Picture this, your ultra-soft golf ball sitting effortlessly on the fine-textured deep green sod. Streaks of morning light suspended on the molded dimples of the ball. You are tempted to your highest core to take the perfect shot on the ball. You pick your best club and attempt for the strike, but you hit the ball fat! In this guide, we’ll teach you how to stop hitting the ball fat.
If you are always hitting all your shots fat, it can get very frustrating and worrisome. If that is the case, it is better to identify what is causing you to play such shots.
Some may argue and say that it depends on the type of club you are using, but most professionals believe it has a lot to do with factors concerning you actually, for instance, your posture.
This article will guide you towards getting a more solid impact on your shots. Let us take a closer look at how you can identify your mistakes, eliminate those fat shots and work on yourself to better your game.
What is a Fat Shot?
One of the worst shots in golf is a fat shot. A fat shot occurs when the golfer’s club finds the lowest point of the swing behind the golf ball and hits the ground way earlier before actually striking the ball, or in other words, when you hit the ground before hitting the ball.
Many golfers usually hit a high percentage of shots by hitting the ground first. Yes, it is very common. At the same time, on the course, it is quite a destructive shot because the ball generally does not go all that far.
If you hit the ball thin, which may be a little higher up the golf ball, it can go a similar sort of distance as a full shot. At the same time, when you hit the ball fat, you lose loads of distance. The ball only goes about 15 or 20 yards which itself is quite demoralizing to hammer down your confidence.
Types of Fat Shots
Fat shots can be of two kinds. They are very similar to each other, yet they vary in terms of the swing angle of the golfer. Let’s look into these fat shots and see how you can identify them.
Steep Fat Shot
A steep fat shot occurs when the position of your club is too steep, and your angle of approach is too sharp to the ground. When you hit a steep fat shot, you make your club dig in the ground way too deep and end up hitting fat. An easy way to identify a steep shot is when you have a “V” shape.
Shallow Fat Shot
This is when your club comes too shallow or very close to the ground, and that means it’s too far away from the ball. It is not an ideal combination. When you hit such shots, you will always notice that the club brushes against the sod hard and then hits the ball. Just like in a steep fat shot, you will have a “U” shape for a shallow fat shot.
Why Does a Fat Shot Occur
One of the biggest reasons for fat shots to occur is when you are unable to shift the weight of your body to the lead side; the lead side being your dominant side. What you want is a lateral movement of your lower body. You need this lateral movement towards the target.
Apart from that, there can be a host of other reasons as to why you may be hitting the ball fat. Here are some of the common possibilities.
Poor Body Weight Transfer
Always pay attention to your weight. As mentioned before, a lot depends on your weight. When golfers start their downswing, most of the times they don’t shift any weight towards the target. Instead, they stay in almost the same place.
During the downswing, if the weight is not balanced and transferred from your right to the left, the club will easily hit the ground before you realize while not even being remotely close of reaching the ball.
Another reason for your tending to hit too much ground is an indication that your swing plane is too steep. Your plane or angle that you should swing the golf club on varies individually based on factors such as height, length of the arm, distance, etc.
Likewise, if you swing the golf club onto upright of the plane, the club will go up too much and eventually hit too much of the ground. There’s a high chance of the club colliding heavily with the grass every time if your swing is too steep than usual.
Casting the golf club in the downswing is one of the most frustrating things you can do to entice your fat shots. Casting does not let you hit the ball solid but makes you throw away your wrist angles by reducing the overall angle between your forearms and your club. It lowers down the golfers’ speed and it is very weak.
Wrong Ball Position
Your ball positioning will determine the shot and the path. A wrong positioned ball will require twice the amount of strength for you to strike it with. Therefore, a very strong strikeforce will make your swing steep. It will force you to hit the turf hard behind the ball.
Similarly, if the ball is very near to your feet or too far away from you, it is either going to result in a fat shot or a steep path.
How to Eliminate Fat Shots
As complicated as it may be, by targeting the areas that you need improvements on and knowing a little bit on the basics, you can quite easily stop hitting fat shots soon enough.
It is always important to remember to make the bottom of your swing arc happen after the shot. That is pretty much the first step. Let us look into the following steps to help you get rid of the fat shots and strike the ball much better.
Check Your Ball Position
You need to ensure that the ball position is correct at the setup. This will vary depending on the club that you use as well as on the golf swing that you have. This is because it will be different for every golfer and every club. Not everyone uses the same club or has the same golf swing, and hence, this deviates from each.
You might want the golf club to sit pretty much in the middle of your heels. If you have your golf ball too far up in your stance, which means very close to your lead leg, you can hit the ground early very often. An early shot results in a hard one.
In addition, the ball is going to be positioned where your golf swing needs to be. It is not in the standard under left shoulder position or the middle of the stance, but it is where the lowest point of the swing arc is, and the ball should be just in front of that.
When you are hitting the golf ball, you need to be careful and make sure that you have got your weight forward, forward meaning your lead leg. Having the weights forwards and having a decent amount of rotation in the entire body, it allows the hands to get delivered ahead of the golf ball.
However, do not stay too much on your leg when you are swinging down. That’s because if you have a poor body weight distribution, it will cause the bottom of the swing guard to be too early.
Always keep an eye on your posture. It is vital to make sure your posture is straight and not leaning. This will allow your body to be in sync with your club by allowing you to be in full control of your swing.
If you let the weight of your body due to wrong posture sway away your swings, you are bound to hit that ground before the ball. Another important thing to notice is to try not tilting your shoulder too much. Therefore, when you turn, make sure to turn 90 degrees to your spine angle.
On the other hand, bending low will also ruin your posture. If you duck your head too low or if you lean back as you hit the ball, you might be drifting the club and your target line way apart. As a result, you will be catching the ground.
Expert golfers always have a decent amount of straightening of the legs through the impact area. You might want to bring variations between your straightened legs by tucking your knees just a tiny bit. This will not ruin your shot but will help you to raise your pelvis and open your chest wide up.
Consequently, the freer you feel, the easier it is for you to strike. Otherwise, there is a good chance of you missing out on your spot to mess up the shot.
Other Concerning Factors
Even if your club strikes the ball really well after following these guidelines, there are some other components which may not be in your favor. In that case, here are some easy solutions to help you to fix this.
This happens when the contact between your club and ball is too heavy by taking up too much depth of grass. With the following few steps, you can figure out which of these are the reason behind your heavy shots.
- Set up for your iron shot
- Allow yourself enough space
- Do not get too tight and close
- Stay tall
- Concentrate on the quality of the connection with the ball
- Let your arms hang naturally
- Do not stoop low
- Flex your knees but do not bend them
- Maintain your height as you hit the shot
Ball Positioning about the Body
Swing arc is an issue that can get affected easily with your follies. If you are planning on working on your swing arc, you should consider concentrating on your ball position. Wrong positioning of the ball will never allow you to work on your swing arc. Step out of your comfort zone and experiment instead.
- Position your golf ball just in front of the low point of your swing arc.
- Look for other ideal positions from where you can strike the ball beside the center and the left side of the body
Excessive Pressure in the Hands
Every golfer ever has made this mistake. Giving full grip pressure in their hands while holding the club can be extremely damaging. At the same time, it can cause you pain.
- Loosen your grip
- Apply minimum pressure
- Make sure the club does not move in your hands
- Avoid digging too deep
Releasing the Club
Notice when you are releasing your clubhead. Your timing will depend on whether or not would you be having a scooping movement from the ball.
- Remember not to release the clubhead early
- Avoid letting your low point to be very much to the right side of the ball
Some Tips to Get You Started
Starting on with some basics will hold your interest longer and give you space to brush up on your skills.
Make sure your grip is good. If your lead hand does not quite hold the golf club right, things will start getting problematic for you. Here are some ways to help you to start bottoming the clubhead.
- Grip the club with about 20% pressure (minimum pressure)
- Avoid the club moving in your hands
- Relax your hand with soft boom instead of trying to smash the ball
Tip: Pretend that the golf ball is an egg and you are trying your best not to want to pound down and crack it. This will allow you to soften up your hands.
If you have a tee peg, it will come to use. Take your tee peg and mark it a couple of inches away from the golf ball. This way when you hit down into the ball, you will look for the divot to start next to the ball and then carry on for a good couple of inches in front of the ball.
Keep Your Clubface Open
Your clubface is the overriding key that will stop everything else from sequencing. As you start your downswing, you must make sure that your clubface is in a wide open position.
Make Your Shaft Lean Forward
This might come to you as a surprise as these days most golfers usually have the shaft pointed almost in the middle of their body. You will notice very few of them have it lean forwards. However, if you notice carefully, you will see the most professional golf ball strikers have the shaft leaning forwards.
These exercises can help you to shift the body weight around quite nicely.
Backward and Forwards Exercise
- From the center, turn it back to the top of your backswing
- Stand with your front foot next to your trailing foot
- Keep both feet comfortably together behind the golf ball
- Drive it back down into the golf ball.
If it feels a little awkward to begin with, you can consider taking a relatively shorter club.
Practice getting the bottom of your club to interact with the ground at different levels. This gives you an idea to feel how you are landing the club about the ground.
Practice low point. On the flat surface of the grass, brush the ground in a certain spot with your club. Try to hit the ground in an exacting spot.
See how fast you can swing by glancing your clubhead with the top of a football or basketball (preferably any ball which is a foot above your feet) without making the ball move.
It is better if you use a wooden table for this or any table that is well balanced and grounded. Imagine the table is a golf ball and then strike it to see your swing.
By practicing these landing exercises, you will be able to check the different forms of pressure that you are producing at different levels and situations. You can also work on your hand movements (basically to loosen up those tight joints for a smooth swing) at different levels with this exercise.
Give Yourself Time
When a lump of turf gets in the way between the clubface and the ball, it can get messy, infuriating, and can also result in your ball covering a much shorter distance than expected.
At the same time, if you are hitting fat shots time, you should not be ashamed of yourself. It has happened to nearly everyone who has ever played the game, including many professional golfers. Don’t get so worked up over this because you will lose your confidence along the way.
Instead of jumping into conclusions, recognize your drawbacks behind your fat shots. Be consistent with your practice and work accordingly. Correcting these shots take time. Be patient with yourself and steady with your improvements. I hope you will stop hitting the ball fat in no time.