9 Golf Swing Mistakes & How to Fix Them

In this guide, I’ll review a bunch of different shot errors you may find yourself making from time to time when swinging a golf club. We all know how hard it is to consistently make a great golf swing that produces our intended golf shot.

That’s why the professionals are so skilled, considering they rarely make a shot error and make the swing look easy.

But for the average golfer, making the following golf swing mistakes is pretty common and normal. Don’t feel discouraged if you find your golf swing fault on this list below.

I’ll do my best to walk you through the solution to your golf swing mistake so you can learn how to fix it yourself and improve your golf swing to start hitting straighter.

Use these golf swing tips and you’ll see your golf score improving as you build a strong fundamental golf swing. Let’s dive in.

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What’s Causing Your Swing Fault and Shot Errors:

Here’s a list of potential golf swing faults and shot errors:

  • Slice
  • Hook
  • Push
  • Pull
  • Fat
  • Thin
  • Topped
  • Skied
  • Whiff
  • Overclub
  • Underclub

If you want to find more golf swing lessons in video format, and follow a proven golf practice plan that knocks strokes off your golf scores, then check out my training plans here.

Golf Swing Errors: How to Stop Making these Mistakes

Slice

A slice is one of the most common golf swing faults. The ball flight will have a left to right curve in the air that is pretty severe, taking the ball pretty far sideways away from the fairway.

Some golfers learn to swing with a slice by pulling the shot left to start so that the ball begins heading left of the fairway but then the slice spin curves the ball back right to the fairway. This is known as a pulled slice.

A pushed slice is when the ball path begins right of the target and continues slicing even further right.

So what’s the cause of a slice golf swing?

It has to do with the club face being “open” relative to the swing path. The more open the club face is, the more severe the slice will be.

When golfers hit a pull slice, for example, they have an leftward swing path that takes the ball left to start and then the club face is considered “open” to the path so this creates the sidespin on the golf ball, causing it to then slice back to the right.

On a push slice, the golfer’s swing path is heading right at impact and the face is pointing even further right (since it is open relative to the swing path), causing a slice that goes very far right of the fairway.

To fix the slice, golfers need to work on straightening the swing path and also squaring the club face up to the swing path.

Golfer’s who want to play a draw, should work to correct the open face to path relationship and change it to a slightly closed club face to path relationship.

Start with changing your grip on the club. Move to a more strong grip or neutral grip if you have been using a weaker grip position with your hands and thumb. Explore our article on the different grip positions here if you don’t know what a strong, neutral, and weak grip are.

During the swing, you might also be rotating the clubhead to an open position.

Work on a backswing where the club face stays square to the swing plane and the face doesn’t rotate open. Video record yourself and check different positions of the swing to see if the face is open, like at the top of the backswing for example.

Resource: How to Break 80 in Golf – TRAINING PLAN

Hook

A hook is the opposite problem of a slice, as the golf ball will start curving in the air to the left and end up pretty far left of the fairway if the hook is severe.

A hook golf shot occurs when the club face is very closed in relation to the swing path. So if a golfer is swinging on a straight path to the ball, but the face is pretty closed at impact, then the ball is going to go left with hook spin.

The pulled hook is the most severe hook shot since you’re starting the ball left by “pulling” it and then it continues even further left due to the hook spin placed on the ball from the closed club face angle.

Other golfers may learn to hit a push hook, which starts the ball out to the right only to see it hook back left of the fairway and end up pretty far left still.

It may seem like a draw, but the fact the ball moves so far from right to left, takes it up a level from a draw and we classify this as a hook. A draw won’t move with as much curve flight.

To fix a hook, you need to work on lessening the amount that the clubface is closed relative to your swing path.

This starts with a more neutral grip or weakening your grip hand position so that your hands are less able to shut the face during the swing.

Also check your swing to see if you find yourself rotating the face closed during the takeaway or on the downswing and work to lessen this motion, keeping the face more square.

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Push

A pushed golf shot is one that flies straight right of where you were aiming. So if we’re aimed down the middle of the fairway and the ball comes off the tee flying right of the fairway towards the rough, this is a pushed golf shot.

Pushes are caused by the swing path being right of the target. Instead of swinging the club straight at your target, the path is actually going right of the target, usually as a result of coming too far from the inside.

This is known as an inside to outside swing path. It’s actually a good swing path to have if you want to play a draw. The key to getting the push shot to turn into a draw the starts right and comes back to center is the clubface angle relative to the rightward swing path.

We need a slightly shut face to create the draw spin. Right now, straight push shots result from the face being squared with the swing path so the ball just flies straight right when you push it.

To reduce the severity of the pushed golf shot, practice swings with a more straight path to the ball and less from the inside of the ball.

You can set an object like a headcover on the ground to the inside of the ball, to force you to reroute the club path more straight to avoid hitting too far from the inside.

You can also work on your takeaway, taking the club back on a more straight line to start the swing if you find you’re brining the club to the inside to much during the takeaway.

Resource: How to Break 90 in Golf – TRAINING PLAN

Pull

A pulled golf shot occurs when the arms pull across the body from right to left, taking the club on an outside to inside swing path that pulls the ball left at the start of the shot.

From there, the ball may slice, stay straight, or continue further left with a draw/hook depending on the club face being open, closed, or neutral relative to the swing path.

Pulled shots to the left can be easily fixed by working on quieting the upper body. Golfers who use more upper body and less lower body, get the upper body rotating too soon and out of sync with their lower body. This can lead to the over the top swing motion that causes shots to go left.

Work on trying to change the swing path so the club travels more from the inside to outside rather than outside to inside.

Set an object on the ground like a headcover or alignment pole just outside of the golf ball to force your swing to stay more to the inside to avoid hitting the object.

If you come from the outside back inside with your swing path (right to left), then the clubhead will hit the object giving you feedback.

Also focus on getting the hips started earlier on the downswing and keeping your upper body rotation delayed a little longer so you have better timing with your swing.

As your turn back, hold the shoulder turn as you start the downswing, letting your arms drop more to the inside, then rotate through the shot so the hips and upper body are more in sync.

If you find yourself pulling shots, your upper body is racing too far ahead of the lower body and its out of sync.

Fat

Hitting a “fat” shot in golf is a term for chunking the ball or hitting ground first behind the ball. The result is the ball isn’t hit very far since the club hit the ground first and took away most of the energy, leading to poor contact with the golf ball.

To stop hitting behind the ball, set a towel on the ground a few inches behind the golf ball. Practice making smooth swings trying to strike golf ball first and avoid hitting the towel that’s behind the ball.

It’s a visual training aid to help you route the club ahead of the towel so it can reach the golf ball first, instead of chunking the ground behind the ball.

Resource: Coach Foy’s step by step practice system

Thin

Thin shots are when the golf ball is struck near the bottom of the club face, causing a low golf shot to occur. Normal golf shots are struck center of the face, midway up the club face, causing the ball to launch fairly high in the air on good trajectory.

Thinned golf shots come out really low to the ground, never getting very high up, causing them to land sooner and not achieve maximum distance, causing a loss of distance.

Imagine a tee underneath the golf ball, and try to hit that tee to help you make better contact, so you don’t pull up early and catch the ball thin near the bottom of the club face.

Topped

Topped golf shots occur when you strike the top of the golf ball, just barely making contact to the bottom of the clubhead. It’s very poor contact, causing the ball to dig into the ground and bounce only a few yards away from you.

This differs from a thinned golf shot where the ball still gets some height and is hit 50-150 yards. Topped golf shots usually stay pretty close to you, only traveling a 1 to 20 yards due to such poor contact from the mishit.

Work on slowing the swing down and hitting with a more smooth swing technique. Often times rushing the swing can lead to poor contact and topped golf shots.

Sky Shots

This type of golf swing fault, usually occurs on tee shots. You’ll notice the ball is sent flying super high into the air at a steeper than normal trajectory. Hitting the ball too vertically (straight up into the sky) can cause a loss of distance since the trajectory is too steep to achieve much carry distance.

A few causes of the Skied Tee Shot are teeing the ball up too high, giving room for the driver to sweep underneath the ball, catching the ball on the top (crown) of the driver head.

The main cause however, is not swinging up at the ball with a positive launch angle.

With irons, we want to swing down on the ball at a negative angle, but with driver, the opposite occurs as the clubhead bottoms out before the golf ball and the starts to ascend upward like an airplane taking off a runway.

The driver head catches the ball on this upward ascent, launching it high into the air.

However, when you swing down at a downward angle, this causes the crown of the driver head to strike the golf ball instead of the club face. Work on increasing your attack angle to make better face contact.

Resource: Get the All Access Pass. Learn about our training programs with step by step practice drills, weekly schedules and routines to follow so you can break 90, break 80 or scratch golf.

Whiff Shots

A whiff is when you swing and miss. This usually occurs for beginner players who haven’t gained much experience with hand eye coordinating of the golf swing to the golf ball.

It’s very difficult to make contact with a golf ball when swinging a club fast. Timing is key and it takes lots of practice to learn how to bring the club head on the correct swing plane to the golf ball so it can strike it.

If you whiff shots in golf, keep practicing!

Head to the driving range and work on taking shorter, small swings until you get good contact and can work your way up to a full swing.

Overclub

This golf term is when a golfer chooses the wrong golf club for the distance at hand.

Over-clubbing would be taking too much club (one that hits more distance than you have to the hole) and hitting the ball too far over the green.

For example, if you hit your 9 iron 140 yards and you decide to try and use it to hit a 120 yard shot, this would be over-clubbing as you could end up hitting the 9 iron way too far past the green.

Underclub

Under-clubbing is the opposite of the overclub, and it involves not taking enough club to reach the distance you have to the green.

For example, if the maximum distance you can hit your 7 iron is 155 yards on a good day, then trying to hit the 7 iron when you face a 190 yard shot to the green would be under-clubbing.

The ball has a really low chance of getting to the green since you aren’t using enough club. Try your 5 iron instead since it has a lower loft and can hit farther distance than the 7 iron.

Golf Practice System for Lower Scores

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Follow these step by step practice plans and watch video lessons to learn how to improve your golf swing, chipping, and putting fundamentals.

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Work hard,

Nick Foy, Instructor

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