7 Biggest Ball Striking Mistakes

In this video, Neil Tappin is joined by PGA Professional Alex Elliott to discuss the seven biggest ball striking mistakes

7 Biggest Ball Striking Mistakes
(Image credit: Kevin Murray)

In this video, Neil Tappin is joined by PGA Professional Alex Elliott to discuss the seven biggest ball striking mistakes

7 Biggest Ball Striking Mistakes

These are all mistakes every golfer has made whilst playing and are sometimes caused by not properly understanding their golf swing as well as they could. There is some great insight from PGA Professional Alex Elliott and by the end of the video, you should be able to understand how to reduce your ball striking therefore improving your game

WATCH: 7 Biggest Ball Striking Mistakes

1. Not understanding hands ahead of ball at impact

Many think to get their hands ahead of the golf ball, they simply just push their hands ahead and to some extent that is true. But with that we have to understand that it changes the orientation of the clubface.

A clear way of understanding this is to use the logo of your glove towards the target as a reference. Because if you were to move your hands forward and the logo points out to the right then the clubface will be open at impact.

2. Not finding centred strikes

A common problem especially with the irons and driver, one of the best ways to figure out where you are striking the golf ball in the first place is to put hairspray on your clubs to find the strike point.

The sooner you understand where your traditional strike is, then you can figure out how to fix that and make adjustments.

3. Body swaying/sliding in swing

Here we are talking swaying and sliding during the swing.

In terms of swaying in the backswing, you have to think of your golf swing as a massive circle all the way around you. So if your sternum is swaying off where you started, that circle is changing where you will interact with the ground. As such many who sway may catch the ball heavy or perhaps slightly thin.

One good tip to help deal with this is to find a slightly downhill lie and hit shots because once you pitch your stance with the hill, you cannot sway back as much which could lead to more consistency of strike.

Sliding is another issue which tends to be on the downswing and the crucial thing here is to make sure you are turning more. A good exercise is to stand in your stance with a sofa or chair 2-3 inches next to your hip.

Have your hands across your chest and as you perform a swing, once your hip slides over and makes contact with the sofa, then turn your hips. This will encourage you to turn more.

Related: Best Golf Irons (opens in new tab)

4. Not hitting down on your irons

You want to hit down on your irons but there is a fine balance. Importantly, it is all about controlling the bottom of the arc in relation to where the ball is so that you can hit down on it with consistency.

Indeed ball position plays a big role here because the further back in your stance the ball is, the more you will hit down on it, whilst the further forward this is lessened.

As you go from pitching wedge up to the longer irons, you want to hit down on it less so ball position can play a big part in ensuring better strikes as a result.

A good exercise Alex recommends is to place a towel 10 inches or so behind your ball and the aim is to avoid it by hitting down on the golf ball.

5. Not trusting the loft

This is a common problem especially for beginner golfers who think they need to almost scoop the ball up to get it in the air, whereas you need to trust the loft because it will get it in the air for you if you strike it properly.

Modern clubs have been specifically designed to help players get the ball airborne so trusting the club will do its job is important.

The custom fitting experience can see you make sure you get the right clubs for you

6. Not getting custom fitted

Golf can be an expensive sport so if you are looking to invest in new clubs then custom fitting is very important. For example if you buy a set of irons off the shelf, then you are leaving yourself liable to not getting the right lie for you, the correct lofts, and even the right model to help your game.

Not having the right specifications for you can significantly alter what you can do on the course and where the golf ball goes. Whereas getting clubs tailored to your swing and your game can help you get the most out of your play.

7. Not releasing the club properly

To many the term 'releasing the club' means the hands releasing through impact and crossing over. Whereas now it is all about marrying up what your hands and arms are doing, alongside what your body is doing.

The mistake most people make in this regard is they are searching for a release in their golf swing that potentially doesn't match up with their grip.

A way of solving this would be, when possible, to get a lesson to figure out how to marry up the grip you use, to the synchronisation of the rest of your body.

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