10 Reasons You Aren't Improving At Golf

We run through the 10 best reasons why you are not improving at golf.

10 Reasons You Aren't Improving At Golf
(Image credit: Golf Monthly)

10 Reasons You Aren't Improving At Golf

In this video and post below Neil Tappin and Alex Elliott are going to look at the top-10 reasons why golfers do not get better at golf. 

This will range from the mental challenges we face out on the golf course to some of the toughest shots that may be costing you.

Without further ado, let's get to it... 

10. Making swing changes mid-round

This is a slippery slope especially if you decide to make a swing change and then hit a good shot. It can actually have a detrimental impact on your game in the long-term. 

We would actually recommend keeping things simple during play, especially when it comes to swing thoughts. For example Alex uses two, one for the backswing and one for the downswing, both of which are easy to do. 

Importantly, he does not use anything technical and does make any changes when on the course. 

9. Distance

As we all know, having distance is a huge advantage and those that don't have it will find it harder to lower scores and handicap. 

This is because these players will be hitting more long irons which are obviously harder to hit than shorter ones, and therefore proximity to the hole may be significantly greater. 

As such, be sure to take a look at our YouTube channel where we have done videos on how to hit the ball further. 

8. Being too hard on yourself

We all know golfers who do this and put themselves under way too much pressure to perform. 

The very nature of golf means it is hard to play our best golf and when we don't we all get a little wound up because we invest so much time and money into the game.

The solution here, according to Alex, is to manage your expectations. Sometimes we play our best when we just go onto the course and tell ourselves to just enjoy it and see what happens.  Or we may have lower expectations of ourselves and therefore play our best as a result. 

10 Reasons You Aren't Improving At Golf, disgruntled golfer

(Image credit: Tom Miles)

7. Not tracking your stats

There is a lot of really valuable information available to you these days. This does not have to be massively complicated either as you could just keep track of your fairways hit, greens in regulation, when you miss is it more left or right, and so on. 

Knowing these things will allow you to know what you need to work on, as well as how to strategise on the course as well. 

6. Not having the right equipment for your game

The big mistake here relates to irons. You need to make sure you have the correct length and lie angle to help you play better.

If a club is too long, and the lie angle is too upright then the ball will in all likelihood launch a little bit left and this would get greater with the short irons.

If the lie angle is too flat then we will see shots start to the right.

Another mistake relates to the driver. We all fall into the mistake of needing the stiffest shaft and lowest loft whereas optimising both of these things for your game could yield better results.

5. Keeping things simple on the green

In putting, we often make things a lot more complicated than they need to be. A lot of players try to be too 'perfect' and as a result have no flow to their strokes.

Alex's top tip to get flow in the stroke relates to grip pressure and getting the hands as comfortable as possible on the putter grip. Then he takes a couple of practice strokes looking at the hole to tune his senses into what he needs to do on the putt.

10 Reasons You Aren't Improving At Golf, golfer gripping the putter

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)

4. Strategy

This comes down to the eight out of ten rule. What is that you ask? 

Well this relates to shots you face on the golf course and whether it is a shot you feel you can pull off eight times out of ten. If not then it is perhaps an indication that you need rethink either the club or where you are aiming. 

3. Not warming up

A lot of us are guilty of not warming up before getting on the first tee and this could be the reason you are not improving. 

A common problem here is time as many of us don't have a lot of time to warm up before our tee times. As such Alex recommends doing five minutes putting, five minutes chipping, and then finish off a little bit on the range before heading straight to the first tee. 

Many of us do the reverse of that but it makes more sense to do the driving range work last because it is the first thing you will do on the first tee. 

If you don't have any practice facilities, then do some stretching to prepare the body for golf. 

2. Not working on scoring shots

At every level of golfer, every player should be working on scoring shots which are most common with pitch shots and around the green. 

A problem Alex sees a lot is players going straight for the most lofted club when around the green but this shouldn't be the case. Running the golf ball and chipping with different clubs is an important skill.

Technique wise he recommends putting the ball slightly back in the stance and having a narrow stance as well. 

10 Reasons You Aren't Improving At Golf, practicing on driving range

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)

1. Practice

Most players don't use the range in the best way possible because they usually just hit 100 golf balls way too quickly.

Therefore the practice isn't efficient and does not really prepare you for when you are next on the course.

Alex uses visualisation in his practice, by playing the hardest hole at his club in his head. This narrows his focus and forces him to hit the shots he needs to when he is actually on the course next time.

He also recommends sticking to your pre-shot routine when on the range as well.

Sam Tremlett
Sam Tremlett

A golfer for most of his life, Sam started playing the game to prove he was the best player out of his father and two brothers.
He quickly became a golf equipment expert and has always been the one family and friends come to for buying advice, and spends a lot of his time putting golf gear, apparel and shoes to the test.  
He is a graduate of Swansea University where he studied History and American Studies, and he has been a part of the Golf Monthly team since February 2018. He also previously worked for World Soccer and Rugby World magazines.

A jack of all trades across print and digital formats, Sam now spends most of his time testing and looking after golf gear content for the website. He also oversees all Tour player content as well. 

Unfortunately, Sam is not a member of any club at the moment but regularly gets out on the golf course to keep up the facade of having a handicap of five. 


Sam is currently playing:
Driver: Titleist TS3
Fairway Wood: TaylorMade M5 (15 degrees), Nike Covert Tour 2.0 (19 degrees)
Irons (4-PW): Titleist AP2
Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 54˚, 58˚
Putter: Scotty Cameron Circa 62 #6