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These are the biggest mistakes amateur golfers make on the course

What are the biggest mistakes amateur golfers make on the driving range? We asked some of the top 100 teachers to find out.

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Welcome to the GOLF’s Top 100 Teachers Roundtable, where some of the best instructors in the business answer the game’s most perplexing questions. The goal? To help your game and lower your scores as fast as possible.

Going to the driving range is essential if you want to improve. The problem is, not everyone knows what to work on when they get there.

Some people just hit balls mindlessly, while others work diligently on their moves but without any real game plan. There are a multitude of problems that can arise from practicing the wrong way, and it can do more harm than good to your game.

Fortunately, we’ve put together a team of experts from the GOLF’s Top 100 Teachers list for insights into the biggest mistakes amateurs make. Avoid them and you’ll be on your way to better, smarter practice.

1. Not practicing the way you play

Most golfers on the course use a club, stand in one spot and hit ball after ball without practicing a routine that you would use on the golf course. They ride an iron, go play and wonder why they don’t play on the golf course the way they do on the course. To take your game from the course to the golf course, you must practice the way you play. In learning, each behavior is a link in a chain, not unlike the lines in a poem. If you only practice the last three lines of a 12-line poem, when reciting the poem you will stumble at the beginning, rarely getting to the last 3 lines. —David Wright

2. Inadequate adhesion

Undoubtedly, a terrible grip that has little to no chance of helping the club face to land on impact. If you want to practice the right way, you first need to learn the fundamentals. It all starts with the grip. —John Dunigan

3. No target

I often see golfers who don’t pick a target and then get off the first tee where they must hit a target. When you’re on course, you’re aiming for targets. The same strategy should be used at halftime to get the most out of your practice. —Suzy Whaley

4. No plan

The most common problem on the course is that golfers don’t have an organized plan for how they’re going to spend their time hitting the balls. They need to work on alignment and practice a stock shot by monitoring their starting line curve and contact each shot. Most of the time I see them hitting ball after ball just doing exercises but not getting better. If a player places the alignment rods and then places a starting line post in front of him in line with the target to monitor his starting lines then he is off to a good start. If I see a person setting up a practice station, then I really know that person is going to improve. Very few players practice their pre-shooting routine on the field, which is something they use on every shot they play. —Mike Bender Editor

Zephyr Melton is assistant editor at, where he spends his days blogging, producing and editing. Prior to joining the team, he attended the University of Texas, followed by stops with Team USA, the Green Bay Packers and the PGA Tour. He assists in all things instruction and covers amateur and women’s golf.

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