The 4 most common bad golf shots... and how to fix them

A lot of students come to me saying that they are struggling with consistency through the set. I then ask them what their common bad shot is and the four most popular answers are:

  1. a push slice
  2. a thin to topped shot
  3. a fat shot, or
  4. a pulled shot straight left.

If any of these apply to you, keep reading!

What gets the golf ball in the air?

As we all know, the hips play an integral part of the golf swing but it’s how we use them that is the key. A lot of people’s misuse of the hips comes from the common fault of literally trying to help the golf ball off the ground into the air. Most people that take the game up will come from sports where they are used to hitting an ascending ball, catching a ball that is falling out of the sky or not even using a ball at all! What actually gets the golf ball in the air is the club-head travelling on one arc going back and returning back on the same arc. The natural loft of the club is what actually gets the ball in the air.

When we use our lower body, or more specifically our hips, to try and control the swing, we risk the club not travelling on the same arc and more often than not, taking on a different path.

I am going to explain four of the common bad shots and why a lateral hip slide causes them. With each of the scenarios let’s assume there has been a slight sway to the right during the backswing.

How do we fix these problems?

Quite simply we have to try and isolate the hips and give them more of a supporting role. When you set up, feel really strong in your lower half and feel like the turn that you make on your backswing is only generated through your shoulders, more so with the left shoulder. Remember that the shoulder turn will always naturally rotate the hips going back.

Once you feel like the shoulders can’t turn anymore, feel a slight pause at the top of the backswing and then initiate the downswing with rotating (not sliding or laterally moving) hips and an accelerating upper body. We want that club to get to the ball before sliding hips! The arms should naturally move down the chest and a natural rotation should occur through the upper body, moving the lower body in a rotating movement with it.

*Note that there must be some lateral movement with the hips towards the left but at no point should the left hip get any higher than the right*

All of a sudden we will have a feeling that the body is moving to the ball with both the arms and the lower half (hips) synced and well timed.

Practise tips

Half swings are always a good way to get this feeling and build up the timing, as well as a relationship between the arms and the rest of the body.



When you'd like for me to take a look at your swing, come see me at the Sydney Golf Academy, Moore Park Driving Range (Wed - Sat).

I am always happy to help and answer any questions.


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