Top 10 Mistakes Amateur Golfers Make

top 10 mistakes amateur golfers make

by Bradley Turner Keiser University College of Golf Director of Online Golf Instruction – MBA, PGA

What are the most common mistakes amateur golfers make? This is a great question and one that many golf coaches face every day on the lesson tee. Most of these mistakes can be eliminated with good advice from your favorite golf coach. But as you will read in this article, you may want to work with your coach regularly to eliminate some of these mistakes.

10. Swing Juice Is Not Helpful

Do you really think a few beers help with your golf skills? I think not. Swing juice might make the round of golf enjoyable, but it does not improve your ability to strike golf shots to your potential. Swing juice might make you care less about the difficult shots in front of you, but no athlete plays better with this magical libation. If it did work, we would see athletes promoting and using swing juice all the time.

9. Prepare Properly Before Playing

Time is an issue in golf, and many amateurs are just trying to find time to make it to the first tee. Preparing your body with good nutrition and completing 15 minutes of a stretching routine can make the round start out so much better.

8. It is NOT the Driver

A new driver is not the answer. A new fitted driver might be! If you have never been on a launch monitor before, you could be a candidate for a new driver. There are plenty of retailers with the technology to ensure the driver you buy rewards the swing you brought into the store. A good fitter is also aware of the club mechanics that produce your launch monitor metrics. A new driver will not fix a poor angle of attack with your driver’s swing, but a good golf coach can help with that issue.

7. It is NOT the Putter Either

Searching for the next putter to help make those three-footers is generally short-lived success at best. My advice is to spend the money on a fitted putter and stay married through sickness and health. I do understand that, on occasion, divorce might be the best solution. But divorce is costly, so work on your putting skills before buying another expensive putter that cannot improve your putts per round.

6. Know Your Carry Yardages

Amateurs have historically been entirely in the dark as to the carry distance of the golf ball. Too many are concerned with their iron shots’ total distance versus the carry distance. Most golfers can hit a pitching wedge 200 yards down the local airport’s runway. Course conditions influence the total distance the ball travels. You need to know how far the ball travels in the air with each of your clubs. Since range finders are a common accessory item for avid golfers, take good notes when on the golf course. If you have a 150-yard shot and hit a solid seven iron, find the pitch mark in the green and subtract or add from 150. Disregard poorly struck golf shots; only measure the solid shots. Within a handful of rounds, you will zero in on your actual carry distances.

5. Chipping with Too Much Loft

Please stop chipping with a lob wedge or sand wedge. The best in the world practice all the time. They can do it, but you are better off using less lofted clubs to chip. I would rather see amateurs putt as much as possible, assuming the turf is firm and mowed to fairway height. Chunked chip shots are frustrating for everyone!

4. One Golf Lesson is Not the Answer

If you are frustrated with your golf performance and are looking into getting some professional help, do not think one lesson is going to be enough. Once you have decided to get some help from your local golf coach, make sure and plan on taking at least six to ten lessons. Taking a lesson about once a week for six weeks should get you moving in the right direction. I am an advocate of coaches that offer a monthly fee for a designated number of contact hours versus individual lessons. Coaches that provide supervised practice sessions with their students should be at the top of your list when inquiring about area golf coaches.

3. You Are NOT Lifting Your Head

This never happens. If you sit in a chair with good posture, try and lift your head. What happens? Nothing is the answer. You can rotate your head with the neck muscles, but you can’t lift it higher than the starting point. However, what influences the movement of the head involves the player’s body mechanics. Poor lower body movement controls the spine angle of a golfer. The head sits on top of the spine, so if the head is visibly moving during the swing, the fix is never to keep the head down. It may be a combination of lower body corrections or proper spine stability during the swing.

2. The Golf Release is Different from a Baseball Release

If you have played baseball before picking up a golf club, you are a candidate for a slice. I would estimate that four out of five baseball players are slicers of the golf ball. Good baseball hitters are usually very good at making solid contact with the golf ball teed up in the air, but the ball will end up in foul territory as the ball curves offline. The fix is to get with your golf coach and develop an understanding of the path and clubface relationship that determines the curvature of a golf ball. Remember, in baseball, a hit over the first baseman’s head may be a cause for celebration, but in golf, it is usually cause for a provisional ball to be played.

1. Understand the Basics of Getting the Golf Ball in the Air

The number one mistake amateur golfers make is trying to help the ball into the air. Since the goal is to get the ball off the ground and moving towards the intended target, it makes sense to the novice golfer. Expert golfers never like to try and add height to their normal shot trajectory. Why? Because of the concern of looking like a high handicap amateur golfer. The skilled golfer understands that if the ball is sitting down in the grass, the best way to get the ball airborne is to strike the ball first and then the ground. The club’s loft gets the ball in the air, not the golfer trying to scoop it from the ground. Ball first, then ground, ball first, then ground—something I will be saying for as long as I coach the game of golf. Ball first, then ground.

Eliminate these ten common mistakes that amateurs make, and I guarantee you will play the best golf of your life!


If you’d like to study with Bradley Turner and other PGA Master Professionals, contact the College of Golf today.


  1. Thanks Brad very helpful most of the info you stress I have received from my golf coach. The biggest issue I have is ball first then turf, I remember you telling me that when you gave me lessons many moons ago. Thanks for the refresher tips. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and Denise and of course your wonderful family.

    A Friend. Sharon Winter

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