However well-intentioned your playing partners may be, it’s safe to say that quite often their golf tips should be taken with a huge pinch of salt.
The difference in 'feels v reals' means that what works for one golfer, can be rather destructive for another’s golf swing. Here we list six of the worst pieces of golf swing advice you should ignore immediately. Take a look at what we've come up with.
"Keep your head down"
Let's start with the king of all shocking golf tips. We've heard it with our buddies, and likely even berated ourselves with this classic line after a less than ideal golf shot. It's the lazy whipping boy of many a bad swing and, as many golf coaches around the world will tell you, keeping your head down will rarely (if ever) cure your golf swing woes.
If you follow this path it will lead to increased rigidity in your swing. It can stop your upper body's ability to rotate (leading to poor strikes) and could hurt you physically as it puts a lot of strain on your neck.
"Take the putter straight back"
Though it's possible that certain golfers may putt well with an idea of going straight back and through, this fights the natural arc of the putting stroke. Almost all the best flat stick exponents in the world use an arc-based stroke.
In the video below, top golf coach (and friend of Hole19) Eric Cogorno discusses the 'straight back and through' putting stroke with leading putting coach David Orr. David believes that thinking about putting in a straight line is poison and will only destroy your card.
"Keep your lead arm straight"
Another sure-fire way to get unwanted tension and rigidity into your golf swing lies in trying to copy many Tour pros by keeping your lead arm straight. The resultant lack of right elbow bend and poor wrist rotation is a recipe for disaster.
If you like to copy the professionals you'll find many examples of great golfers who play with an element of bend in their lead arm. Eric Cogorno summarises it below:
To me, the left arm being straight is kind of like the whole 'keep your head down' thing.
It's one of those things that I think your grandfather said as a way to help you get the perfect golf swing, and then it stuck.
When I watch really good golfers, do I think that their arm, their left arm is straighter rather than excessively bent?
Yes, but you do not have to keep your left arm straight during the entire swing."
"You're swinging too hard"
If swing speed is leading to poor strikes this may point to a problem with the fundamentals at set-up, or within the swing itself. Swinging more slowly is not guaranteed to achieve perfect contact, but will lead to you hitting the golf ball a shorter distance.
Get the fundamentals strong and speed can be your friend. If swinging faster leads to you losing balance then it's very likely your posture needs work. Rick Shiels discusses this very issue below.
"Stop thinking too much"
This idea can have its merits at times but, when taken to extremes, it can be detrimental to the swing overall. Ask a golf coach and they would look horrified at the idea of one of their students completely emptying their head before each shot.
Sure, some amateur golfers can get a little cluttered in their thought process, but you need to know what you're doing when swinging the golf club. Even the world's best golfers will have some sort of swing thought when they tee it up. The best way to streamline the number of thoughts is through practice and repetition.
"Hit down on the ball"
While it's true that an iron comes into the golf ball with a descending blow, this happens naturally with a good golf swing and any conscious attempt to strike down will likely lead to inconsistent golf.
Hitting down on the ball can rob you of distance and lead to injury over time. Below Chris Ryan goes through the technicalities and explains in greater detail the destructive nature of a forced downward strike.