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Your Top Five Golf Myths or Misinformation


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Off the top of my head (i.e. I'll probably kick myself later for forgetting anywhere between one and three), here are the top five myths in golf:

  1. The relative importance of putting versus the full swing, at all levels of the game. Putting is not important, and has the lowest Separation Value® of the four main areas of the game (driving, approach shots, short game, putting).
  2. The ball flight laws. The ball starts closer to where the face is pointing than the path, often quite a bit more so. This single piece of information is responsible for many, many people going down the wrong path in fixing their swing.
  3. There's no quick fix. Even golfers who think there is often get caught up into thinking that there is one. The ones who don't will sometimes think that they've found the "feel" that works for them… but don't realize that their feel will change over time, and cease to be as effective. Knowledge - learning more about the golf swing - is not the way to improve, either. Golf is hard.® Improving takes a long time, a lot of effort, and only then really if you're working on the right thing(s).
  4. The Mental Game is Over-Rated. Put Jack Nicklaus's mind in the body (and give him the swing and physical capabilities) of a 20-handicapper and he's still not going to be breaking 80. Yeah, he may not do something stupid now and then (like "take a run" at a 20-footer for par, and end up three-putting for double) and he'll save a few strokes here and there… but gameplanning for a worse-than-bogey golfer is difficult. They just hit bad shots. On the flip side, you could get Rory McIlroy or Jordan Spieth half drunk and give them five seconds to hit a shot, and they're still going to hit a better shot than you.
  5. Equipment does and doesn't matter. I can shoot 75 with my wife's clubs, but I'm not going to shoot 71 very easily. Big gains can be made with relatively simple fits, but the smaller gains take increasingly tighter things. You can get (say) 90-95% of the way toward optimal performance in a very quick fitting or even just by experimenting a bit, but the other 5-10% will take some time, energy, effort, and possibly some $$$$.

What are yours? (You can use some of mine, if you like them, but just be honest and list your top five, regardless of whether other people have used them or not.)

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The ball flight laws are the biggest and longest lasting myth out there in my experience. Still get experienced golfers trying to tell me that I must be coming "over the top" because I straight-hooked my last tee shot.

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I might have to use a couple of @iacas for this. 

  1. Putting matters most 
  2. The Quick Fix - Too many golfers believe in advocating the quick fix or try to hard to find one. 
  3. Draws produce topspin - Might as well through in an absurd one I have heard a few times. That fades produce backspin and draws product topspin. 
  4. Ball Flight Laws
  5. Mental Game will make the difference
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1-5. Putting matters most. Uh huh. What are the chances I gain 2 strokes because I (or just about any golfer) 4 putted? It's happened. Rarely. What are the chances I (or just about any golfer) hit an errant tee shot and blow 2 strokes? 40% every tee shot for me. 

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1. Golf is elitist. So far from true but I still get way too many people who chuckle at my interest in golf- as if I should be embarrassed that I enjoy such a snobby pastime. 

2. Just swing your swing- and stop obsessing about getting a "pretty" swing. Sorry, but that's not sound advice - when I get rid of the key elements that are holding me back, yes, sure- then I'll make the most of what I've got. I'll swing that swing. Until then, not a chance, now that I have learned about the fundamentals . There's work to be done to make my future golf far more enjoyable and competitive.  

3. Lessons are expensive. Nope- look hard enough and you can find quality swing guidance at a reasonable price. 

I agree with lotsa others above but these resonate for me at my level of play right and interactions with people now. 

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@iacas will be happy as this is mostly LSW stuff :-). I tried to add a few new ones in.

  1. "Keep your head still" - continually hear this on the range and hate it every time.
  2. Lay up to a comfortable distance rather than reducing distance as much as you can safely
  3. 'If only all my other swings were like that swing' from a 28 capper. They are, you just got lucky with that one...
  4. Over 50% of your shots are from 100 yards and in, therefore practise more putting and short game. It's mainly the putting idea that gets me, but that stat is horribly misinterpreted by so many.
  5. Instructional articles in golf magazines
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2 hours ago, b101 said:

@iacas will be happy as this is mostly LSW stuff :-). I tried to add a few new ones in.

  1. "Keep your head still" - continually hear this on the range and hate it every time.
  2. Lay up to a comfortable distance rather than reducing distance as much as you can safely
  3. 'If only all my other swings were like that swing' from a 28 capper. They are, you just got lucky with that one...
  4. Over 50% of your shots are from 100 yards and in, therefore practise more putting and short game. It's mainly the putting idea that gets me, but that stat is horribly misinterpreted by so many.
  5. Instructional articles in golf magazines

Exactly

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  1. Wrong/old ball flight laws.
  2. To get to scratch golf, you need to focus most of your practice time on your short game.
  3. Use 3 wood off the tee instead of driver to lower scores.
  4. Lay up to a comfortable wedge distance.
  5. Accelerate through the ball when putting.
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5 hours ago, DeadMan said:
  1. Use 3 wood off the tee instead of driver to lower scores.
  2. Lay up to a comfortable wedge distance.

I have questions for both of these. If one can hit a 3 wood well (230-250 avg, confirmed both on launch monitors and GPS in real life) but cant hit a driver well (same distances or less as 3 wood but with much wider dispersion) you still think it is better to use the driver? What about on a narrow fairway? Do you think it is wrong when pros choose to hit a 3 wood instead of a driver for better accuracy?

 

Regarding laying up to comfortable wedge distance, I can see both sides of this argument, the last round I had, par 5, hit 3 wood off the tee, had about 250 left to the flag. I knew I couldnt reach the green, so instead of trying to jack a 3 or 4 iron as far as I could (with higher chance for error) I hit a 8 iron 150 yds, much higher percentage shot, then that left me 100 yds out for a perfect full sand wedge, landed middle of the green and 2 putted for a par.

You think I would shoot lower scores over time if I chose 3,4,5 irons, with a much higher chance for error and a larger dispersion, not to mention leaving myself with a partial wedge shot?

Edited by klineka
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- Drive for show, putt for dough (LSW - all shots count equally)
- You can talk to a fade, but a hook won't listen (lol, but I do love Trevino)
- You're better off spending money on clubs than on lessons (I'm sure that is sponsored by the club mfg association)
- Practice makes perfect (if you are practicing bad swings all you are doing is getting better at repeating them)
 

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15 hours ago, b101 said:

@iacas will be happy as this is mostly LSW stuff :-). I tried to add a few new ones in.

  1. "Keep your head still" - continually hear this on the range and hate it every time.
  2. Lay up to a comfortable distance rather than reducing distance as much as you can safely
  3. 'If only all my other swings were like that swing' from a 28 capper. They are, you just got lucky with that one...
  4. Over 50% of your shots are from 100 yards and in, therefore practise more putting and short game. It's mainly the putting idea that gets me, but that stat is horribly misinterpreted by so many.
  5. Instructional articles in golf magazines

I think @iacas would be okay with keep your head still, relatively. It's "Keep your head down" that's the killer, people keep their head and other body parts locked. @iacas has got the top 5 covered, these bother me:

  • Taking swing advice from strangers from just your description of your swing in feels, no video.
  • Ben Hogan's Five Fundamentals is gospel.
  • Hitting hundreds and hundreds of balls mindlessly rather than really working on changing the picture.
  • Hit down on the ball - misinterpreted.
  • Have been told more than a few times using video is folly. 
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A few that are part "off the top of my head" and part "borrowed from previous posters:"

From the TV:

Putt breaks are affected by nearby geographical features.  This one is perpetuated on nearly every telecast practically every week.  Putts don't break towards oceans or creeks or away from mountains or anything else in the vicinity.  They break down the hill.  They are affected by gravity and gravity alone.

Ball Flight Laws. I think the announcers have gotten a lot better at this over the last few years, but I heard Ian Baker Finch (I believe it was him) repeat the famous old adage just last week at Riviera that when you want to curve it you should "aim your body along the line you want the ball to start and aim your clubface where you want it to finish."

From the course/range:

Keep your head down.  This still seems to be the most popular go-to self-diagnosis after many a poor shot.  Apparently everything was going right until they forgot to keep looking at the ball, otherwise it would have been a perfect shot.

I just need to be more consistent.  Another popular one from slightly better players who are capable of a halfway decent score now and again.

"I'm not good enough to worry about ________ yet." In the blank spot, I've heard anything from ball type to a new driver or irons to lessons to practicing a specific facet of the game, and many other things.  It could be true in some cases, but why be so defeatist about something you claim to really like?

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Totally forgot about the lag lovers. 

  • Get that lag, pull down that club, you'll be the next Sergio, drive it 500 yards.

Also,

  • You're not flexible enough, you need our 6 month stretching/yoga/strength plan.
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14 minutes ago, Golfingdad said:

A few that are part "off the top of my head" and part "borrowed from previous posters:"

From the TV:

Putt breaks are affected by nearby geographical features.  This one is perpetuated on nearly every telecast practically every week.  Putts don't break towards oceans or creeks or away from mountains or anything else in the vicinity.  They break down the hill.  They are affected by gravity and gravity alone.

Yeah, mostly you are right about gravity - but having played some on Bermuda greens there is also grain to deal with, especially on relatively flat putts.

Somewhat discussed here -

 

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The Legend of Bagger Vance and Tin Cup should be watched 24 times a year (each) on Mondays and Tuesdays.

 

Edited by Kalnoky
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36 minutes ago, nevets88 said:

I think @iacas would be okay with keep your head still, relatively. It's "Keep your head down" that's the killer, people keep their head and other body parts locked. @iacas has got the top 5 covered, these bother me:

  • Taking swing advice from strangers from just your description of your swing in feels, no video.
  • Ben Hogan's Five Fundamentals is gospel.
  • Hitting hundreds and hundreds of balls mindlessly rather than really working on changing the picture.
  • Hit down on the ball - misinterpreted.
  • Have been told more than a few times using video is folly. 

My take was the difference between 'still' and 'steady' - semantics, I know, but I take still to mean 'kept at the same position as at address', rather than rotating freely through. Either way, we're getting at the same point. I think.

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59 minutes ago, klineka said:

I have questions for both of these. If one can hit a 3 wood well (230-250 avg, confirmed both on launch monitors and GPS in real life) but cant hit a driver well (same distances or less as 3 wood but with much wider dispersion) you still think it is better to use the driver? What about on a narrow fairway? Do you think it is wrong when pros choose to hit a 3 wood instead of a driver for better accuracy?

In that particular situation, perhaps it's not better to use the driver. Perhaps you are the exception with your current game.

That said, I think you likely have something pretty wrong with your swing for that to be true. The driver is the most forgiving and easiest to hit club in the bag. You also might have a driver that is just not fit for you at all. Could be many things. I would personally tell you to work on fixing your driver, because if you can get that club out 250+ nearly every time, that's huge. Most golfers can't do that.

I would also hazard a guess that your 3 wood is wilder than you think. I really find it hard to believe that you'd have a much wider dispersion with a driver than a 3 wood.

A thread that might be helpful to you:

On your last question, I think pros hit 3 woods way too often. It really only makes sense to do if you're trying to avoid trouble and you can do that by laying back.

Quote

Regarding laying up to comfortable wedge distance, I can see both sides of this argument, the last round I had, par 5, hit 3 wood off the tee, had about 250 left to the flag. I knew I couldnt reach the green, so instead of trying to jack a 3 or 4 iron as far as I could (with higher chance for error) I hit a 8 iron 150 yds, much higher percentage shot, then that left me 100 yds out for a perfect full sand wedge, landed middle of the green and 2 putted for a par.

You think I would shoot lower scores over time if I chose 3,4,5 irons, with a much higher chance for error and a larger dispersion, not to mention leaving myself with a partial wedge shot?

Your goal should be to get as close as possible to the green on a par 5 without risking too much trouble. I'm guessing at your level laying up with a long iron isn't ideal because you're going to have a huge dispersion with those clubs. It would depend on the hole, because if you can get it closer to green with one of those clubs without risking a penalty stroke, it could still make sense.

The real point I was making is about the partial wedge idea. You will take fewer strokes the closer you are to the hole, full stop. So if the choice is to lay up with an 8 iron to get a full sand wedge or lay up with a 6 iron to get a half sand wedge, you should always go for the 6 iron. I see good players playing up to a full wedge distance all the time, and it's the wrong decision (absent potential penalty strokes). If you can't get to the green, get as close as possible.

This is stuff that's explained in LSW and Every Stroke Counts, if you are interested in reading more about it. I'd highly recommend LSW.

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