One of the more common questions I get asked here on the site is how to stop hitting fat shots. Hitting the ball fat or hitting behind the golf ball is a troublesome shot that all golfers can make from time to time. It’s obviously more common with the beginner golfer than the more experienced (who know potential issues and can correct them), but as a beginner golfer it’s hard to know where to start to begin to cure the problem.
In this quick lesson I’m going to outline the 3 main causes that lead to hitting fat golf shots, and a quick drill on how you can eliminate fat shots from your game.
Cause 1: Low Setup
Perhaps one of the more common causes of hitting the golf ball fat is starting the body too low on setup. This can happen if you don’t keep your left arm straight enough throughout the backswing. As you begin the downswing, the weight of the clubface will straighten out your arms. If you don’t compensate for this by raising your body on the downswing you’ll hit the ground behind the golf ball.
Cause 2: Knees too Bent
Bending your knees too much at setup, your body weight will rest on your heels and your upper body will be almost upright. If you swing whilst in this position your swing plane will be much lower and you’ll end up hitting the ground before the ball.
Cause 3: Bad Foot Position
Another really common cause of hitting behind the ball is an incorrect foot position at setup. If you start your swing with your right foot pointing outwards your weight will naturally shift to that side during the backswing. It’s then almost impossible to transfer your weight quickly enough to the left foot during the downswing.
A Quick Drill to Help Stop Hitting Fat Golf Shots
I was taught a great little tip to stop hitting fat golf shots when I was just starting out, and it’s still as useful as it was today. The next time you’re on the range take out a tee and place level with your golf ball but to the right of it about an inch or two. Hit your normal golf shot and then compare where the divot in the grass is to the golf tee. You’ll probably notice how far your club is hitting the ground before the ball.
Keep working through this drill but use this method. Concentrate on hitting down through the back of the golf ball (not too steeply). It helps to pick out a particular dimple on the back of the golf ball and aim to cut down through it. This particular tip helped me out a lot during my early days, and it’s something that I taught my students who also suffered from hitting the ball fat.
Have fun with this and don’t get frustrated if you continue hitting behind the golf ball, be patient and practice this drill and you will stop hitting fat shots as soon as you can say “where did the grass go”.