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STOP your duff golf shots. Duffing kills your scorecard.

Updated on February 16, 2013
Don't spoil your golf walk with duff shots.
Don't spoil your golf walk with duff shots. | Source

Next to a shank, the Duff shot is the most soul destroying golf shot you can make.

You won't find the word 'Duff' in many golf books.

It's not a popular word, nor is it a popular thought. However, in the golfer's real world, they exist.

Duff shots can happen to anyone.

Every golfer has them, yes even the big boys on Tour have them. Thank goodness for TV coverage staying only on the good shots. Duff shots are not glamorous and they don't sell golf gear. So while the pros have them and quite a few, you seldom get to see the professional duff shot.

Most duff shots are avoidable, as you will see shortly.

Can you expect to have duff shots?

Yes, you are likely to have duff shots in your game in the future.

A minor lapse in concentration and bingo, you got a duff shot.

Just like the little hiccups in life, they are the little hiccups of golf. They are a part of playing golf. Treat them as such.

You just need to reduce the number of duffs you have.

Winning golf is about making good decisions and the fewest mistakes.

What's a Duff Shot?

If you don't know, perhaps you should leave this page immediately. If you are not acquainted with the Duff, good, stay that way.

I suspect there isn't a golfer past or present who hasn't duffed a shot.

In general, it's a shot that you have hit the ground before hitting the ball, then hit the ball above its equatorial line, topped it. The ball might run along the ground instead of flying like you intended. You may have torn up some turf before you hit the ball.

The Duff is just a shot where you didn't make a good contact, club-head to ball, and the ball didn't travel as you had expected or hoped.

Stop The Duff Before It Happens.

Yes, you can prevent most of them from happening. Once in a while one will slip through, when it does, use it as a reminder to give every golf shot your full attention, from planning at home, to on-course assessment. Totally focus on making each swing the best you ever have made or will make. Every time!

That sums it up. Still I'm sure you want a bit more explanation.

Here are some reasons you have duff shots and the cure.

Most duffs and other golf mistakes are caused by inattention.

You are thinking about something else, possibly not even golf. Perhaps the conversation you've just been having with your fellow competitor. (An old matchplay tactic; leave your opposition with a question, just before it was their turn to hit.) Lack of attention, lack of focus will kill your game, golf swing, golf shot, golf score in an instant. When you are setting up to the ball, FOCUS ON YOUR TARGET. Focus on your target even more than on your ball. Nature provides you with some wonderful sub-conscious tools, let them work for you.


Lack of good decision making plays a big part in this too.

Like trying to hit the skin off the ball. That is so dumb.

Choose a realistic target, select enough club and hit your ball to the target.

Leave your ego at home!


Loss of balance, As you set-up to the ball, take mini marching steps, on the spot. What happens is that if you are focussed on your target, these little steps will align your body to the target line and get you into a balanced position. Keep these little step going right up until you are ready to swing.

Take a practice swing, if you feel any loss of balance step away from your ball and do five blind swings.This will reset your tempo.

Oh stepping away is soooo embarrassing yeah.

Actually no, by comparison, the duff shot is.

Be prepared to step away from your shot and start your routine again. You should be going through your routine, while others are having their shots. If you have the honor, it probably isn't a problem anyway, you're possibly in a good golfing groove.


No practice swing. A proper committed and focused practice swing should help get rid of any unnecessary bends you have from shoulder to club-head.

A fluffy practice swing will do nothing for your or your game, give it your best effort.

Centrifugal force will pull the bends out straight making the distance, shoulder to club-head, longer. That extra length is going to hit the ground and then bounce up to the ball = Duff.

Make a proper committed and focused practice swing for 'every' shot.

Remember to bend your knees a little (flex) and bend at the hips not your waist.


Lifting your head during the swing.

You will hit the ground before you hit the ball. From the 1 inch putt to the mighty Driver. Won't matter which club, it's a duff happening.

How do you stop it?


But you have always been told - watch the ball.

Yes, that's good advice most of the time, but not this time.


Because your brain knows the golf ball is going to take off at a zillion miles an hour, it knows that's too quick to 'watch the ball', so it simply lifts your head to help your eyes keep up. You have shifted the center of your swing = DUFF!!!

Here's a little trick that keeps everything in place.

Look for a little something lying under the back of the resting golf ball. Perhaps a small piece of grass, whatever it is, look at that, not the ball. That something you will be looking at, must be under the back of the ball, That's where the golf club's leading edge goes when you hit a good shot. It works well with a tee too.

What happens is your brain knows the piece of grass or whatever isn't going anywhere, so there is no need to turn the head. Your head will now turn at the right time, when the full swing pulls your body nicely around. You will end up looking right down the path of the flying ball. You will see the ball.

Look at and watch that little something under the back of the resting golf ball.

Let's sum it all up.

The duff shot will happen, almost certainly when you don't expect it. Don't let it ruin your game, get over it, instantly. It is just a little hiccup that has screamed at you:


Phew, sorry for shouting.

Under Cover Agent says;' Duff shots will happen, but most are preventable.'

For on-course or during practice golf swing maintenance, check this out.

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Every golfer has a special something they do to prevent golf's duff shot popping up in their game. What's yours?

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    • Under cover agent profile imageAUTHOR

      Under cover agent 

      5 years ago from New Zealand

      I guess whatever gets you focusing and clearing clutter will help. We each should arrive with our own thing, if we think. It's the thinking which make winners. I like your smile for positive energy, reckon that might work in life as well as golf. I reckon I might just give it a go. Thanks.

    • chefmancave profile image

      Robert Loescher 

      5 years ago from Michigan

      UCAgent...My trick is actually very effective. Not quite sure why, but if I am playing with a "duffer" or I am having one of those "duffing" kind of days, I tell people to ... are you ready for this? ... SMILE AT THE BALL. Somehow the positive energy of your smile seems to help get your focus back. It is not 100% effective but it does help to release a lot of the negative thoughts rolling around in the head.


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