It is interesting that the most common faults that I see among average golfers have to do with the setup and one (must do correctly) swing trigger. Now, I do understand that the golf swing continually requires adjustments and unconscious compensations. Unfortunately, these things can and often cause perfectly good golf swing habits to go astray without you knowing why. In this series of posts I am going to talk about some common faults that you may have, not be aware of, and that you can easily correct without much effort. Albeit, after the corrections are made it may require your diligent attention for some time so that you don’t revert back to old habits.
Three of the four most common faults have to do with the setup. For one reason or another average golfers just don’t pay enough attention to their setup. Reasons may have to do with not wanting to hold up the other golfers in their group or maybe they routinely do things a certain way (right or wrong) and they don’t think they need to check their setup before they swing. Actually, it does not take that much time to check your setup and it should be part of any good pre-shot routine. If the setup is correct then most likely you are going to hit a good shot. Overall that will save time because you won’t have to look for as many balls or hit as many balls from undesirable places on your subsequent shots.
Fault 1 – The Grip
One of the first things a new golfer learns is how to grip the club. I would venture to say that most people initially learn how to grip the club properly whether from a golf instructor or a book. Yet, if you observe golfers that you play with or those on the practice range, rarely will you see a proper grip. Look closely and you will see overly strong grips or overly weak grips or some combination of a strong left or right hand with a weak left or right hand.
So, how is it that a high percentage of average golfers end up using a bad grip when they most likely learned the proper grip initially? The answer is, it is the grip that works best for their particular swing. In other words it is the grip that they have had the most success with. Not to say that they hit mostly good golf shots, but rather that they hit the highest percentage of acceptable golf shots with the grip they are using. That percentage is most likely still way too low for most people.
Will changing back to a proper grip improve the way a person hits the ball? Not necessarily. That is, not without correcting the other things that are wrong with their setup or swing. In fact without correcting their other faults, they could end up hitting the ball worse. Arnold Palmer tells the story about his father teaching him the proper grip. Once Arnold was gripping the club properly his father told him never to change it. His father knew that swing faults or other compensations could cause his son to change his grip. Once that happens other swing faults may not be as easily corrected. The bottom line here is to learn the proper grip, stick with it and check it often. If your current grip is not correct then fix it, but expect to take the time to correct your other faults. Here is a good website for learning the proper grip.
Two more common setup faults (posture and alignment) will be discussed in part 2 of this series.