8 Tips Every Golfer Forgets

These eight tips are the basics we all learn but too often forget in the heat of battle!

A golfer hitting a tee shot on the 14th at Royal Troon
(Image credit: Kenny Smith)

In this article and video, I'm going to talk you through what I think are the eight tips every golfer forgets. These are things we learn as we first start playing golf but often forget, especially when we compete under pressure.

Golf swing, not hit

PGA pro Katie Dawkins swinging a golf club with her feet together

Swinging with our feet together will help you develop a better tempo

(Image credit: Tom Miles)

It’s a mistake many golfers make. They get in the habit of attacking the ball with too much of a hit, forgetting it is supposed to be a golf swing. This is a problem, particularly when you’re under pressure and your tempo can get a little quick. 

To help, make some practice swings with your feet together. The only way to keep your balance is to swing within yourself. Add this to your pre-shot routine if your rhythm tends to get too fast!

Alignment

A golf club and a golf ball

Line up your club to something just in front of your ball and set up your body parallel to that target

(Image credit: Tom Miles)

The main thing golfers forget when it comes to how to aim in golf is that it is the club and NOT the body that is aligned to the target. Often what happens is that players set their club pointing towards the target and then establish their body alignment but, as they look up before they hit, they adjust their body angle. 

In a bid to point themselves more towards the target they actually create a closed stance. This often causes an inside takeaway and as a result, an over the top golf swing. So remember that at address you should feel that you are stood on a train track. Your body should be parallel to your ball-to-target line. If you can get this right you should be able to find a far more neutral ball flight.

Landing spot

PGA pro Katie Dawkins rolling a ball on a green

Imagine where you would want to land a ball if you were throwing it and pick the club to match

(Image credit: Tom Miles)

A bad habit that many golfers get into is automatically reaching for their lob wedge every time they miss the green. Playing high flighted chips shots might look great but it's riskier than hitting a chip and run.

A great way to think about it is to imagine having the ball in your hand and making an under-arm throw to the target. Where would it land? The chances are your under-arm throw would see the ball land on the nearest flat part of the green and roll out towards the target. Now simply choose a club that will replicate that flight and roll. Simple.

Posture

A golfer about to hit a shot at West Hill Golf Club

Honing a good posture is the foundation of a good swing

(Image credit: Tom Miles)

Most golfers know the importance of good posture but despite this, they find themselves in an nonathletic, lazy position at address. To test your posture, take your normal set-up position and try to lift your heels and toes. This will show you where your weight distribution is. 

If you can’t do this without feeling like you’re about to fall over, your posture is likely to be off. If an ideal position the weight should be on the balls of your feet and you should look as if you are about to return a serve in tennis.

Egg drill

A golf club and a golf ball in a bunker at West Hill

Remember, you want to strike the sand first

(Image credit: Tom Miles)

The tip golfers forget when it comes to how to play bunker shots is to strike the sand, not the ball. In fact, this is the only shot on golf where you are not trying to strike the ball first. Instead, you should be looking to hit the sand before the ball so it makes sense to address the area you are looking to strike. 

In practice, draw a circle around your ball (the ball is the yolk in the middle) and address the part of the egg that’s furthest from the target. This is where you are looking to strike. Through impact you should take out the whole egg! This way the ball should emerge onto the green on a nice cushion of sand!

Grip pressure

A golfer holding a golf club at West Hill

Loads of golfers grip the club too tightly when the pressure increases

(Image credit: Tom Miles)

Grip pressure is one of those things that is easily forgotten about. Setting the perfect golf grip is important but crucially, it shouldn’t too be too tight. This is easy to overlook especially as the pressure mounts and tension naturally creeps into your grip. 

If you hold the club too tightly your forearms will become tense and you’ll lose the fluidity and rhythm that’s so important. A good way to think of grip pressure is as if you are holding a tube of toothpaste. You should be holding it tight enough to be in control without being too tight so the toothpaste comes out. This is a light grip pressure and exactly what we’re looking for.

Playing smart

PGA pro Katie Dawkins about to hit a golf shot

Sometimes going for the flag isn't worth it

(Image credit: Tom Miles)

Something we all forget from time to time is not to take on flags that are tucked away. It is all too easy to see the flag and then go into auto-pilot thinking about other areas of the game. However, playing for the middle of the greens maybe the fastest route to lower scores. If you need convincing, try playing for the middle of the green on every approach in your next round. See what it does to your scoring!

Pre-shot routine

PGA pro Katie Dawkins watching on after hitting a golf shot at Essendon

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)

Having a pre-shot routine is something all the best players in the world put so much importance on, yet amateurs often neglect this crucial part of the game, or have simply forgotten one they previously had.

There's no one-size-fits-all approach but it is worth developing one that works for you. Here's a rough breakdown of what to focus on... 

- Stop and think about the shot: assess the lie, calculate the distance taking into consideration the conditions, think about the club and shot you want to hit

- Rehearse: make some practice swings thinking about the shot you want to hit and trying to recreate the swing required

- Execute: get into your address position and have a trigger that is consistent so you don't freeze over the ball 

Katie Dawkins
Advanced PGA Professional and freelance contributor

Katie is an Advanced PGA professional with over 20 years of coaching experience. She helps golfers of every age and ability to be the best versions of themselves. In January 2022 she was named as one of Golf Monthly's Top 50 Coaches.


Katie coaches the individual and uses her vast experience in technique, psychology and golf fitness to fix problems in a logical manner that is effective - she makes golf simple. Katie is now based at the stunning Hamptworth Golf Club on the edge of the New Forest. An experienced club coach, she developed GardenGOLF during lockdown and as well as coaching at Hamptworth she freelances, operating via pop-up clinics and travelling to clients homes to help them use their space to improve. 


She has coached tour pros on both LET tour and the Challenge Tour as well as introduced many a beginner to the game. 


Katie has been writing instructional content for magazines for 20 years. Her creative approach to writing is fuelled by her sideline as an artist.