Top 10 Golf Swing Faults and How to Correct Them

The golf swing is a complex sequence of events that all lead up to one moment, which is contact between the clubface and the ball. From start to finish, there are literally thousands of intricate moves that could go wrong and keep you from hitting the ball like you want to. While there may be an infinite number of golf swing flaws, most problems can typically be traced by to one of the 10 mistakes below that most golfers make in their golf swings. In this article I am going to to cover the top 10 golf swing faults, and give practical advice on how to overcome these swing flaws.

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#1. A Faulty Setup Position

Now, I know that faults in your setup position are not swing flaws per se, but overlooking common flaws in the address position WILL hurt your golf game. If you want to hit the ball better, then you have to setup to the ball properly.

First, you have to make sure that your feet, shoulders, hips and clubface are all square to the target line. If you do not set your body squarely, then you are setting up for failure. If your alignment is a few degrees open or closed then you are in BIG trouble.

In addition to alignment, you have to make sure that your grip is not too strong or too weak. A neutral grip will ensure that the clubface remains square throughout the entire golf swing, and on into the impact position.

#2: Quick Takeaway

The first part of your golf swing is important, because it sets the tempo for everything else. If your takeaway is quick or “jerky,” then you will find your entire swing off-tempo and off the proper swing plane. To ensure that you take the golf club back correctly, you need to start slow.

When I start hitting bad golf shots, I can usually trace it back to a poor takeaway. In order to combat this, the one swing thought I will often focus on is “low and slow.” This paints a picture in my mind of a low, wide, rhythmic takeaway with will enable me to make a more controlled, powerful golf swing.

#3: Swaying & Poor Weight Transfer

This could be another article in itself. Swaying instead of turning away from the ball is one of the most common golf swing flaws that exist today. In fact, I would venture a guess as to say that 90% of golfers sway too much in the backswing, as opposed to turning.

This causes 2 major problems:

  • The first problem is that you cannot create power in your golf swing without a proper weight shift. When you load at the top of the backswing, nearly all of your weight should be on your right foot (for right-handed golfers).
  • Secondly, swaying & poor weight transfer will lead to inconsistent ball striking. When you are swaying instead of turning, your spine angle is constantly changing with regards to its relationship to the golf ball. When this happens, it alters the default “level” of your golf swing, making it very difficult to make solid contact on a consistent basis.


#4: The Flying Right Elbow

Keeping your right elbow in during the golf swing is very important if you want to form a consistent, repeatable golf swing. Your right elbow (for right-handed golfers) should stay relatively close to your side throughout the entire golf swing. This promotes a proper swing, clubface positioning throughout the swing, and angle of attack coming into the golf ball. It also helps to prevent the dreaded “over the top” move which causes most golfers to slice the golf ball.

A great drill to help keep your right elbow from flying out during the golf swing is to simply take a headcover, and tuck it underneath your right armpit. If your elbow does not stay tucked in and gets out of control, then the headcover will fall out!

#5: Keep Your Chin Up!

No I’m not giving you a pep talk. I’m talking about the fact that most golfers don’t allow their front shoulder to turn under the chin in the backswing. It’s a fact that Ben Hogan used to have a spot on his shirts that had been worn thin from where his chin grazed is front shoulder in the backswing.

Not many people talk about this topic, but keeping your chin up throughout the golf swing is crucial to consistent golf shots a and a better golf swing. It is one of those golden pieces of golf swing advice that gets little attention, yet is very important for a consistent and repeatable golf swing.

#6: Over the Top, Outside-in Swing Path

If you have a pull hook or dreaded slice, then I bet you are more than familiar with the “over the top” move. This is a common golf swing fault, and will be found in just about any top 10 list.

The solution is to of course complete your shoulder turn in the backswing (as outlined above), and then start your downswing by rotating your front hip toward the target and dropping your hands to the inside. This is a simple move, and it will make you a much better golfer. This is the “magic move” that will take your swing from “just ok” to “consistent and powerful.”

#7: Casting the Club in the Downswing

This is closely related to the flaw above. When you cast or flip the club too soon in the golf swing, it results in poor ball striking, loss of power, and the inability to control the trajectory of your golf shots.

Fortunately, there is a simple cure for casting the golf club. The key is to think about bringing your hands straight to the ball, and leaving the clubhead “lagging” behind. This will enable you to create lag in your golf swing, which will prevent you from flipping or casting the golf club in the downswing.

#8: Approaching the Ball on a Steep Angle

Jack Nicklaus says that one of the keys to golf is having a shallow angle of approach into the ball, and if it’s good enough for Jack, then it is good enough for me. When you come into the ball on a steep angle of attack, it really decreases your margin for error.

By approaching the golf ball on a shallow angle, you reduce the spin rate, which means that your golf ball with fly straighter and farther. After all, high spin rates on the driver and irons are why many golfers struggle to keep the ball online.

#9: Raising Up at Impact & Failing to Keep Your Head Down

This is another classic golf swing fault that makes just about every top 10 list. Most amateur golfers swing as hard as they can, and naturally they want to see where the golf ball is going immediately after impact. The only problem is that often times amateur golfers look up before the golf ball has ever even left the clubface.

The solution to this problem is pretty simple; watch for dirt. After you strike a golf shot, you should take a divot. When you keep your head down, you will be able to see the dirt underneath the grass you just uprooted (sounds bad, but it’s actually a good thing). If you are hitting a driver, then watch your tee after impact. This will ensure that your head stays down throughout the entire golf swing.

#10: The Finish Position

A good golf swing should lead to a balanced finish. There is no ideal finish position, but what is important is that most of your weight has shifted back to your front side, and that you are able to hold your weight there without falling over.

Have you ever seen golfers that finish off balance, nearly falling over after impact? This is because they are not focusing on a balanced finish position, which is crucial to hitting solid golf shots time and time again.

It is important that you are aware of your golf swing faults so that you can fix them on the course. All good players are able to fix their mistakes mid-round, which is what often keeps them from shooting some very high scores. Be aware of your swing flaws, actively work on fixing them, and you will be well on your way to a better golf swing and lower scores!

Category: Golf Swing Tips, Playing Better Golf, Shooting Lower Scores

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