You probably didn’t wake up one morning and decide that you wanted to play golf. It is very likely that you were introduced to the game by some friends, who then showed you how enjoyable it can be and who taught you everything that you know about the game.
But as you begin to learn about this game more and more, you will find that there are many myths surrounding golf that can throw you off guard. There are quite a few rules of the game that confuse even golf players who play regularly. Your friend might confuse you even more at that.
20 Golf “Facts” that May Actually be False
However, there is no reason to fret over it because this article attempts to bust some of those myths and list 20 facts about golf that players consider to be true, but actually, are not:
1. The Player Must Keep Their Head Down
This topic is one that is probably the most discussed among golf players. It is the widespread belief that it is necessary to keep your head down when playing golf. Why? It is because if you lift your head, there is a possibility that you may miss or top the ball.
This idea has been a topic of debate and discussion for a long time, and can still stir an argument between golfers. So, should you keep your head down or not? Before we answer that question, it is important to understand what part of the game we are considering for this position.
For shorter shots for chip or putting, you might have to keep your head down for a better game. But when you do a full swing or pitch beyond 15 yards, it may not be the best choice.
A golfer, especially those who are beginners, might opt for looking down before making a shot because his primary goal is to be able to hit the ball. Due to this reason, it can often be challenging to make contact with the golf ball for a beginning player in the game.
Beginners spend a lot of time missing the ball while trying to hit it. While that is understandable, looking down for a full swing shot will only facilitate making contact with the ball and nothing more because it will mess up your perception of where the ball can go.
Golfers think that being able to hit the ball at all through this position implies that it is the way to go. But the truth is, as they hit the ball, they will forget to move their head along when they try to keep their head down. This impedes any kind of weight lift and interferes with the movement of the ball. Therefore, it can often lead to lower distances.
The case is different for shorter putting. For those shots, you have to remain motionless anyway and there is no question of impeding movement. The fact that you have to keep your head down in golf is, thus, not entirely true.
In fact, it is advisable to let your head naturally follow the movement and momentum of the swing.
2. The Longer The Club, The Further It Can Hit
Some people are under the impression that if your driver is more extended, your golf ball will traverse longer distances. This statement is not entirely false. A longer club can create a broader and longer arc in the swing. This can increase the speed by which the golf head will travel.
But the problem is, longer golf clubs allow lesser control over the swing due to the requirement of accuracies. This can make the game difficult for many players. However, choosing the longest golf clubs in your bag will not guarantee bigger shots.
3. The Lower The Loft, The Further The Ball Goes
This is once again another myth that isn’t entirely true. For a ball to go further distances, a golf player has to arrange the right combination of loft angle and swing speed. These are complementary to launch a ball into the air.
If the loft is too low, it will be tough to hit the ball high with an average speed in swing. For getting a higher distance to hit a driver with lower swing speed, the loft angle needs to be much higher to push the ball higher.
While the right loft with the right shaft can produce the required results, the loft size alone cannot do the same.
4. Hit Under The Ball For A Good Shot
This fact is entirely false. Golfers think that if you get under the ball, you can have a higher weight lift and push the ball into the air. Actually, that is the job of the loft of your driver.
If a player tries to manipulate it, he could top the ball and cause it to come out of the posture. Hence, you should avoid getting under the ball when making a shot.
5. The Player Must Keep His Left Arm Straight
This is a fact advised to every person playing golf as a beginner. But this moral advice has caused more harm than it did well. It is essential for the golf swing to be fluid and free-flowing to allow better shots.
If you’re going to try to keep your left arm straight the entire time, it will cause our motions to be short, stiff and tense. Such action will neither produce speed, nor distance and thus it will lose complete accuracy.
Players have to relax their arms, hands and shoulder throughout the golf swing. Maintaining such relaxation will allow the rhythm to flow in a better sequence and produce shots that will launch towards any intended target.
For increased distance, it is important to have a higher swing speed. But swing speed cannot be achieved if there is tension in the movement of the swing.
Tensing up the swing makes it very difficult to feel the necessary motion, which comes with a flow and the flow is required to hit proper shots at your desired targets.
6. The Player Does Not Need To Use His Wrist
This fact is another completely false statement that debunks the need for your wrist in making a swing. Your wrist is the most important lever in the swing of a golf game. Your wrist is what creates the speed and the height for your shots.
When you start a swing to hit the golf ball, your arms, shoulder, posture, etc. all come together to create the stance.
Moreover, the final propel that sends the ball flying is produced by the movement of your wrist. It is clear that wrists produce great swing speed that can improve any swing sequence. So, you have to use your wrist, making this claim useless.
7. The Player Must Keep Their Feet Planted
This myth says that golfers should keep their feet planted to the ground. For right-hand players, it is advised to plant their weight on their left foot. But there is barely any logic in using this stance for a golf swing.
Every swing requires the golfer to consistently and simultaneously transfer weight. The player has to shift and turn steadily in every movement to ensure that the swing does not sway from its flow.
Accordingly, keeping your feet planted will restrict the motion and inhibit the energy required for the motion to create greater distance.
Therefore, instead of putting all your weight in a particular position, it is better to find a stance that suits yourself and suits the requirements for the kind of shot you want to make. Planting your feet for a swing is the wrong thing to do.
8. The Player Needs To Use Heavy Putters
The golf clubs used for putting used to be a lot lighter in weight 10 years ago. Golfers used to consider 350 grams on a putter quite heavy. But now, that idea has changed. Golfers are now opting for a much heavier putter, weighing from 300 grams to over 400 grams.
350 grams is now only considered to be average weight. Why is that? Does having a heavier putter make our game better?
Golf players are now seeking out the most massive putters in the shop because some say that putters that are heavier can create better putting strokes. This myth implies that heavier putter allows for smoother and more consistent strokes.
It also apparently gives you better control of how much distance you want the ball to go. The myth also includes that on short putts, heavy putters are the ones that perform better.
On the other hand, studies done on numerous golfers have shown that heavier putters do not make any significant difference in the overall distance control. In fact, some of the subjects on mid-range putts showed that the heaviest putter head performs the worst.
In case of putts of moderate lengths, fifty percent of the subjects who performed the best had the lightest putter. The remaining fifty percent of the golfers did better with putters that were mid-weight.
The heavier putter only performed better for the longer putting distances. All of these and many more testing revealed that there is no consistent pattern to show how heavier putters affect your game.
The performances from the heavy putters, mid-weight putters as well as the light putters were all inconsistently similar and different.
Furthermore, it is safe to say that there is no specific weight of a club head that is the “best” and will make every golfer perform better. The only thing you can do is practice with different weights and find the one that works best for you. Heavy putters are, thus, not a must.
9. The Player Must Use A Natural Grip
You will often find golf players telling you that having a natural or light grip is the way to go. While this is true for some golfers, it is not obligatory by any means. Having a lighter grip can be comfortable and an excellent fit for some golfers.
But some other players find that lighter grips can cause errors in their swings. The reason behind this difference in opinions is that every golfer tends to hold their golf club differently. It all depends on how comfortable they are with it.
And so, every person will have a different set of the requirement in terms of their grips. You can figure out what grip suits your needs by practicing swings with it. The myth of using a natural grip is, however, completely false.
10. The Player Must Use One Ball Position For All Clubs
Some professional golf players claim that using one ball position every time makes the game a lot easier for them. But most golfers find that they are better off not sticking to one particular position. This is because different clubs can require different ball positions.
The main point here is to know where each club bottoms out. Clubs usually reach the bottom of the swing arc in different places, no matter how long or short they may be. The clubs that are longer clubs bottom require a much more forward stance while shorter ones may not need the same stance.
With longer clubs, you also have to adjust how far you are from the ball before you swing. However, bear in mind that using one ball position can be a problem.
11. Offset Creates Higher Ball Flight
This is a fact believed by many golfers too. The research has revealed that it is only possible for robots to create a higher ball flight with offset. For humans, however, the case is different.
Offset tends to move the center of gravity to the back and, at the same time, create a closed face-to-path. This neutralizes the initial effect. Tests have shown that the highest peak heights usually come from the lowest offset iron.
The low offset irons had an average peak height that was six feet higher than the peak heights of the highest offset iron. The most top shots were mostly done with the least offset irons.
On the other hand, the least offset iron launched the highest in angle and altitude. So, all of these tests brought the conclusion that offsets do not matter.
It would only matter in case you want to have more control over where the ball ends up. For people who have trouble straightening out their ball flight, trying more offset would be a great way to do that. But the verdict stands; offset does not matter.
12. Top Golf Instructors Know Everything
There is a very valid myth among golfers about Golf instructors. Golfers have this common perception that every instructor, especially the one who is ranked high has better-golfing skills and knows exactly how to make our game perfect. But that is not always true.
Teaching sports, in general, is quite a complicated process, and it is even more so for a game like a golf. Some instructors would also say that it is easier to analyze a golf move or swing in a video to give suggestions about improvements rather than showing someone how to do it.
Every golf player has a different mindset, physique and style. An instructor would have to understand all of those factors and cater that player’s needs accordingly, making the process very complex.
Moreover, not all instructors will teach you a golf swing in the same way. One instructor’s mental concept of a golf swing will be different from another. The quality of your instructor cannot determine whether you’ll be getting the best advice about how to golf.
The most it can do is giving you a precise set of instructions that you might, unfortunately, restrict yourself to. Although, the best golf instructors out there may know about golf a lot more than you do, that does not imply that they know everything or that you will become the best golfer by seeking his advice.
13. Golf Is A Mental Game
Golf is not a game entirely based on your mental or intellectual capabilities but your mind has a lot to do with how well you can play golf.. One may argue that it takes physical abilities to play golf. Some others would bring up the counter-argument that the mind is the controller of everything anyway.
With that end in mind, isn’t golf just a game of your mental abilities? The truth is your mind alone cannot be the controller of a golf swing.
Golfers have the belief that they need to get into the right mindset or that they need to get a good sense of the game in their heads to understand why they play bad and how they can play better. But thinking better is not what makes a regular golf player a professional one. Their thinking capabilities are not what separate them from others.
The process of playing golf and improving it requires a combination of the mind and the body as a unit, not as separate groups. You can’t hit a golf ball with your mind unless you have telekinetic powers.
Your swing can never be good if you aimlessly move your hand without putting your mind to work to figure out the best way to do it.
Hence, you have to connect your mind and body to master the game of golf. If you can get your body and mind to work together in complete harmony, you have the game in your hand. Therefore, it is incorrect to think that 99% of the game of golf revolves around your mind.
14. Regular Practice Makes A Better Golfer
There are numerous golfers who believe that hard work is the answer to becoming a great golf player. That is understandable since every sportsman becomes skillful with practice and hard work. But it is a different case for golf.
Hard work alone cannot make you good at golf; there are certain techniques to the practicing process itself that is very important. It can be better understood with the phrase “quality over quantity”, meaning practicing more and more is not more advisable than practicing better.
Instead of practicing hard, you should practice smart. Instead of doing the same thing over and over again, it is better first to figure out which area you need your practice on.
This is because our muscles and skills dynamically develop muscle memory with practice. If you learn the wrong things and practice them on and on, you’re teaching your muscles to expertise on the wrong skills, thereby inhibiting your ability to improve them further.
Thus, by practicing more, you might just be getting worse at the game.
In fact, regular practice, if it is wrong, can make you worse at golf than better. That is why, the fact that practicing makes you better at golf is completely false.
15. Golf Equipment Does Not Matter
Golfers seem to have this perception that people who are good at golf can play great no matter what equipment they use. If they find themselves struggling with the game, instead of blaming the equipment they might be using, they blame themselves.
There is some truth to this idea that your equipment may not matter. But the truth is what equipment you use for every phase of the game does, in fact, matter.
Although your equipment may not make any significant changes to your performance, it can make it a lot easier for you based on the phase of the game you are at.
The more you learn about playing golf, the more you will understand that there is some particular equipment that better suit particular phases in the game.
Getting the right golf clubs for certain parts of the game will help you improve much faster. However, the fact that equipment doesn’t matter is false.
16. A Professional Golfer’s Life Is A Dream
Many golfers wish to play golf for a living. This stems from the belief that golfers live a luxurious life. Golfers are naturally deemed to be rich due to the game itself being a bit expensive. So, being a professional in it must bring a lot more luxury, right? Wrong.
Although most professional golfers can avail opportunities that other golfers cannot, their lives are not as easy as one might think. The more the pro golfers are opening up to the media, the more we are starting to learn that even the pros face some of the struggles that the others.
If an average golfer could spend one week in the shoes of a professional golfer, he or she would be able to understand the tough side of that life. Pro golfers spend a lot of time disappointed and longing to have it better. Therefore, there may not be any big reason to feel envious of a professional golfer.
17. The Player Must Always Play From The Same Tees
This is another fact believed by many golfers. According to the rules of golf, you are allowed to play the back tees on the front nine as well as the front tees on the back nine.
But since you can play the same golf course repeatedly, you probably shouldn’t play the same tees on the same golf course each time.
Switching it up now and then is always a good choice. By doing so, a golfer can work on completely different areas of the game.
This will allow the golfer to get more out of the golf course than they set out to. In addition, your game can improve a lot from making this tiny adjustment. This fact about tees is hence false.
18. The Player Must Finish With Their Hands High
Golfers believe that finishing a swing with your hands high is a traditional pose since a lot of professionals do it. You could have our hands held up high to celebrate a great swing but it is not advisable.
Research has shown that this kind of posture can induce a reverse C-back position, which can cause chronic back pain to the players doing it.
Besides, such a position puts a lot of weight on the player’s right foot. This can lead to weaker shots and poor distance. Due to this reason, it is recommended that players should try to maintain a flatter position.
In that way, the golfer can build a stable back posture which he can find to be more convenient. Moreover, a flatter finish allows for a better swing.
19. A Golfer Playing From Off Of The Green Always Hits First
Golfers sometimes believe that no matter how far your playing partner on the green is, if you’re the one playing off of the greens, you have to hit first. USGA Rules disagree with this perception.
According to the rules, the golfer who is the farthest away from the hole has to play first. Whether the player is on the putting surface or not, that does not matter.
20. Golf Is Easier Than Other Sports
Golf might seem very easy because it’s just walking around a park and hitting balls. It’s true that as a recreational activity, you can play golf easily and have fun at it too. But some golfers can hit shots sometimes that may seem just about impossible.
They’re the ones who can take the game of golf to such heights that average players can’t even imagine.
Only a tiny percentage of golfers can pull off such shots and play well. Apparently, as a golfer, you can play golf very conveniently. But to be good at it, you would have to have much, much better skills.
Our Final Thoughts
If anything at all, this list would tell you that you should probably question what might be fallacies that are being fed to you from time to time.
And so, these false facts should clarify some of your doubts and provide a better understanding of the game of golf. In turn, these will help you to avoid reality checks on such myths and simply play the game easier and more worry-free.