DEBUNKING POPULAR GOLF MYTHS
By Jack Moorehouse
Golf is replete with myths. Covering everything from driving to
course management, these myths are passed down from father
to son, some in the form of golf tips on swing mechanics, others
in the form of wise advice on how to do things. Unfortunately,
many of these myths are just plain wrong.
Below are three popular myths I like to debunk in my golf lessons
and golf tips. One or two of them may have an element of truth in
them. The other may have no truth in it at all. Regardless, all of
them embody ideas that can elevate scores and boost golf
1. Aim at the Target
We’ve all heard this statement before. Maybe even said it. The
statement isn’t so much mythic as it is confusing. The question
is, aim what at the target? Your clubface? Your shoulders? Your
body? The statement doesn’t really say.
The problem with this myth is that it can cause people to misalign
themselves in one of two ways, hurting his or her golf handicap.
• aiming the feet, hips, knees, and shoulders directly at the target,
leaving the clubface following a line well right of the target; or,
• aiming to compensate for ballflight errors, like when you aim left
to compensate for the ballflight error of a slice (for right handers).
When aimed correctly, the leading edge of the clubface sits at a
right angle to the target line while your body aligns parallel-left of
the target line. This set up establishes perfect parallel alignment.
This position doesn’t come naturally. So you need to work on it
on the range to recognize when you’re aiming correctly on the
Here’s a drill I use in my golf instruction sessions. First, pick a
target and lay one club down on the ground a few feet in front of
the ball, but on the target line. Then, take a second club and lay it
down parallel to the first but along your toe line to indicate body
alignment. Make adjustments as necessary. Finally, hit a few
balls and see what happens. After awhile you’ll have trained your
body and eyes to accept this new alignment.
2. As the swing gets longer, it gets faster
If you’re like most golfers, you swing the driver faster than the 7-
iron or 8-iron. Most of us invariably ramp up our swing speed
with longer clubs because we envision hitting the ball harder and
driving it farther. It’s a natural tendency, one I often see when
giving golf lessons.
Unfortunately, when you ramp up your swing speed, you destroy
your natural swing tempo—the total amount of time it takes to
create your swing from beginning to end. That’s not good. When
you start varying your swing’s tempo from club to club, you
destroy the timing required to hit consistent golf shots. It’s one
reason why you feel that you can hit your irons well one-day but
not your woods, and vice versa.
All of us have our own swing tempo. Some of us have a fast
tempo, like Nick Price. Some of us have a slower tempo, like
Fred Couples. Either way is fine, as long as you keep the same
tempo for each club in the bag. It’s not something you control. If it
takes two seconds to hit the pitching wedge, it should take you
two seconds to hit the driver. Practice consistent tempo with all
your clubs and you’ll hit consistent shots.
3. Play the ball back with shorter clubs
Most of us vary ball position as we change clubs. The shorter the
club, the farther back we position the ball. But incorrect ball
positioning can create major problems. With the ball positioned
too far forward, our shoulders tend to align too far left of forward.
Since your club swings where our shoulders point, we slice. With
the ball positioned too far back, our shoulders tend to close,
encouraging a push or a hook.
While you should position the ball more forward for the driver than
the pitching wedge, you should never place the ball farther back
than center for any normal shot with a level lie, regardless of the
club you’re using.
Remember, for normal shots on level lies, there are just three
basic ball positions;
• Short iron: one inch left of center
• Mid-irons: two inches left of center
• Long irons & woods: three inches left of center.
In addition, always relate the position of the ball to your upper
body, not your toes. Using your toes can create the illusion that
the ball is positioned correctly when in fact it isn’t. For example, if
you use your toes to position the ball with your foot flared out but
then close up your foot, the ball seems to move forward in your
stance, when it actually hasn’t.
These are just three of the more popular golf myths that exist,
many of which I address in my golf lessons and golf tips. There
are lots more. Unfortunately, many of them are just plain wrong.
So be wary of them. And don’t be afraid to challenge them. Even
if you’re wrong, the worse thing that can happen is that you can
learn something valuable about the game of golf.
Tom's Golf Tips