How to Improve at Bad Golf Shots Most Golfers Hit

CASARES, SPAIN - MAY 20: Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland shows his frustration after his second shot on the 16th hole during the Final on Day Four of the Volvo World Match Play Championship at Finca Cortesin on May 20, 2012 in Casares, Spain. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Let’s face it, not every golf swing is going to be perfect. The best we can do is practice good technique to avoid a bad shot.

The Whiff

Before you can even have a bad shot, you actually have to hit the ball. Don’t worry if you’re striking out though, everyone deals with this at some point. Keep your eye on the ball. Sometimes we get a little too excited to hit the ball that we lose focus and completely miss our target.

Keep your back foot steady and let your arms follow through, and you should avoid this shot. These are some of the most common types of bad shots that golfers experience. Practicing the proper technique can help you avoid these, but it won’t eliminate them.

If you’re constantly having trouble with any of these shots, go back to the beginning and practice the proper techniques.

Fat Shot

A fat shot is when you’re hitting the ground before the ball. But hey, at least you’re starting to hit something! It’s progress at the very least.

It’s really a simple fix for this: move the point of contact in your swing a little further forward. A good exercise for this is to put something in front of the tee, and just simply practice until you don’t hit it anymore.


Congratulations! You’ve finally made contact. Unfortunately, it was only the top of the ball and it just dribbled for a few yards before it died.  This is always frustrating even for the most experienced players.

Many people top their ball because swing bottoms out too early, and they get the ball on the way up. Fixing this comes in the form of moving forward on your swing. Get your hip out in front of your foot when you hit the ball.

Slice and Hook

A slice is when the ball veers off to the right after impact. This mainly happens because your club face is open when you strike the ball. If you can see the hair on your left arm as you’re hitting the ball, there’s a decent chance that it can slice.

A good fix for this is as you swing, you rotate your left arm (if you’re right handed) so that your forearm is facing upwards. This allows you to finish your swing all the way through and release your club. A hook is somewhat of the same thing as a slice, except that the ball veers off to the left. This happens when your club face is closed, and you strike the outside of the ball.

Focus on hitting the ball more on the inside, and you should be able to stop all that hooking.

Push and Pull

Those familiar with baseball should already know what happens when you push or pull a ball. In baseball however, there’s sometimes some strategy behind the push or the pull. In golf, it’s just a mistake.

A push is just a shot that has no shame. It doesn’t trick you like the slice does when it heads to the right. It goes right and stays right.

This happens when the path of your club hitting the ball is to the right and you hit the ball dead on. Unlike the slice and the hook, there isn’t a problem with the club face when you push the ball. It’s mainly a swinging problem.

A good way to fix this is to have a few practice swings that are exaggerated to the left. This will somewhat “balance” out your swing and allow you to start hitting the ball correctly again. When you pull a ball, it’s essentially the same as a push, just to the opposite side.

This happens when you get a little too excited a try to hit a home run with a golf ball. You’re trying to hit the ball a little too hard and swing a little far out and then come in.

To avoid this, keep your shoulder back on your swing. Don’t lead or bring it around with your swing.

Written by BP Staff


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