5 Common Mistakes Golfers Make That Cost Strokes

5 Common Mistakes Golfers Make That Cost Strokes

Every recreational golfer wants to have a more consistent golf game. You hear it every time you play with someone new. Something like "I was hitting/scoring really well a month ago and I am not sure what happened. 

It is an unfortunate reality that comes with playing golf. The truth is that you will never go out and hit every shot perfectly. If golf was that easy of a game the professionals would be scoring in the 50s every single time they stepped foot on a golf course. 

The good news is that there are some easy ways to save yourself some strokes the next time you play. These are the 5 most common mistakes I see and how you can make save yourself from making them too. 

1) Too Aggressive (or not aggressive enough) Off the Tee

I have played golf with a lot of people in my life. Some of them have been really good and some bad (like really bad). There is a common theme that creeps up that you can see between the good and bad golfers. 

Good golfers always seem to make the right decision based on shots they know they can make off the tee and how it will affect their next shot. Bad golfers grab the driver no matter what. 

They could be hitting a 50-yard slice all day and then get to a hole where there is out-of-bounds to the right, but they grab the driver anyway. Then there will be holes where there is no real danger, but they hit an iron or hybrid because they don't trust their driver anymore. 

The next time you hit up the course, take a moment to think about the hole you are playing. Are there any hazards? If so, where and how far? Hit a club that allows you to avoid these hazards. If there are no hazards, your goal should be to try and advance the ball as far as possible. Take the driver.  

2) Not Taking Enough Club

Not taking enough club with approach shots is a very common theme that leaves golfers wondering what the hell just happened. You know those shots. You are sitting 150 yards out and that one time 3 months ago on this course you hit a PW that went over the green. So obviously you should hit PW here, right? 

Then you do and you end up 20 yards short of the green and you tell yourself you should have clubbed up. 

Most misses on approach shots for amateurs are short misses. This could be from hitting it fat but is most likely because they didn't use enough club. 

This is why it is important to know how far your clubs go on average. Maybe your 9 iron goes anywhere between 140 and 155 yards and your PW goes 135 to 145. It would make more sense to hit your 9 iron or maybe even a smooth 8 iron from 150 yards. 

Next time you hit up the course, remember to club up. 

3) Using Too Much Loft Around the Greens

It seems like every amateur wants to pretend they are a professional golfer. They think because the pros are hitting a 60-degree wedge for every shot around the green that they should too. Let me stop you right now. You are not a professional golfer. 

The goal when you are around the green is to get the ball on the putting surfaces and rolling as fast as possible. A good example is when you are 10 yards short of the green and 30 yards from the pin. 

Sure, you could hit a 60 or 56-degree wedge but you are going to have to swing hard to get the ball all the way to the hole because it is not going to roll very far. The problem here is that you are bringing in the possibility of blading the wedge 20 yards over the green and now you are in a world of trouble. 

Instead, use a 52, PW, or 9 iron and try to go with a bump-and-run play, almost like you are trying to putt it.  This will allow you to control the ball a little better and will likely lead to you saving a few shots each round. I have holed out many chips and been close on even more by doing this. 

Next time you are at the course, put the lofted clubs away. Get the ball on the ground and rolling towards the hole as fast as possible.   

4) Going for the Hero Shot

Ah, the hero shot. You have watched on TV as your favorite golfer punched one through the trees, turned it right to left 75 yards, and landed 10 feet to the pin. Truly amazing stuff to watch. 

You cannot hit this shot. Stop trying

I have watched (and tried) people hit so many shots they are just not capable of hitting. That could be up and over a tree or through a 10-foot gap. 

Of course, the inevitable happens 98/100 times. You hit the tree and then decide to hit the smart, safe shot. You cost yourself 1 shot trying to do something you knew had a high probability of failure. 

Next time you are at the course, just punch it out, dude. 

5) Using Long Irons

The last one here is driven by advances in technology. Golf clubs have become better and better over the last couple of decades. The best advancement made for golfers, particularly amateur golfers, is the invention of the hybrid. 

However, so many golfers neglect to put them in their bags and instead continue to use long irons (generally classified as 4 iron to 2 iron). You might be one of those players that refuses to use them because you like the idea of being able to hit the long irons. This is driven by your ego. 

Hybrids are better clubs compared to long irons. They are easier to hit, you will gain distance, and are especially great when hitting out of the rough as they glide through the grass. 

If you can afford it, I highly encourage you to replace your 3-iron and 4-iron with hybrids. There is a very good chance that you will improve your game.