Most golfers want one thing above all else – more consistency. Sure, lower scores would be nice but most players want fewer roller coaster rounds.
Today we’ll help you identify why you might have an inconsistent golf swing. Plus, other ways to shoot lower scores and have more consistent scoring to reach your golf goals.
Inconsistent Swing – How to Fix It Fast
To score better, you need to develop a consistent swing… even if it’s not “perfect.” You need one that is reliable more than anything else.
Also, it’s important to remember that for as long as you play this great game, your swing is a work in progress. Even the best golfers in the world are constantly working on their swing.
- An inconsistent swing (and/or setup position) can wreak havoc on your scoring potential.
- Playing the right golf clubs is key to having the same swing every shot and hitting more good shots.
- To master your golf game, you need to remember that setup is everything. Most issues at impact or the downswing are caused by setup or takeaway issues.
- Fix these issues to develop a more consistent swing.
Keep reading to learn the most common causes of inconsistent performance on the golf course.
Clubs That Aren’t Right For Your Game
Before getting into swing specific issues, let’s first discuss equipment. If you’re playing the wrong equipment, it’s going to make the game significantly harder.
For example, if you’re a 30 handicap golfer but trying to play steel shafts and long irons in your set, it’s not a great idea. Or, if you’re a lower handicap golfer but using regular flex graphite shafts, it’s going to hurt your game.
The higher your handicap, the more you need bigger, more forgiving clubheads. The slower you swing, the more flex you need with your shafts.
Don’t forget that playing the right golf ball is also an important part of playing consistent golf. Learn more about a golf ball fitting here.
Neglecting a Pre-Shot Routine
Another aspect that might lead to an inconsistent swing happens before you ever touch the club… a pre-shot routine. After playing this game for more than two decades, I can only find one that all good players (amateurs and professionals) have in common – a pre-shot process.
A pre-shot routine makes it easy to:
- Pick targets.
- Choose the right club.
- Create a tee box and approach shot strategy.
- Get mental clarity and stop thinking overly technical.
- Focus your mind on the ideal shot shape and find where you need to avoid (bunkers, water, OB, etc.)
Yet, most everyday golfers have no routine and wonder why they’re so inconsistent. Lacking a routine can increase your mental activity, which makes it harder to swing your normal swing like you do on the range.
This is why so many golfers are great on the driving range but can’t take their swing to the course. It’s not a mechanical breakdown, it’s a mental breakdown a lot of hte times.
Which is why it’s vital to create a consistent routine in practice, so your swing can translate to the golf course. Also, make sure to read our guide to achieving the right mental attitude in golf.
Changing Your Setup (Stop Aiming Right)
Now that we have the equipment and routine part out of the way, let’s focus on the setup. Similar to equipment, if your setup is wrong, making a consistent swing is nearly impossible.
For example, if you’re hitting a driver, but your setup leads to a ball position in the middle of your stance you’re going to hit a pop-up shot. Or, if you’re constantly thinning irons, it might be from a ball position that is too far forward in your stance.
Another common issue that plagues a ton of amateur golfers is accidentally aiming right of the target. The only problem is that your mind realizes you are aimed right and will make corrections during your swing to fix it.
In this case, it’ll make you get steep and swing over the top to get the ball back toward the original target. Which can also lead to a pull slice, a shot that so many golfers know all too well.
These are just a few examples of why getting the proper setup to the ball is so important. Read these articles below to master the most important part of your address position.
- Golf Ball Position
- How to Aim in Golf
- Side Bend in Golf Swing
- Golf Grip 101 (too many golfers have a weak grip that leads to a nasty slice)
Check Your Clubface
Another contributing factor to higher scores and inconsistent swings is not understanding the clubface throughout the swing. If you need a quick rehash of ball flight laws, here you go – the clubface is more important than your swing path.
The face of the golf club plays a much bigger role in determining how the ball reacts in distance, direction, and trajectory.
Start by addressing your club face is square at address. You can use a golf magnetic club to first make sure the face is starting off square.
If you’re spraying the golf ball left and right, you’ll also want to check the club at impact. Do this with a can of Strike Spray to learn if you’re hitting it on the toe or heel so you can make corrections.
Tempo is another key to playing consistent golf and hitting the ball like you want. If you think about every good shot you hit, chances are your tempo was one of the keys to solid contact.
With each practice swing, try to imagine the perfect tempo. To me, this is one of the best swing thoughts to have on every shot – “smooth tempo.”
If you need a quick refresher and didn’t read our guide on tempo, you want a 3:1 tempo. On every tee shot and approach shot, this timing will lead to better shots. If your swing is off, your tempo might be too fast or too slow and throwing off the timing of your swing.
While long game tempo is important, don’t forget about short game tempo either. Since shorter shots don’t require as much power, they actually require a different tempo – 2:1. Speeding up your tempo can play a pivotal role in getting more spin, better putts, and more consistent strikes.
To learn more about tempo, make sure to read our guide about Tour Tempo now.
Not Addressing Weaker Parts of Your Game
Golf has a way of always exposing our weaknesses… especially under pressure.
This is why it’s crucial to work on your weaker parts in practice. This might be your ball striking, short game, or putting. Otherwise, it’ll likely come out during the round when you least expect it.
Playing Your Golf Swing vs. Playing Golf Course
One of the biggest causes for inconsistent golf is getting overly technical on the course. To play your best, you need to minimize swing thoughts and stop thinking about mechanics.
Instead, focus on playing golf… not playing your golf swing.
The driving range in practice sessions is the time to work on wrist movements, lower body moves, complete rotation, or proper upper body turn.
Pick your target, take a practice swing, and focus on your target above all else.
Letting Your Mental Game Sabotage Your Round
No matter how good you get, a bad shot can always happen (just ask Ian Poulter who is the king of shanks… despite being a pro golfer). You can take the best practice swings in the world, but the wrong swing thought or setup can lead to some bad shots.
It’s important to have the right mindset and understand that bad shots happen and you must accept it. Too many golfers let a bad swing or a bad first hole ruin their entire round. When in reality, it’s just one golf shot!
FAQs About Playing Inconsistent Golf
Do you have more questions about playing golf a little less consistent than you’d like? If so, keep reading through the most common questions and answers now.
How can I improve my inconsistent golf swing?
The biggest thing to consider is your setup position; this includes grip, ball position, proper posture, alignment, and takeaway. The more consistent you can set up to the golf ball, the more consistent you can strike it.
If you don’t want to hire a golf coach, start by recording your golf swing. Do this from a down the line and face on angle – use the slow motion feature on your phone too so you can properly analyze your swing.
Try to address the biggest issue first and see how it changes your swing. If you get overly confused or feel like you could make things worse, it might be time to hire a golf professional.
How do I become more consistent at golf?
This is a common goal that so many golfers can relate to. To help you, make sure to check out our guide for consistent golf here.
Why is my iron striking so inconsistent every time I hit the golf ball?
If your swing feels good, but iron shots aren’t reflecting it, chances are it’s a setup issue. Start by first addressing your ball position.
If you’re hitting shots thin, it’s because you’re not making a downward strike on the ball. This can happen from a ball position that is too far forward in your stance. Move it a ball or two back (more in the middle of your stance) and it should instantly change your arc.
If you’re hitting shots fat, it’s because you’re getting too steep on the downswing. This can happen when the golf ball is too far back in your stance. Move it more forward or in the center to see how this impacts your contact.
What to do when golf swing falls apart?
When your swing feels like it’s disappeared, the first thing is to not beat yourself up and make it worse. There are a lot of ups and downs in this game… especially when you’re trying to get to the next level (breaking 90, 80, etc.). It’s important to understand that everyone and I mean everyone (yes, even Tiger Woods) has gone through slumps.
Once you have the right mindset and understand that it’s part of golf, record your swing. Try to compare it to past good swings you’ve made and see if something changed like alignment, ball position or golf grip. Then use some of your favorite drills or training aids to correct the issue.
If you still can’t figure it out, it might be a good idea to find some golf instruction to guide you back to the right path.
How do I fix my ball flight?
Ball flight is an important aspect of any golf game, as it can impact distance and accuracy. One of the biggest factors when fixing ball flight isn’t so much swing changes to get the club head in a better spot. Instead, it’s about playing the right shafts for your swing.
For example, if you play a shaft that has too much flex, it’ll lead to a ballooned ball flight. The exact opposite is true with a shaft that is too stiff, as it’ll lead to a lower ball flight.
Check out our guides below to learn more about the role shafts play in hitting a great shot more consistently.
Anytime my swing is feeling inconsistent, I always record my swing. If you record regularly, you’ll begin to know your swing and fix your tendencies before they lead to a golf slump.
A lot of golfers look at grip and alignment, but don’t forget about stance too (open stance vs. closed stance). Making sure your feet are the proper width apart and aimed properly are big components to hit good shots.
Final Thoughts to Improve Your Golf Swing
Poor impact and incorrect turf interaction are oftentimes issues at setup. To hit the ball the same way and improve club face interaction, spend more on your setup. If you read golf books, you’ll find this is something that every teacher stresses.
Spend a lot of practice time working on the basics to develop more consistent habits and less time on extra variables. Paired with a good mental game and one swing thought, you should step up to the first tee and every shot with a lot more confidence than most golfers. And ultimately, this will lead to more consistent golf rounds which is what we are all looking for.