Dreaded fat shots are some of the most frustrating shots in golf.
Sometimes you will hit a great drive setting yourself up for an easy 100-yard shot into the pin. In your mind, this ball is going to land about ten feet from the hole setting you up for an easy birdie.
However, if you hit the ball fat, chances are your shot ends up about fifteen yards ahead of you.
Hitting fat shots can be stopped. A few tweaks to ball position, address position, and even spine angle can have you hitting the ball clean and crisp once again. Here are my 5 best tips to finally stop hitting the ball fat.
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What Causes a Fat Shot in Golf?
A fat shot is caused by taking a divot behind the ball as opposed to in front of the ball. This can happen for various reasons, including improper weight transfer, too much head movement, and even the wrong mental picture of what it takes to hit a golf ball up in the air.
Hitting fat shots is a very common mistake in the game of golf. Many players would rather hit the ball thin than fat.
How Does This Compare to Hitting a Thin Shot?
When you hit a fat shot, the golf club hits behind the ball before it makes contact with the ball. Hitting a thin shot means you strike the golf ball only, or even partially up towards the middle of the ball. Fat shots are often hit as the club is still moving downward, and thin shots are hit as the club moves up.
5 Tips to Stop Hitting Your Golf Balls Fat
If you have a tendency to hit the ball fat, here are some things you can do to prevent that from happening. The common causes of hitting the ball fat can usually be fixed with a few sessions at the range.
Keep Your Head Stationary
One of the most common causes for hitting behind the ball is that your head moves up and down or side to side in your golf swing. If you look at videos of great players, you can see that there is, in fact, a bit of head movement.
However, most of the time, the head stays level, and it can return to the same exact position when it’s time to strike the ball. For many players, this head movement becomes a significant issue. As they turn back, the head dips down, and then it needs to move up at impact.
As you might have guessed, this movement up never happens. Therefore the club strikes into the ground too far.
If you can learn to keep your head stationary and focus on it, staying right over the golf ball, you will be less likely to hit the chunk.
Check Ball Position
Ball position is so often overlooked by amateur golfers. It’s kind of boring to work on ball position in your golf swing; we get that. However, it’s incredible how one tiny golf ball positioning can make or break your ability to have the clubhead strike in the proper position.
Ball position that is pushed too far forward towards the left foot (for right-handed players) can become a problem. Instead, it makes sense to have the ball just a bit closer to the center.
As we talked about, a fat shot can come from hitting the ground before the ball, and if the ball is too far up in the stance, you will strike grass first. Use a series of alignment sticks to help you
map out the proper feet position and ball position.
Move Weight Towards Left Foot
The goal of every golf swing is to finish with your weight forward on your left foot, standing square to the target with a full rotation. However, most players get stuck on their back leg. This leaves them feeling like they can’t get full distance, and it often results in hitting fat shots.
Sometimes golfers get lazy and have a bad swing habit that keeps their weight back. Others have a tendency to overswing, and it becomes too much effort to get the weight forward.
One of my best tips here is to start with a little bit of weight on the left foot. Don’t load up so that 90% of the weight is on the right foot at setup. Take a few swings like this and see if you can feel that weight making its way to the left side a little easier.
Play with this balance and transfer until you can find a happy medium that allows for a cleaner and crisper transfer of weight.
Mental Perception Changes
Are you one of the golfers that believe you need to lift the ball up in the air? If you are, you need to get that thought out of your mind. One of the reasons golfers hit a fat shot is because they think they need to lift the shot up in the air with their hands.
Don’t do this!
If you hit the golf ball at the bottom of the swing arc and take a divot directly after the ball, the launch, ball flight, and distance will be perfect. Start to get a mental picture in your head of what the proper impact position looks like.
Golf clubs and golf balls are designed in such a way that you can quickly get the ball up in the air by striking down and through it. Don’t overcomplicate the process by trying to lift the ball yourself.
This concept is really easy to learn when you practice chipping. Start taking some more compact chipping type golf swings and notice how much easier it is to hit a clean and crisp golf shot if you can keep your hands forward as opposed to flipping them to get the ball up in the air.
Narrow Stance with Room to Swing
We talked about ball position, but there are some things about the stance and setup that are also important for golfers to understand and implement. Hitting fat shots is not always caused by the swing. Sometimes the way you address the ball has you set up for hitting a fat shot.
The first step here is to take a narrow stance. If your stance is really wide, you may have a tough time transferring the weight. There are not too many downsides to a more narrow stance as long as you have some balance and stability.
In fact, many golfers that are struggling with their swing will take a narrow stance to see if they can control things and get it back to the standard position.
Next, make sure that you have enough room to swing the club. If you stand too close to the golf ball, you will hit behind it. As your hands come through the impact position, they get too close to your leg, and it causes you to hit behind the ball.
Play around with different distances to the golf ball. The longer the club, the further you will stand from the ball. In addition, make sure that you can fully transfer your weight and get to the forward position with all of your weight on the left side.