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Debunking The Biggest Golf Myths

Golf Myths

Debunking The Biggest Golf Myths

Golf is a complicated sport for the best players in the world, let alone the average player.

If you’re like so many golfers it’s easy to overthink the swing path, swing plane, test out every training aid, and even endlessly research accessories like golf shoes or apps. Golf takes a lot out of us to produce good shots and put together low rounds.

Listening to the wrong advice can make the game even harder. In this article we’ll cover the common myths in the golf game that might be holding you back from playing your best.

Most Common Golf Myths Debunked

Key Takeaways 

  • Listening to outdated myths about the game might be hurting, not helping your scores.
  • The history of golf is rich but it has a lot of outdated information and advice so it’s vital to test and see what works best for you.
  • Thanks to data from strokes gained analytics and video technology we can now debunk a lot of common golf myths.

Keep reading to learn more about the most common myths in golf so you can score better than ever. 

Myth: Golf is Not a Real Sport

There is a common perception in the sports world that golf isn’t a real sport. But if you ask any professional athlete from another sport to try and play golf, this myth is quickly debunked. 

Is hitting a little white ball as physical as a sport like football or rugby?

No.

Is golf as exhausting as running track or soccer?

No.

Myths about Golf
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However, golf requires a mix of mental and physical preparation that most sports do not. Swinging a golf club at more than 100 mph over and over again is not easy on your body (just ask Tiger Woods).

Golf is also arguably the most mental sport out there.

You’re tasked with battling your mind after bad shots, thinking your way around different golf courses, and dealing with playing partners for 4–6 hours at a time. Not to mention weather is a big factor unlike other sports that are played indoors.

Myth: I Need to Wait Until I Play Golf

You don’t need to wait as long as you think to take your swing to the golf course.

A lot of players want to get a great swing on the range thinking it’ll lead to success on the course. While you need a semi-consistent swing, you’ll actually learn a lot more lessons on the course than the driving range.

Once you’re hitting the ball consistently well, try out 9 holes on an executive golf course. These are shorter courses that are great for beginners. Once you get these courses dialed in, move up to longer 18 hole courses. 

Myth: I Don’t Need My Own Golf Clubs

If you’re serious about golf it’s best to get your own set.

One of the worst things you can do is try to cut down an old set to fit you. A lot of parents do this for their kids but playing adult clubs is only going to make golf harder for women and children.

Get a used set or find a complete set to get started. These won’t have all 14 clubs that are allowed but you really only need 8–10 clubs to begin playing golf. 

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Myth: More Practice Equals Lower Scores

Yes and no.

You can’t expect to never practice and then show up amazing on the golf course. 

However, golf is one of those sports where more practice does not necessarily mean better results. Sometimes you can go to the driving range and actually get worse which is one of the most frustrating things about this game. 

Instead, you need to reframe practice so that each session is intentional. If the average golfer can avoid these practice mistakes the game gets a lot easier.

  • Neglecting a putting routine.
  • Stop neglecting short game.
  • Never recording your golf swing.
  • Never using training aids or working with a swing coach. 
  • Getting a jumbo bucket and never taking breaks between shots. 

Have a goal for each practice session so you can ensure your time is spent well at the range or short game area. 

Myth: Keep Your Head Down

One of the oldest pieces of golf advice is to keep your head down. Otherwise, you’ll top the ball or even miss it entirely.

But that couldn’t be further from the truth. The golf swing happens in about a second and you can hit it whether you’re trying to watch the ball or not.

The easiest way to debunk this golf myth is watching Annika Sorenstam – who many consider the greatest female golfer ever. If you watch her swing in slow motion you’ll notice she moves her head up faster than most golfers.

Annika does not see the club hitting the ball in her golf swing. Yet, she’s also one of the best ball strikers and most accomplished players ever.

When you try to keep your head down it’s easy to stop rotating your lower body and lose out on tons of power. Make sure your head and body rotate together on the downswing to generate maximum power. 

Myth: Left Arm Straight

Another common myth is that you need to keep your left arm straight for maximum power and width. But it’s not the case as players like Jordan Speith and Lee Westwood have shown.

This YouTube video breaks down why you don’t need a straight left arm in less than two minutes. While you can keep your left arm straight it’s not needed for a repeatable golf swing.

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Myth: Weight Shift

Wrong – you need to transfer your weight more than shift it. Too many golfers try to get extra rotation and power from having a weight shift.

In reality your hips don’t move much (if at all) from side to side – a good swing is built around proper rotation. Think about rotating, not shifting to hit it better than ever.

Myth: Low and Slow on the Backswing 

Most everyday golfers have a swing that is about 2–3 seconds.

Yet the best golfers in the world only take about a little more than a second for a full swing. Pro golfers also hit it substantially further than most everyday players. 

Which is why low and slow is a terrible piece of advice.

While you don’t want to rip the club away from the ball, you do want a smooth takeaway. A slightly faster takeaway will improve clubhead speed and likely improve your transition.

The biggest takeaway from this myth is to remember the impotence of tempo which can happen at different speeds. As noted in the book Tour Tempo all great players have a 3:1 tempo; this means their backswing takes 3X as long as their downswing. 

Read our full review of Tour Tempo now

Myth: Lay Up to a Good Distance 

Another piece of advice I learned early on in my golf career is that you should always lay up to a good distance. For example, you might think laying up to 85 yards, a full lob wedge, is better than 50 yards. 

But the data says otherwise.

As noted in Golf.com“Proximity to the hole always increases the farther the shot into the green, regardless of skill level. There are no significant ‘dips’ in the data, indicating a zone when shots seemingly get simpler despite an increase in target distance.”

Simply put – the closer you are to the green, the more likely you are to hit it closer to the pin. The closer the putt, the more likely you are to make it. 

Try to get as close to greens as possible instead of laying up to the perfect distance. 

Myth: Lower Loft Equals More Distance

A common belief among amateur golfers is that lower loft equals more distance. 

Yes, lower lofted clubs do go longer than higher lofted clubs (ex. A 5-iron vs. a pitching wedge). But the length of the club is also a factor. 

However, this isn’t necessarily the case when hitting a driver. Playing a 7-degree loft vs. a 10-degree loft doesn’t automatically add yards to your tee box game.

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The lower the loft on the big stick, the more speed you need. Otherwise, you’ll actually lose out on carry and total distance. 

When it comes to driver loft remember this – loft is your friend.

Use a launch monitor or get a custom fitting with a professional to test out the impact of different loft settings to maximize your driving potential. 

Myth: Only Play One Brand

A lot of golfers think that playing one brand – like Titleist, TaylorMade, or Callaway – makes you a better player. But in 99.99% of cases this just isn’t true. 

Think about it like this, most professional golfers have a main sponsor like one of the brands I just mentioned. Ironically, they only are required to play 10 or 11 clubs, not all 14 from their main sponsor.

So if the pros don’t play the same brand throughout their entire set, you don’t either. Play the clubs that are right for you and will help your game – regardless of brand. 

Myth: Hit 3-Wood for More Fairways 

Another common golf myth is that hitting a 3-wood off the tee leads to more fairways than hitting a driver. It makes sense as a 3-wood as it is shorter and has more loft but data says it’s not necessarily worth laying back.

This Golf Monthly study found that 5-handicap golfers hit about 49% of fairways with a driver. When hitting a 3-wood they only increase their fairway average to 52%. 

Fairway from the Tee Box
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So yes, players did hit 3% more fairways but they’ll also have a lot longer distance into the green. Which if you look at statistics, will lead to a higher scoring average. 

Needless to say, hit your driver more often to give yourself the best scoring opportunities. 

Myth: You Need a Perfect Swing 

If you go to the driving range at any golf course you’ll see most golfers trying to do one thing – achieve the perfect swing.

However, golf is more about scoring than achieving a perfect swing. Otherwise, guys that have textbook swings like Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, or Adam Scott would win every event.

A consistent swing is needed but you don’t need a perfect swing to break 90, break 80, or even become a scratch golfer. Instead, playing your best golf is about a good mental game, solid short game, and finding success on the greens. 

Myth: Pro Golf is the Dream

It’s a dream life for a very small percentage of players but it’s far from an easy life for most professionals.

Just making it to the Korn Ferry Tour is an impressive feat but winnings aren’t much. Not to mention you have to factor in an insane travel schedule, jet lag, weather, and tons of costs (like caddies, hotels, rental cars, etc.)

Golf is one of the few sports where there is no minimum payout either. If a golfer doesn’t make the cut, they don’t get paid! 

A few bad events can lead to low confidence and even losing their status. Learn more about Monday qualifying for professional events here.

Myth: Play Different Shot Shapes 

The final piece of advice that is considered wise in the golf world is that you should play a different shot shape for different holes.

For example, if the hole is a dogleg left, you should play a draw off the tee to match the direction of the hole. Or, if the hole is a back right flag, you should hit a fade into the green.

Like a lot of this advice, it sounds good in theory. However, hitting different shot shapes isnt’ easy to do consistently – even for the best golfers in the world. 

Claude Harmon – brother of Butch Harmon and swing coach of Brooks Koepka – said this about shaping shots. “So many guys come out on Tour trying to hit all the shots. They want to be diverse ball strikers. 

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I see so many players trying to get good at 4-5 different shot types and aren’t good at any of them. We worked on making Brooks’ golf swing as repeatable and one dimensional as possible.” 

Focus on hitting one shot shape with consistency so you can become more automatic on the golf course. 

FAQs

Do you have more questions about some of the biggest myths in golf? If so, keep reading through the most frequently asked questions now. 

What is the biggest golf myth?

Keep your head down so you don’t miss the golf ball. This is old outdated advice that is holding a lot of golfers back from hitting the ball consistently well. 

Is golf expensive?

Yes and no. Golf can get expensive with equipment, apparel, and tee times.

However, you can save money by booking tee times at certain times of day, buying summer passes, and selling old clubs

Do you have to join a country club to play golf?

No, you can get started at places like TopGolf, driving ranges, and public golf courses. If you end up loving the sport you can join a country club for leagues and other activities. 

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My Experience

The golf swing is a complex move and the game requires a lot of preparation – both mentally and physically. But don’t fall into these myths as they can hold you back from playing more consistently and reaching your true potential.

After playing for more than 25 years and achieving a +2 handicap, the biggest lesson is to keep an open mind. This means an open mind to trying out new equipment, new moves in your golf swing, and to new technology like speed training.

Keep testing and see what works best for you.

Final Thoughts 

Now that we have so much technology and data we had to dispel these myths. Keep an open mind to avoid these issues and play your best golf.