Most Common Golf Swing Mistakes – How to Avoid Them

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The golf swing can be described as one of the most complex continuous motions in sport. In other words, it is pretty hard. There is no universal formula to follow that will make you swing perfectly. Just ask the professional golfers on the PGA and LPGA Tours. However, the most common golf swing mistakes are avoidable.

On average, recreational golfers do not have much time to practice nor access to world-class coaches and training equipment.

For that reason, there are some swing adjustments you can do yourself to make it better. It may take some time, but improvement will happen.

Image by Virgile Donadieu
Image by Virgile Donadieu on Unsplash

If you go into details, there are many things you can work on when it comes to your swing. Among all those things there are some caused by common mistakes that are avoidable. Once you know what they are, you can see if they are happening to you. When you identify one or more, you can start working on fixing it and improving your swing.

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Trail Side Slide

This move happens often, especially when you just start playing. It is basically when you slide toward your trail side during the backswing. Your body follows the club weight as you move it and causes the rest of the body to follow it. As the consequence, you have to compensate on the downswing to get back into a balanced position.

That sequel of events contributes to a lot of mis-hits in the form of thin or thick shots. In order to change that you can try some exercises that will keep your lower body steady. For one of them, position yourself in the initial swing setup, just without the club. Now, without the club, put your hands across your upper body and rotate without sliding.

There are different variations of this and similar exercises you can find. The key is that you get the feeling of separating your upper and lower body during the backswing without sliding. Once you get that feeling without a club, start introducing it slowly into your swing. Go slowly in the beginning and as you become more comfortable start increasing the swing speed.

Outside to In Club Path

One of the two causes for slices is very common, particularly among new golfers. Besides the ball going in the rough or out of bounds it also contributes to less distance. It is hard to detect unless someone sees you swinging or you film your swing and check it yourself. There are a few possible reasons the club moves from outside in.

The first reason can be if your backswing ends too much inside and to compensate your downswing moves your club too much outside. This can be solved when on the takeaway you move your club and arms in sync without your club moving behind you. As the outcome, your downswing will move the club from inside out or on a more neutral path.

The second most common reason is when your arms detach from your body during the swing. That causes your club to travel too far from your body ending up in an outside-to-in path. The fix here is to keep your arms close to your body, especially in the upper arm area. Try to tuck in a piece of your shirt under your lead armpit and keep it there through the swing.

Image by Erik Brolin on Unsplash
Image by Erik Brolin on Unsplash

No Forward Shaft Lean

This is the cause of less power in the swing and lack of distance. If you look at any professional golfer’s swing, you will notice the forward shaft lean at impact. It is one of the things all of them have in common. That way they are de-lofting their club and adding distance to their shot.

There are a couple of main reasons preventing forward shaft lean. Those reasons are early club release and no weight shift. The early club release usually happens when the weight is shifted too much to the trail side at impact. Another thing that can cause it is the early extension. That happens when the golfer stands up before the impact.

When the weight is not transferred properly or when is not transferred at all, there is no shaft lean at impact. That way the ball goes shorter distances and too much in the air, especially with shorter short irons and wedges. Ideally, the club handle is inside the lead thigh area at impact which creates enough shaft lean for solid contact.

Too Long Backswing

Yes, this can actually happen. You can have a too-long backswing. It does not mean you should not swing long, it only means it should have some limitations. What I mean by that is that the backswing structure should be solid. More precisely, as soon as your lead arm bends too much in the backswing it is not going to produce the best results.

A lot of times recreational golfers overcompensate for the limited flexibility by overly bending the lead arm in the backswing. That is a big cause of less power and inconsistency in the swing. You should not try to have a longer swing that way, but instead, have a solid swing within your limitations.

When you finish the backswing with the lead arm straight or just slightly bent in the elbow, it will give you the best results. Even if that means your swing is shorter, it will produce the best outcome. Your swing will have more power and it will be more consistent.

Image by Samantha Gades
Image by Samantha Gades on Unsplash

Open Clubface at Impact

Unless you are trying to hit a specific shot, an open clubface at impact will lead to unwanted results. Those results will usually be uncontrolled slices missing the fairway. There are a couple of possible reasons the clubface is open at impact. The reasons are related to the grip and to the wrists’ position during the swing.

When it comes to the grip, a weaker grip will lead to the opening of the clubface. If your hands at setup are turned more toward your lead side, you have a weaker grip. There are golfers who have weaker grips and that works for them. If you are in the category where that does not work, it is time for an adjustment. Try turning your hands toward your trail side until you find a grip that works better.

Even if you have a neutral grip, your wrists’ position through impact can open the clubface. That happens when your lead wrist is cupped and your trail wrist is bent. Ideally, your lead wrist is straight or slightly bent at impact in order for the clubface to be squared. Again, the best way to find the sweet spot is to try until you find the best position for yourself.

Lifetime Learning Process

Golf is hard, that is reality. That is also something that is never going to change no matter how hard we try. However, we can make it more enjoyable if we keep working on our game. You might not have a lot of time to practice, but always try to make the best of it. When you do practice do it with a purpose.

Make a plan and stick to it. Do not jump from drill to drill, do one until you master it then move on. Have a positive attitude and set realistic objectives. Even professional golfers try to improve each segment of the game their entire careers. It is a lifetime learning process for both them and us. That is also never going to change.

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How to Fix a Golf Swing Slice – Hit It Straight

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Categories: Golf Swing

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