James Ellington: Golfer Mistakes that are Killing Your Game
James Ellington, golfer and coach, raises the following question: Is your golf game as strong and as consistent as you would like? The answer, for many players, is a no—yet how many of us regularly pause to reflect on our game and to think about what we can do to improve? Ellington says that this kind of self-evaluation and reflection is necessary for anyone who wishes to get better and better in their golf game.
And he would know. James Ellington, golfer and coach extraordinaire, has served as a pro for several years now. Currently, he works with new and veteran players alike, primarily in the Sarasota area. Additionally, he is a skilled player in his own right, having participated in the Web.com tournament and several other high levels of play.
According to James Ellington, golfer mistakes are common—and knowing what some of the most common mistakes are is a great way to avert them. Read on as he offers his choices for some of the most common—and detrimental—golfing errors, in three different categories: Driving, wedge play, and putting. See if any of these resonate with you—and if they do, work to improve them, and thus improve your entire golf game!
Some Common Driving Errors
Driving is paramount to golfing success. The difference between a win and a loss often comes down to the yardage you are able to get with your driver—thus, improving your drive should help to improve your overall score. Despite the importance of driving, there are a few common errors that many players continue to make.
Some of them begin well before you step up to the tee to take your first swing. Indeed, picking up the wrong equipment can doom your drives before they ever take off. The most common mistake here is the long-held belief that a driver should offer nine degrees of loft, at the very most. This is simply not prudent, and indeed, most novice and recreational golfers will perform much better with a loft of 11 or 12 degrees.
There are a couple of reasons why this additional loft comes in handy. For one thing, more loft means more backspin, which in turn means less sidespin—thus, less slice and hook. Additionally, you are better able to create optimal launch conditions with higher loft—something that countless professional golfers have proven.
There are some additional driving mistakes that players make. Consider your shoulders; the trajectory of your ball is largely dictated by your shoulders, especially during the downswing, and yet many players persist in keeping their shoulders fully level. This is not the best posture to take during your downswing; instead, rock your left shoulder up as your right shoulder turns beneath your chin.
A final word about driving: Avoid the mistake of thinking that the pivot of your lower body is what gives power and speed to your swing. The lower body is important, but not as important as your hands. Swing as though trying to propel the club with the movement of your hands, and—if you’re doing it properly—the rest of your body will follow suit.
Some Common Wedge Play Errors
Now we move on to wedge play—another area that is make-or-break for golfers. Good wedge play can give you a strong competitive edge—and yet, it is easy to make a wedge play blunder. James Ellington, golfer and coach, provides some insights in the paragraphs that follow.
One of the most common errors that players make, in terms of their wedge shots, is what pros refer to as “high fiving” The old saying in golf is that you “shake hands” rather than giving a high-five—and yet many players continue to swing from low to high, following impact. The better approach is to hit down and through the ball—thus, following impact, your hands are still below your waistline.
Another common mistake is simply not setting up your shot properly. Remember, when using a wedge, that you’re dealing with a shorter club than you were during your drive—so you may wish to stand closer to the ball. Do make sure that you are still standing upright, however.
One final wedge play error, worth a mention: Overactive legs. You do not need to do much with your legs in order to get a good wedge shot. In fact, you are really better off executing the swing entirely with your hands and arms
James Ellington: Golfer Errors, Continued
Ellington continues by listing a few common putting errors. Putting, of course, is essential. If you cannot consistently get the ball to within tapping range, at the very least, then you need to seriously practice your putting.
There are a few common putting errors that beginners tend to make—starting with putter deceleration. Many players hold back a little as they make impact with the ball—but your putting swing should never decelerate. Like any golf stroke, it is one where constant acceleration is key.
Beyond that, many players make the mistake of trying to putt with an open face. You cannot set up a good putt with an open face, period. Right-handed players will miss to the right, time and time again, and vice versa for lefties.
Still another error: Not coming up with a consistent putting stance. Mind you, putting is a very personal thing, and there is no one, universal stance that players ought adopt. With that said, you should absolutely work to ensure that you are consistent and deliberate in your stance, working with a coach to find a stance that works well for you, and with which you are comfortable.
The above mistakes are all fairly prevalent, among golfers of all experience levels—and by working to remove them from your game, you can start seeing dramatic improvements in your scores!
James Ellington at a Glance
According to James Ellington, golfer mistakes like the ones listed above are tough to avoid—but you can nip them in the bud by working with a coach or a pro. Ellington is a pro working in Sarasota, and he has worked as a golfing professional for several years now. According to James Ellington, golfer mistakes are best avoided through regular practice, self-reflection, and work with a coach!
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