Golf Mistakes Even the Pros Make

Florida Golf University

Golf pros seem infallible.

We watch them every week as they travel the globe playing the most beautiful, well-cared for golf courses in the world.

We marvel when a player like Phil Mickelson hits a backward shot out of a bunker and lands it within 3 feet of the cup.

We shake our heads in awe when Bubba Watson bends a seemingly impossible wedge shot around a phalanx of trees onto the green to set up a Masters win.

It doesn’t seem like they make any golf mistakes.

The truth is that pros make the same mistakes you and I do.

Here are several common golf mistakes professionals make every week along with some tips from our Florida Golf College on how you can fix them.

Golf Mistake #1: Picking The Wrong Club

One of the reasons pros are so deadly on every shot is they have honed their accuracy with each club to exact yardage.

But when they pick the wrong club, all bets are off.

At the professional level, it might be more accurate to say their caddy made the wrong club choice.

Nevertheless, picking the wrong club can have a devastating effect at the exact wrong time.

At the 2013 Travelers Championship, Bubba Watson was nursing a two-stroke lead going into the 16th hole.

He immediately put a shot into a water hazard and blamed his caddie Ted Scott about the club selection.

He dropped a ball and proceeded to place his next shot over the green, again blaming his caddie for picking the wrong club.

Amateur golfers make the exact same error all the time, mostly when judging what club to use on an approach shot.

The primary reason you tend to choose the wrong club is that you have not properly calibrated how far you hit each club in a variety of conditions.

In addition, most amateurs tend to underclub.

They think they can hit each club farther than they actually do.

As a result, they end up short of the green, and that is exactly where many golf architects place some of the nastiest hazards.

Take time on the golf range to get a very accurate reading of how far every club goes by using a rangefinder.

Then modify that knowledge based on the current conditions of the round you are playing.

Most of all, consider taking one extra club and concentrate on making a smooth swing.

Golf Mistake #2: Shooting at the Flag

It’s so enticing isn’t it? Fluttering in the breeze, the flag beckons you to fire right at it.

It’s rarely a good idea.

Jack Nicholas made a career of shooting to the middle of a green and putting for par.

Even though they have the skills to attack every flag, even golf pros are well advised to play conservatively.

Some golf experts believe Jordan Spieth lost the 2016 Masters Tournament when he went straight at the flag on the tricky par-3 12th hole, which promptly bounded into Rae’s Creek fronting the green.

If you spend any time at the nearest golf course on any given Sunday, you’ll see the same golf mistakes made by amateur golfers.

Some believe they can stick the ball tight to the pin and it will stay right in place.

But most amateurs don’t put enough spin on the ball in order to make it stick or pull back.

A better strategy is to emulate Jack Nicholas and shoot for the fat part of the green.

From there, rely on your putting to nestle the ball within a 3-foot circle surrounding the cup.

Golf Mistake #3: Not Staying in the Present

It seems paradoxical, but your best golf is played when you don’t think about it too much.

Golf is a test of staying in the present moment.

When you begin to think too much about the potential end result of the round, or obsess about how previous holes have unfolded, you are not focusing on the shot at hand.

Jordan Spieth’s game began to go off the rails on the back nine at Augusta at the 2016 Masters.

He admits that when he approached the tee box on the 10th hole, he began to think about the fact that he had a five shot lead – he figured if he was able to par every hole for the remainder of the round, he would probably win.

In other words, he took himself out of the present moment and began projecting what might happen in the future.

He bogeyed the 10th, bogeyed the 11th and, as we have already discussed, made a disastrous quadruple bogey on hole 12 which erased his lead.

Practice your golf game to the point that it becomes second nature.

It may seem counter-intuitive, but the more you keep your mind free from distracting thoughts, you’ll have a much smoother swing and more accurate shots.

Stick to a game plan that you set at the beginning of the round.

Do not deviate from that plan no matter what.

At the end of the round, you can take time to evaluate how you performed against your game plan, and only then consider adjustments you’ll make for the next outing.

One challenge to staying in the present moment is fighting fatigue, hunger and thirst.

Make sure your golf bag has enough water, food and any medications you need during your time on the course.

If you’ve never been to a professional golf tournament, consider making time this year to attend one.

It is truly amazing how well professional golfers hit the ball — even more impressive when you see it happen just yards from where you’re standing.

Yet even these immortals make golf mistakes.

They pick the wrong club, get too aggressive and shoot at the flag or lose their mental edge by not staying in the present moment.

If you can stay aware of these golf mistakes and seek to minimize them, your game will improve immediately and your scores will drop.

If you love golf, take a look at some of the diverse careers in golf available in this exciting industry.

To find out more, contact us today!