As with any sport, golf, too, comes with its own set of misconceptions. There is a lot of information floating about the price of the equipment to how to improve your swing. Still, it can be hard to discern which of that information is corroborated and useful. So, to aid new players, let’s start clearing the air, one misconception at a time. Here are our five misconceptions preventing golfers from improving their game and how to avoid them!
You Need the Best Equipment to Play
Golf is often described as a rich man’s sport. Something that rich old CEO types play in their off time while making shady deals with each other on the course (that’s what the movies say, at least).
However, that isn’t really the case. And while golf, like tennis, has a higher entry bar in terms of money spent on equipment, it’s not nearly as bad as most people think.
This brings us to our first misconception preventing golfers from improving – you need prime equipment to compete.
Sure, you might need the latest technology for your clubs in the pro scene. But for an average golfer, any set of clubs will do, as long as they’re functional and reliable.
What’s better, many people dab their hands in the sport but then decide that golf isn’t their cup of tea and drop it. These people often sell their equipment second-hand, and you can snatch a pretty good set at an incredibly low price.
In essence, being good at golf doesn’t come from your equipment. It comes from your training, dedication, and a bit of talent for the sport.
Keep Your Eyes on the Ball
Many new players are told to keep their eyes on the ball while swinging. They are told that keeping their head down and their eyes on the ball will give them better accuracy and more control.
However, that advice is a little out of date. In fact, keeping your head rigidly down will restrict your body’s natural movement and severely impact your swing speed. Thus, this friendly advice for new players can severely inhibit them, preventing golfers from improving at an early stage.
Instead, what you should do is follow the ball with your eyes. Keep your eyes on the ball as you’re striking it, then follow through with your head as the ball is sent downrange. This ensures that your body is relaxed and following its natural biomechanics, which results in maximum power and accuracy.
Keep Your Body Still
This misconception goes hand-in-hand with the previous one.
Essentially, these pieces of advice are teaching you to create a repeatable form that gives you repeatable results. And, if you keep practicing that form, you’ll eventually become very comfortable while enacting it. This will improve your game.
However, this is a grave misinterpretation of what golfers do when swinging. The stiffness of a golfer’s body while swinging doesn’t come from the person keeping their body still as a board but from how they rotate their body to generate maximum power on their swing.
You see, a golfer rotates their body along a singular axis, creating great torque. This torque is then transferred to the head of the club, generating great speed and, thus, kinetic energy that propels the ball at great speeds.
In essence, keeping their bodies still is simply preventing golfers from improving. Instead, just like with the previous point, you should relax and let your body follow its own natural rhythm and create your form from there.
Hit Down on the Ball
A common misconception we hear is that you should hit down on the ball.
What does this mean?
This means that your angle of attack (the angle of the club relative to the axis of the swing at the moment of impact) should be negative.
Professional golfers all have extremely negative angles of attack on their balls. This results in the now immortalized in every piece of media tufts of grass being launched in front of the golfer.
However, the reason here is that professionals swing at incredible speeds. Enough to generate a large amount of kinetic energy to propel the ball even if it strikes the ground.
On the other hand, hitting down on the ball is likely to be preventing golfers from improving. Most of us hit the ball at much lower speeds, and getting too negative an angle can hurt form, swing, and clubs.
Practice Makes Perfect – And Slack is Preventing Golfers From Improving
We hear this trope so many times – if you practice enough, you’ll eventually get better.
Now, while it is true that you will get better if you practice, the more important thing is how you practice instead of how much.
What we mean by this is that practice is supposed to consist of teachable moments. While practicing, you are supposed to gain new knowledge and experience in putting that knowledge to use.
However, if you keep pushing yourself without really understanding what you’re doing is just a waste of time. Not only that, but you might quickly get frustrated you’re not actually improving, despite practicing so hard.
Thus, practice without understanding can prevent golfers from strengthening. Instead, you should analyze your practice sessions better to understand yourself, your body, and your game. Then, find ways to improve based on that information.
And, there you have it – five misconceptions that are preventing golfers from improving. We hope you’ve learned something today and that you’ll have fun playing golf in the future, knowing you’ve cleared the air of any misconceptions that might hold you back!