Six Golf Swing Killers and How to Fix Them
You're suffering from some golf swing affliction, and finding the antidote is proving difficult. Time and again, you misdiagnose the fault, and, before you know it, you've gone further and further down the rabbit hole in search of the answer.
Sound familiar? We've sure been there.
Take a look below at some of the worst-offending golf swing killers, and possible fixes to help rid you of them.
Knees Too Bent at Address
Any golfer who has their knees excessively bent at address will be placing too much weight over the heels. From there, the backswing tends to be too flat, and the golfer comes over the top in the downswing. The hips generally also move forward, and the result is anyone's guess.
The Fix: Hold your club level with your belt buckle and let your arms relax, then hinge at the hips keeping your legs straight. Finally, 'soften' the legs to get the weight into the arches of your feet.
Tension in Hands and Arms
Whether it's fear creeping in as you stand over a particularly nasty shot or a vain attempt at controlling the golf swing itself, tension will appear at some point throughout your round.
Tension is one of the biggest golf swing killers because it ruins your fluidity and tempo. If you can relax your body, you'll be in far better shape to make a flowing, well-controlled golf swing.
The Fix: To reduce your in-round stress levels, stay more present in your game and remember the famous quote, 'the most important golf shot is your next one'. We know that's a well-worn piece of advice, but it's generally best to try and neutralise your emotions (positive and negative) on the course.
Some golfers like to hover the club at address, which can change your sensation and feelings over the ball. It helps to relieve tension and allows you to release your death grip on the shaft, leading to better tempo and rhythm.
A Poor Weight Shift
Problems can occur early in the backswing if you misunderstand how your weight should transfer to your trail side.
Golfers who slide too much to their right (for a right-handed golfer) in the backswing have a hard job on their hands trying to make solid contact - generally, because they'll be hanging back as they approach impact.
Serial swayers may be afraid to let their weight travel to the trail foot for fear of hitting it fat. Other golfers struggle to get any real pressure into that trail foot and will instead load too much of it into their lead side - the dreaded reverse pivot.
The Fix: If you've ever studied the swing of long-drive champion Kyle Berkshire - or even Tour pros like Matt Wolff - you'll notice that they initiate a move into the backswing by first moving pressure into their lead side and then rotating back.
At address, you want a little more of your weight on that lead side, so slightly shift your mid-section towards the target. As you rotate in the backswing, get your weight to transition towards the trail side. As a checkpoint, when your lead arm is level with the ground, you want most of your weight on your trail leg.
Important: this weight transfer should happen as a result of good body rotation.
In the downswing, by the time your lead arm is level with ground, much of your weight should have shifted to your lead leg. If you can do this early enough, your ball-striking will vastly improve.
Clubface Rolling Open in the takeaway
If you fan the clubface open in the early part of the golf swing, you're starting a chain of events that will probably result in the dreaded slice. An early rolling motion often causes a flat backswing and an over-the-top move in the downswing - potentially coupled with that still-open clubface.
The Fix: When the club is first parallel to the ground, try to find a position where the clubface is either square or very slightly closed. Repetition at home or at the range will help you find the perfect position.
Trying to 'Lift' the Golf Ball (Irons)
Many beginner golfers and higher-handicappers mistakenly attempt to lift the golf ball, perhaps because they aren't aware that you must hit down with an iron to get the ball airborne.
Don't take that too literally, though. It's easy to misinterpret that advice and start coming down into the ball very steeply. If you actively try to hit down at the ball, you could end up chunking it.
The Fix: You need to learn to trust that the loft on the golf club will send the ball sailing through the air. There's no need to scoop and neither should you try to 'flip' the club.
Keep those hands ahead of the ball at impact, as this will encourage a downward strike and stops any tendency you have to flip or scoop. Also, instead of hitting AT the ball, change your focus to a point an inch or two ahead and you'll soon be making pure ball-then-turf connections.
Trying to Hit Down on the Ball (Driver)
While we want a descending blow with an iron, it's essential to catch the golf ball on the way up with the driver. Though some golfers may advocate a slight downward strike to help control ball flight, this will rob you of much-needed distance if not executed correctly.
The Fix: To diagnose whether you're hitting down with your driver, either get to a golf simulator and check out your angle of attack, or book a lesson with your local pro.
Ball position can play a big part here. If you're teeing it up with the ball slightly further back than ideal, you're increasing the chances of a downward strike - and there's your loss of distance. Ideally, you want the ball just off your lead heel, or perhaps even further forward to ensure that upward hit (of course, we're into the land of diminishing returns if you move it too far forward).
Tee height is another focus. As a stock position, you will generally want half of the ball visible above your driver.
If any of these six golf swing killers is plaguing your game, we hope you can take something away from this piece to help cure your affliction once and for all.