Do you like to hit bad shots? I know I don’t. So whenever I hit a bad shot I try to figure out what went wrong. If I’m playing with friends, I may even ask them if they saw me do something wrong. If you’re going to reduce your golf handicap, you must learn to eliminate many bad shots from your game. That’s hard to do.

Often, the outcome of your shot is determined long before you start your swing. In fact, it’s often determined in your set up. If your set up is off, your shot will be off.  As Jack Nicklaus said: “If you set up to the ball poorly, you’ll hit a lousy shot even if you make the greatest swing in the world.” You must setup correctly to hit good shots, which is what we stress to students in golf lessons.  Below are three setup mistakes we see in golf instructions sessions. These mistakes can derail your swing before it gets started We’ve also provided some golf tips on how to correct them:

1.    Crowding The Ball

Standing too close to the ball at address tops the list of setup mistakes. It’s called crowding. We see this mistake in golf lessons all the time. When you crowd the ball, bad things happen. Crowding often causes you to pick up the club prematurely in your backswing, which leads to a weak, over-the-top downswing. Being so close to the ball, you can’t extend your arms completely through impact.

A good way to cure this mistake is to pre-set the proper spacing at address. Start by taking a proper grip and then extending both arms in front of you. Make sure your elbows are just touching your chest and your arms are in front of you. You can now take your address confident you’ll be the right distance from the ball before starting your swing.

2.    Weak Grip At Address

This is probably the second most common setup mistake we see in golf instruction sessions. Your grip is weak if your left-hand is rotated counterclockwise too much. Weak grips cause the club to be held too much in the palm of the hand. That in turn makes it hard to rotate the clubface back to square at impact.

To correct this we have students in our golf lessons pre-set their grips. To do that, let your left-hand hang naturally at your side. Now turn your left-hand in slightly so you can see two or three knuckles. Now take your grip. This grip encourages more clubface rotation through impact. That’s because your arm is in a better position to rotate the club. If your clubface is square at impact, you may hit the shot straight or with a slight draw.

3.    Forgetting To Aim The Club

This is probably the third most common mistake we see in golf lessons as far as set is concerned. Sometimes, we’re so intent on hitting the ball we forget about our target at address. This can cause us to tense up at address. Too much tension will kill your swing. It can throw both your rhythm and timing off. You want to eliminate as much tension as you can before starting to swing.

A good way to stay loose at address is to “walk into the ball.” Here’s how: Pick your target first. Extend your arms in front of you. Now step into your address position with your right foot. Continue looking at your target. Step in with your left foot. Make sure it’s parallel to your target line. Look at the target again. Now spread your feet. Walking into the ball ensures you’re not crowding the ball and aligns you to your target. It will also keep you loose.

Eliminate these setup mistakes with our golf tips. Setting up correctly puts you in position to hit good shots. That in turn will help you cut strokes from your golf handicap.

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Jack Moorehouse is the author of the best-selling book "How To Break 80 and Shoot Like the Pros!". He is NOT a golf pro, rather a working man that has helped thousands of golfers from all seven continents lower their handicaps quickly. His free weekly newsletter goes out to thousands of golfers worldwide and provides the latest golf tips, strategies, techniques and instruction on how to improve your golf game.