If you do a Google search you will find a lot of advice for people taking up the game, most of it useless and some downright harmful. With that in mind, if you know someone that is taking up golf or has just started playing I wanted to list a few things that you should never tell them and why.
By the same token, if you are a beginner and someone offers you this advice, just politely thank them and totally ignore it.
There apparently is some perverted part of human nature that compels golfers to give advice no matter how bad they personally are. They just can’t seem to help themselves and the only place near a golf course that you won’t be given advice or tips is in the restroom.
There are all types of myths surrounding golf and the golf swing that golf instructors actually laugh and shake their heads about that just keep getting passed on to golfers generation after generation. These myths have absolutely no basis in fact.
6) “You looked up”
Looking up has been blamed for more bad shots of every imaginable type than anything else in golf. The great Harvey Pennick said it best;
“Looking up is the biggest alibi ever invented to explain a bad shot. By the time you look up you’ve already made the mistake.”
If looking up early did cause a topped shot, both Annika Sorenstam and David Duval wouldn’t have reached number one in the world doing so. If you don’t believe me go check out their golf swings.
5) “You took your eye off the ball”
This is a common variation of looking up. If keeping your eye on the ball was that important, then how do you explain blind people playing golf? The United States Blind Golf Association wouldn’t have any members nor need a tournament schedule.
4) “You lifted your head”
Also known as “you didn’t keep your head down.” If you can maintain your posture and knee flex you can lift your head all you want and it won’t cause a bad shot. However, if you straighten your spine or your legs, you can keep your head glued to your chest and you are still going to hit a bad shot.
3) “You are not keeping your left arm straight”
One of the most harmful things a person can do is try to keep their left arm straight on the back swing. It causes you to lock up about waist high. There are a number of very successful tour players that allow their left arm to bend. Check out Fred Couples swing some time.
2) “You are slicing because you coming over the top”
Over the top and outside-to-inside are the same and neither causes a slice. A slice is caused by a club face open to its path period. Studies with groups of people that have never swung a golf club show that they start coming over the top because they slice, not the other way around.
1) “You are not shifting your weight”
Shifting your weight causes more problems than not shifting your weight. The bottom of your swing arc is where ever your weight is and if your weight is shifting, then the bottom of the arc is moving. That is why the Stack and Tilt Method works so well for golfers with a weight shift problem.
If you are absolutely compelled to offer advice always make it something positive. Say things like, ‘don’t worry about it, just try to swing the same every time” or “you really are doing good for no longer than you have been playing.” Compliment any part of their game that is decent.