Stop Hitting Behind the Ball with These Proven Golf Swing Fixes

Struggling with hitting behind the golf ball can be a real pain, can’t it? You’ve lined up your shot, envisioned the perfect swing, and then… thud. Your club strikes the earth before the ball, leaving you with a divot the size of a small crater and a ball that’s barely budged.

It’s a common issue, but don’t worry—you’re not alone. Whether you’re a weekend warrior or a seasoned pro, everyone has those days where the ball just won’t cooperate. But what if you could turn things around?

Understanding the Problem

Hitting behind the golf ball, also known as hitting it “fat,” can be a frustrating obstacle in your way to shooting lower scores. It’s not just a hiccup for weekend warriors; even players with low handicaps face this challenge on occasion.

The cause of this mishit is typically steep. You’re either coming down too hard on the ball or your timing is off. When your clubhead reaches the ground before the ball, you lose the clean contact that’s essential for distance and accuracy. It’s akin to stubbing your toe – instead of striding forward, you stumble.

Vision this: Your golf swing is a blend of art and mechanics. When these elements are not in harmony, issues like hitting behind the ball emerge. Mastering the intricate dance of your body, arms, and club is key, but that’s easier said than done. Here’s what could be throwing you off:

  • Body Movement: If your weight isn’t transferring correctly through the swing, the tendency to hit fat shots increases. Make sure you’re moving your weight from your back foot to your front foot.
  • Swing Path and Angle: A steep swing often leads to trouble. If you’re chopping down on the ball rather than sweeping through it, you might need to flatten your swing path.
  • Early Release: Casting or releasing the club too early robs you of control and power. This often leads to the clubhead reaching the bottom of its arc prematurely.

Notice when the mishits occur. Is it when you’re under pressure? Are you choosing the right club for the shot? These factors all play a role in the execution of your swing. To correct the problem, you’ll need to evaluate your swing mechanics, practice consistently, and maybe even seek professional advice.

Remember, correcting the issue won’t happen overnight. It’s a process that will require patience and a keen attention to the specifics of your swing. With dedication and the right adjustments, you’ll be sweeping the ball cleanly off the turf in no time.

Analyzing Your Swing

Golf is a game of precision and often, the smallest adjustments can make a huge impact on your overall score. When you’re constantly hitting behind the golf ball, it’s crucial to analyze your swing to identify where you can make changes. You need to start by taking a closer look at your swing path. Are you coming in too steep on your downswing? A steep angle of attack can cause the club to dig into the ground before the ball, leading to those dreaded fat shots.

One way to get to the root of the problem is by recording your swing. Use your smartphone or a camera to capture your swing from different angles. Pay particular attention to the side view where you can clearly see the path and angle of your club as it moves through the impact zone. Watching your swing in slow motion can highlight the subtle nuances you might miss in real time.

Checking your stance is next. Are your feet, hips, and shoulders properly aligned? Misalignment can throw off your swing plane and lead to inconsistent ball striking. Also, check your balance throughout the swing. Poor balance can force your body to compensate and can cause you to hit behind the ball. Striking a balance, quite literally, is key to ensuring solid shots.

Your grip on the club also plays a significant role. It shouldn’t be too tight or too loose. A death grip on the club can lead to tension in the arms and upper body, which affects the fluidity of your swing. On the flip side, too loose a grip can cause a lack of control and a late release, both common culprits of fat shots.

Finally, consider scheduling a session with a professional coach. They can provide valuable input and may spot issues that you’re overlooking. Remember, improvements often come gradually. Keep practicing with purpose, focusing on the components of your swing that need tweaking. With time and dedication, you’ll see the fruits of your labor reflect on your scorecard.

Adjusting Your Stance

When you’re consistently hitting behind the golf ball, a smart move is to re-evaluate your stance. Your stance is foundational in golf; it’s akin to a building’s base. If the base is flawed, the entire structure wobbles. Similarly, if your stance is off, your entire swing can be thrown into disarray.

Start with the basics: your feet should be about shoulder-width apart for most standard shots. For shorter irons, you might narrow the stance slightly, while for longer clubs, a bit wider stance is appropriate. Pay attention to the alignment as well; your feet, hips, and shoulders should be parallel to the target line.

Balance is crucial as it affects the consistency of your strike. Too much weight on your heels or toes can cause instability, while a centered balance promotes a solid swing. Imagine a straight line running through your body, from the top of your head, through your shoulders and hips, right down to the balls of your feet. Maintaining even distribution of weight on both feet is key, with a slight favoring towards the insides of your feet to ensure stability.

Flexibility in your knees is another element that can’t be overlooked. A gentle flex helps absorb the motion of the swing. Picture yourself as an athlete ready to move in any direction; that’s the kind of dynamic posture you’re aiming for.

Finally, tilt your spine away from the target slightly. This ensures your shoulders are correctly aligned and your swing arc is properly calibrated. It’s the kind of minor adjustment that can have a major impact on where your club strikes the ground.

Remember, like any change, adjustments to your stance require you to hit a significant number of practice balls. It’s not just about knowing what to adjust, but also about ingraining those changes until they become second nature. Seek out a mirror or a shadow to observe your stance. Sometimes what you feel isn’t what’s actually happening. Additionally, practice these adjustments on different terrains. The driving range is a controlled environment, but the course will offer uphill, downhill, and sidehill lies. Adapting your stance to cope with these variations is an integral part of becoming a better golfer.

Focusing on Impact

Once you’ve got your stance dialed in, it’s time to zone in on the moment of truth. Making proper contact with the golf ball is crucial to avoiding those frustrating fat shots. So what should you be focusing on at impact?

First, think about your hands. They’ve gotta be leading the clubhead as you make contact with the ball. This is what the pros call a “forward shaft lean,” and it’s key to hitting crisp, clean shots.

How about where the ball is? It should be just about in line with the inside of your lead foot for most clubs. Got a wedge in hand? Move it back a smidge. Big stick, like a driver? Move it up some. That ensures you’re striking the ball at the optimal point in your swing arc.

Here’s some quick advice for checking if you’re getting it right:

  • Use Impact Tape: This little aid sticks to your clubface and shows where you’re making contact. If you’re hitting it on the toe or heel instead of the sweet spot, you’ll see it clear as day and can adjust accordingly.
  • Drill With Tees: Stick a few tees in the ground just outside the ball’s line and focus on avoiding them during your swing. It’ll sharpen your precision and make sure you’re hitting the ball and not the ground.

Lastly, don’t get flustered. Hitting behind the ball is something every golfer works to conquer. With your newfound focus on impact, practice will make perfect. Stay patient and keep polishing your swing. Every session should bring you closer to those pure, ball-first contacts that send the ball flying towards the flagstick with confidence.

Practicing Drills

Getting your swing right can feel like a constant battle, but it’s one you can win with the right drills. One effective method is to work on the Divot Drill. Place a line of tees on the ground just in front of where your ball would be. Focus on hitting the ground where the tees are, encouraging a downward strike and ensuring you’re making contact with the ground ahead of the ball, not behind it.

Another drill you can introduce into your routine is the Coin Drill. Place a coin about one inch in front of the ball. Practice your swings aiming to clip the coin on your follow-through. This conditions you to reach a bit further with your club, avoiding hitting too soon and making you more likely to strike the ball first.

Don’t overlook the Alignment Stick Drill. Line up an alignment stick where your ball would be and practice your swing striking the ground along the line. This visual cue can dramatically improve where you’re hitting the ground in relation to the ball, ensuring you’re connecting on the downswing.

Here’s a tip: During practice, work on these drills without a ball first. This takes the pressure off and lets you focus purely on the movement. When you’re comfortable, introduce the ball and try to replicate that same precision.

Remember, drills aren’t just about doing something over and over. They’re about creating muscle memory and building confidence. It’s key that you practice these drills slowly at first. Get the technique down, and then gradually increase your swing speed as you grow more comfortable with the motion. Here’s a breakdown of the drills you can practice:

  • Divot Drill: Aim to create a divot where the tees are placed.
  • Coin Drill: Focus on clipping the coin past the ball on your follow-through.
  • Alignment Stick Drill: Use the stick as a guide to ensure correct contact point.

And lastly, mix it up. Spend time on each drill, but keep your practice sessions varied to cover all aspects of your swing. You’ll start to see improvement in your ability to avoid hitting behind the ball, bringing you one step closer to shooting those lower scores that you’re after.


You’ve got the tools and techniques to tackle that pesky problem of hitting behind the golf ball. Remember, practice makes perfect. Start slow, focus on your form, and gradually ramp up the speed. Keep those practice sessions diverse and engaging. With time and dedication, you’ll see the improvement on the course. Now go out there and swing with confidence!

Scroll to Top