step on the path to scratch golf. And of course, improve your golf game with individual attention from a PGA professional with golf lessons!
Picking the Wrong Club
As basic as it sounds, selecting the right club from your bag for the shot you’re facing is probably the first step in executing a proper golf shot, and yet it still trips up amateur players every day all over the world.
Plucking the big stick out when it isn’t appropriate is at the top of this mistake. Tempting as it is to hit your driver on every hole that isn’t a par 3 (well, hopefully!), a driver isn’t always the smartest play. The driver is a difficult club to hit accurately and an errant tee shot can quickly spoil a hole. Try opting for a wood or iron if you hit it straighter and set yourself up for a strong second shot. Golf requires strategy, never forget!
This principle applies to other shots out on the golf course. Don’t hit a 3 iron from a fairway bunker in hopes of extra length, for example. If you can’t hit out of a bunker with loft, pick a club that keeps you from making a bad situation into a disaster!
Proper grip is really the starting point of your swing. This is the only place your body comes into contact with the club and controls everything. Most amateurs grip the club too tightly, but if you lock your top pinky and bottom forefinger, you’ll never lose the club from your hand. You should have a firm grip, but never a stranglehold.
This will free up your wrists to work the club. Keep the grip in your fingers, not the palm, as the fingers are more sensitive and have better control. The Vs between your fingers and thumb should point at, or slightly outside, your right shoulder (for a right-handed player).
Trying Shots They Can’t Hit
It never hurts to know your limitations — in any walk of life — but especially in golf. There’s a fine line between challenging yourself and being unrealistic about your ability. Don’t think you are Phil Mickelson and try to hit a high-arcing flop shot with your 60-degree wedge unless you have practiced the shot over and over and know you have the technique down.
If you find yourself playing from the trees with only a tight window for a shot at the flag, do yourself a favor and just lay it up back into the fairway for a makeable third shot. Hitting a tree and going back farther than you started is never a great feeling. And don’t go pin-seeking. You’re not the ball striker of Rory McIlroy’s caliber, so don’t talk yourself into hitting a 3-foot landing spot on the green over a bunker. It’s just not going to happen.
Ever wonder what the caddie is doing every time he pulls out that small book from his back pocket? He’s checking yardages. Professionals know, to an inch, how far they hit every club in their bag and need to know the distance of any shot before they swing the club. Distance is critically important to shooting a great number.
Most of us, however, don’t have the luxury of playing with a caddie on the bag or consistently knowing how far we will hit each club. Using a rangefinder or golf GPS app is a great tool for any amateur so you at least nail down exactly how far the shot you’re facing is before attempting it. Practicing on the range is the only way to figure out how long you hit every club and don’t be afraid to write it down or put it in your phone for quick reference on the course.
Carrying Clubs They Don’t Need
Perhaps it seems like a good idea to have every single club you have in the bag at all times, you know, just in case. But in reality, it’s not only against the rules, it’s just not practical. Why keep a 2 iron in your bag that you never use (and that you almost certainly cannot hit!)?
If you aren’t consistently hitting your long irons, then trade them out in favor of easier-to-hit hybrid clubs. Having a 60-degree lob wedge might feel cool, but not when every time you try to hit the club, you blade the ball across the green.
Ignoring Course Conditions
There can be so much going on in your head out on the golf course. So it’s not hard to forget about things outside of your direct control in favor of those that are like picking the right club and gripping it properly. Yet that doesn’t make those indirect variables any less important.
First, assess your lie. Is the ball sitting down in the rough or floating on top almost like a tee? Is the green uphill and where is the pin in relation to the measured center of the green? Is the green elevated or downhill? And finally, what is the wind doing? These should all be considered before taking any swing because they just might save you a handful of valuable strokes.
Yes, it’s true. Hitting the ball far is a great way to shave strokes from your game. But not at the cost of doing so in the wrong way and sacrificing accuracy and consistent ball striking. Generating swing speed is the best way to improve distance, however, overswinging the club actually has the opposite result.
Bringing the club back too far will throw off your balance and timing, which decelerates your downswing and creates less power and accuracy, so you’ve done double the harm as taking your normal swing. Focus instead on the smoothness and proper technique to get your body in correct positions both at the top and through contact. A good swing should look fluid and natural and can only be created through lots of repetition.
Misreading the Green
Drive for show and putt for dough. You’ve all heard that saying before. Well, that’s because it’s true! You can be a tremendous player from tee-to-green, but you never lose — or gain! — more strokes than you will on the green. Many amateurs give away their entire round with the flat stick.
Putting is essentially a simple equation of pace and line. First, focus on the line of your putt. Read the contours of the putting surface and use your experience and imagination to get a sense of how the ball will roll toward the target. Be sure to take into account the green speed (from prior holes, practice greens or prior rounds) and if they are hot and fast or wet and slow. Then hit the putt with the speed to match that line. Never try to compensate with more or less speed on your putting stroke. Read the putt, trust your read and strike the ball as planned and watch that sucker roll right in!
Another one of golf’s simplistic concepts and one so often shattered by the amateur player. You can only hope to get the most from your swing by having your body in the proper position. How can you expect to hit the ball towards the intended target if you’re not aiming at it?
You should line your toes up parallel to the target line. Think of it this way: Your ball and club rest out in front of your body. If you aim your toes to the target directly, then the ball will go to the right of the target. Instead, line your toes to the parallel of the line from the ball and club face, which may seem like it’s too far left. You are toes are the left track on the railroad and the ball is the right. One would finish slightly to the left and one to the right individually, but together go exactly where intended.
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Plus, with XGolf, there is no waiting around for the group in front of you to finish a hole, you can order food and beverages that come right to you, and you can play the world’s best courses right here in Grand Junction.
Book your tee time at XGolf Grand Junction today and check out the best golf simulator in the world for yourself!