Why Do I Suck at Golf – 9 Common Swing Faults


Let’s face it, golf is difficult.  However, it doesn’t have to be a sport where you are constantly asking, why do I suck at golf!  Don’t worry we are here to help. We are going to point out 9 common swing faults that ruin 80% of golfers and then provide some tips to help you become one of the best 20% of golfers in the world.  

Did you know that only 20% of golfers can break 90 on a regular basis.  This means that 80% of golfers are scoring 90 or higher most of the time. 

Check out our practical guide on breaking 90 once you finish this post.

Alright, enough nonsense with not being able to break 90.  Let’s get started by showing you the most common swing faults and then show you a solution because of course we aren’t just going to show you the issue, but we are going to follow up with a solution to help you get better.

Most Common Swing Faults

  • 1 – Over the Top
  • 2 – Inconsistency in Contact
  • 3 – Early Extension
  • 4 – HIps Sliding
  • 5 – Swinging too Hard
  • 6 – Poor Transition
  • 7 – Offsides
  • 8 – Lack of Training
  • 9 – Poor Course Strategy

1 – Over the Top

When playing in the several golf scrambles I do each year where there is a wide range of golfers playing, the number one issue I see is the over the top move in the swing. 

This occurs when the golfer starts the downswing in the upper body and is pulling way too hard from the top. This results in the left shoulder flying out, the club coming across the ball and the end result is a big pull left or a slice to the right.  If you are a golfer that hits the big banana slices, chances are you are coming over the top.

Instead, think about your arms beating the buttons on your shirt to the ball and keep your back to the target as long as possible.  This will help keep your upper body closed and get your path more to the right. This may feel strange at first, but it is trying to counter balance the many swings you have already taken in your golf career where you fly open and pull way across the ball.

Once you can correct this issue, you should see more shots starting straight as your path will come back more to the center.  Ideally, your swing will have a slight feel that you are swinging out to the right or trying to hit the ball to right center if you were playing baseball.  

A golfer should remain patient at the top.  The reason the over the top move happens is because it feels powerful.  We want to hit the ball so hard that we pull right out of it.

If you are really struggling to get this right, check out the Jim Venetos approach and use his approach as a drill to get your upper body to stay back.  Here is our overview on the Jim Venetos golf swing. 

His approach may help you hit the first draw of your life.  You don’t necessarily have to stick with his swing, but his approach will help you better understand how a draw is hit and give you an approach that will have you hitting a draw.  You might be surprised how far you can hit a ball with a closed setup and keeping your body still. You are generating less power than you realize with your body.

2 – Inconsistency in Contact

We know what happens.  Your are trying to hit that 150 yard shot over water and you chunk it and hit it thick and kerplunk goes your ball in the water.  The issue here is the consistency in contact in your golf swing.

Your inability to hit the ground in the same spot every time is what is causing the issues.  What we would recommend it putting 60% of the weight on your front foot and hitting some 50-75% shots to help make your ground contact more consistent.

The best golfers in the world hit the same spot of the ground 100% of the time.  The higher handicap someone is the higher the range where the ground is hit. This is driven by where your body weight is at impact. If that weight gets too far back or too far forward you have to make compensations with your upper body. Shifting your weight too much back and forward can also lead to many different issues.

Buy some turf paint at your local store and paint a line in your backyard.  Take out your 8 iron and make 20 swings. Count how many times you can hit the target side of the line.  DId you know that the best swings hit the ball first and then the ground. So realistically the line is the ball and you want to hit on the target side of the line.

Check out Stack and Tilt instructors as they practiced this drill.  How many times can you do this?

To read more about the Stack and Tilt, 10 things to consider, visit here.

3 – Early Extension

Early extension is when your lower body moves up and towards the golf ball too early.  The lower body is fully extended sometimes before contact is even reached. As a result, the golfer has often thrown away all of the lag and inconsistencies will occur due to an over reliance on the flipping of the hands through the ball. 

The early extension feels powerful, although it destroys consistency. If you were to record your swing on your smartphone and draw a line on your backside in your setup, your backside should remain on that line during the downswing and through.  This would allow for proper rotation.

Monte Scheinblum is one of the best at helping golfers get rid of early extension. His zipper away drill is awesome and helps the golfer make the proper movements in the downswing.

4 – Hips Sliding

A couple of decades ago many of the worlds best golf instructors at the time were telling us to load up on our rear leg and then shift forward onto our front side to maximize power. 

The more recent teaching has moved away from this with some instructors even having 60% of the weight stay on the front side for more consistent contact and better path control. One of the outcomes of us trying to get back to our front side in the downswing was overactive hips and allowing them to move too far forward causing us to get “stuck” in the downswing. 

As a result we had to throw our lag away too early which led to inconsistencies in the golf swing

Here is a great video that shows a comparison between amateurs and pros.

5 – Swinging Too Hard

Yes, golf is a game built on speed.  And yes, we all could benefit from more speed, but trying to swing harder isn’t going to solve our distance issues.  Swinging in sequence and allowing the kinematic sequence to take over will allow us to maximize our potential swing speed resulting in further drivers and more fairways hit. 

Let’s face it, speed is dominating the game now, but we must get it in the right way. A great test of this is to swing with your arms only, you will find how much speed your arms and hands can create. 

Over usage of your body can result from trying to swing too hard. You then struggle to find the center of the club face. Instead, consider checking our SuperSpeed Golf, which can help you gain 5-8% in as early as your first session with their training protocol. 

All golfjourney365 customers can get an extra 10% off by using discount code Golfjourney365 at SuperSpeed Golf.

Here is our full review on SuperSpeed Golf.

6 – Poor Transition

A poor transition is another major flaw that causes many issues.  The transition in the golf swing might be the most important movement and leads to either quality impact or poor impact. 

The natural instinct is to pull down hard from the top, but the reality is that we must let the transition occur smoothly and let gravity take over.  Shawn Clement is one of the best at teaching the transition along with Mike Malaska.

Check out a previous post of ours completely dedicated to the transition in the golf swing, here.  You will find over 7 videos to help your transition swing needs.

7 – Offsides

Offsides, isn’t that in football?  Yes, it is a term that has been used for golf as well by Bobby Lopez.  He stresses the importance of keeping your head behind the ball. This is my number one swing fault and when things start going astray on the course, I know the issue probably is my head moving too far forward. 

I quickly get a video from the caddie view, draw a circle around my head on the software and make sure I am staying “onsides” or behind the ball at impact. By moving your head forward, you will bring many bad possibilities into the golf swing.  Instead keep that head behind the ball and allow the arms to release through the shot.

Bobby Lopez has it right in that the head needs to stay behind the ball.  Here is a great video between Bobby Lopez and Be Better Golf.

8 – Lack of Training

Too many golfers show up on Saturday morning and haven’t touched a club all week. They are then surprised when they haven’t gotten any better from the previous week.  There are many opportunities and ways to practice even with limited time.

Can you find 10 minutes per day to practice some chipping the backyard or 10 minutes to practice putting on your carpet in your house?  Or how about about the SuperSpeed Training Protocols which only take 10 minutes every other day? Or simply swinging a club in your backyard. Do something to get better.

I would highly recommend spending 30 minutes per day on the short game until you can get up and down for par at least 40% of the time.  You might be surprised what your score can be when you are saving shots on just about every hole with your short game. Give it a shot.

Here are 22 practice games to make your practice fun and to maximize your time.

9 – Poor Course Strategy

The amount of shots that leak out from high handicappers is astounding.  Most of it starts with unrealistic expectations of what you can actually accomplish with the golf swing.  A golfer after hitting a 230 yard drive now has a shot and needs to carry it 220 over water. No problem he pulls out the 3 wood and proceeds to put it in the water. 

That just cost two shots. Or the golfer that thinks he can hit the full swing flop shot over the bunker to a tight pin. He ends up blading it over the green into another bunker and takes 4 shots to get down from there. 

The shots and loss of stokes leaks all over the place. Instead consider some of the strategy found with one of youtube’s best, golf sidekick. He has so many great videos that talk about strategy.

Here is an excellent video on how to break 90. 

Take Action…

We have provided the 9 most common swing faults that leads to the question, “Why Do I Suck at Golf,” but it doesn’t have to stay that way. 

The quickest and easiest way to lower your score is through the short game and course strategy. The swing faults might take longer to correct, but you can start with the short game and course strategy and you just might be able to save 5-10 strokes in your next round.  I

would also highly recommend training with SuperSpeed golf. Not only will you gain swing speed, but by following the protocols you swing could improve.  

We we would also recommend check out our top 5 recommended online instructors.  Pick one to follow and learn more about the swing. They are all fantastic and can help you out.

Check out our top 5 here.

We have provided guides on how to break 100, 90, 80 and 70. Check out more below, if interested.

Check out our Recommended Products page on Golf Swing/Training Aids, Golf Balls, Golf Shoes and more.

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