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IMGCA Article - The Mental Game of Golf


Five Mistakes Weekend Golfers Make

Jack Moorehouse

Most of us are weekend golfers. If we're really lucky, and the weather holds, we play on both Saturday and Sunday. If not, we play either Saturday or Sunday. Occasionally, we play during the week but that doesn't happen too often. Our jobs and families keep us too busy to play regularly.

Weekend golfers tend to acquire bad habits, habits that can completely derail a round and ruin a good day. Below are five faults to keep in mind if you play sporadically. While these tips derive from many hours spent giving golf lessons to weekend golfers, they're good reminders for any player.

Reaching Out

Reaching out with the driver is a fault I see a lot in weekend golfers. Players often feel more powerful when they're all stretched out, especially if it's on the tee. It's a fault I've pointed out in my golf tips newsletter. I even do it myself sometimes. But reaching out is the result of standing too far away from the ball, which shifts your weight onto your toes. When you swing, gravity pulls you toward the ground, causing you to lose your balance. If you don't play often, pay close attention to your set up. It's the foundation of your swing, so make sure you're in a balanced and athletic position before swing the club.

Not Releasing Tension

Most swing errors occur at set-up and one of the biggest causes of error is tension. Too much tension in your hands causes the rest of your body to tense up, impeding the flow of your swing. Beginning with a good start where you synchronize the swinging of the club with the turning motion of your body gets you into the flow, and it helps you put the club in good position without having to think too much about it. And we all know what happens when we think too much. To get loose, start your swing by holding the club a couple of feet in front of and above the ball. Grip the club loosely and waggle it a few times. It will loosen your hands up and your body as well.


Eighty-five percent of all golfers slice. It's especially prevalent with weekend golfers who don't get a chance to correct the fault in practice or through a lot of play. The split-hand drill reinforces a free release, allowing you to rotate your forearms through impact and turns your slice into a draw. It's a drill I often use with players taking my golf lessons. Here's what you do:

Grab your driver and address a ball on the tee. When you grip the club, do so by taking hold of the shaft with your hands a few inches apart. Instead of your normal set up position, rest the driver on the ground inside the target line and behind your rear foot. From this position, try to hit the ball by sweeping up and rotate your forearms thorough impact. You should finish with your right hand above your left. Try this drill on the practice range just before teeing off. It will give you the feeling of a draw as opposed to a slice.

Poor Left Hand At Impact

No matter what you do with the rest of your swing, the critical moment is at impact. If you can get the back of the left-hand square to the target (for right-handed players) and you have a neutral grip, the ball has to go straight. If you haven't played for awhile, your goal should be to reinforce the feeling of getting your left hand leading the club face and the back of your hand facing the target. Take a club and try hitting a chip shot with just your left hand to remind you of the feeling of hitting the ball with your left-hand leading. Remember if you slice, you're hitting the ball with the side of your left hand. If you hook, your hand has turned over too much.

Coming Over The Top

Coming over the top affects not only weekend golfers but also PGA pros after a long lay off. This fault is strictly a path issue. Here's a drill that will help you correct it. First, lay a club down on the ground behind the ball and parallel to the target line. Take your normal address position, then pull the right foot back, until the right toes are even with your left heel (for right-handers). Then swing along your foot line. This drill forces you to swing from the inside, creating a straighter shaped shot. Try hitting a few shots like this before starting a round. It will help eliminate the over-the-top swing.

If you keep these five faults -- and their drills -- in mind the next time you play, you will have a fighting chance of having a good round, even after a long lay off. Of course, correcting these faults won't guarantee that you'll break 100, but they may help you cut a few strokes off your score and make playing on the weekend more fun.

Jack Moorehouse is the author of the best-selling book "How To Break 80 And Shoot Like The Pros." He is NOT a golf pro, rather a working man that has helped thousands of golfers from all seven continents lower their handicap immediately.

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