10 reasons why golfers don’t improve

Ivan Morris

Irish amateur Shane Lowry reacts after missing a putt on the 18th green during the final round of the Irish Open at Baltray in County Louth, Ireland on May 17, 2009. Lowry played three playoff rounds to against England's Robert Rock to win the Irish Open. AFP PHOTO/c (Photo credit should read PETER MUHLY/AFP/Getty Images)

Mistake No. 1:

Most golfers fail because they do not learn ‘correct technique’ from the beginning – The things they learn are too easily forgotten. Over and over again, they find themselves struggling with the very same faults that have been discovered and corrected time and time again.

Mistake No 2:


No clearly defined goals for getting better – It is vital to have clearly defined goals for improvement. If improvement is not forthcoming after a reasonable amount of genuine effort the ‘remedy’ obviously needs to be altered. Hard work without a strong emphasis on improved scoring won’t achieve anything. Practice quality is always more important than quantity.

Mistake No 3:

Not practicing the right things or, more likely, not practicing at all – Practice smarter, not necessarily harder – especially the short game. Practice should always be geared towards lowering one’s scores and the most effective way to do that is tighter play around the greens. Too many aimlessly bash the ball on the driving range, rather than practicing 5-foot putts and how to pitch and chip consistently with a variety of different clubs in different situations.

Mistake No 4:

Using incorrect equipment – New equipment isn’t the answer, unless it is properly custom fitted to suit the individual concerned. If you already have a decent, set of clubs that suit you – far better to buy a series of lessons.

Mistake No 5:

Not focusing on the basics – Good basics are the key. Touring pros check their basics every day. One lesson should be enough to establish the correct fundamentals of grip, stance, posture and alignment. You can build a good game from there alone. A good lesson on the fundamentals will cure a multitude of faults.

Mistake No 6:

Looking for ‘The Secret’ – There is no secret. If you practice intelligently and play often improvement will be inevitable. Too many golfers listen to uninformed comments by their playing companions.

Mistake No 7:

Overestimating how far you hit the ball – Be realistic about the distances you can hit each club. Be aware of changing conditions; wind, soggy or fast running ground. Unless there is serious trouble beyond the target, always err on the ‘big’ side. Hitting the golf ball the ‘right’ distance is just as important as how straight you hit it.

Mistake No 8:

Controlling one’s emotions – A round of golf takes four hours but requires less than five minutes of fully focused effort. There is often a roller coaster of emotions. Occasionally, you may need to allow yourself a little bit of a ‘frustration indulgence’ but the trick is not to let it last. Make sure your head is clear before the next shot and concentrate on basics!

Mistake No 9:

Planning your round – Arrive in plenty of time, do some stretching and ‘warming up’ exercises and hit at least a few practice shots. Make sure you have plenty of balls, tees, water, food (nuts, raisins or fruit) and the proper clothing. A notebook that tells you the course yardages and reminds you of the swing issues you may be working on is also useful. Set your own par standard and stick to it.

Mistake No 10:

Poor pre-shot routine – A consistent pre-shot routine is the most effective way of maintaining concentration for each shot. Your golf pro will help you to find a pre-shot routine that suits your style and temperament; stick to it come hell or high water!

There you are now, that isn’t so hard – you should feel like a better player already!


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One response to “10 reasons why golfers don’t improve”

  1. Noel avatar

    Golf clothing and equipment are far too expensive to update every few years.

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