Hitting fat golf shots has to be one of the most infuriating things to happen on the course. Regardless of how forgiving your irons are, striking the ground before the ball is a problem that needs serious attention. In this article, we explore the causes of fat golf shots and offer some advice on how to improve your ball striking...
What are fat golf shots?
Imagine your club path from the top of the backswing to the finish position and it will resemble a circle. The bottom of the arc should come just after the ball (with your irons). If you are hitting fat golf shots, the lowest point of the arc will be before the ball causing the club to strike the ground first.
Your divot pattern
When you hit your irons, the divots should begin after the ball. To ensure the optimal iron strike, aim to contact the ball and then hit the ground after. If you can achieve this, you might start to see divot patterns like the one below forming when you practice at the driving range.
If you are struggling with fat golf shots, you need to check your address position. When hitting a mid-iron, the ball should be positioned slightly forward of middle in your stance, so that your sternum is over the ball, and your hands should also be fractionally ahead.
In your address you should also focus on weight distribution, ensuring you have a little more weight on your lead foot. This will also encourage that good angle of attack that you are hoping to create later in the swing.
Don't forget, if you are hitting fat golf shots, check the ball position isn't too far forward in your stance.
One of the main faults behind hitting fat golf shots is the way your weight moves during the swing. The fundamentals of weight transfer are that your weight should move towards your back foot in the backswing and then towards the target in the downswing.
For some golfers, there is a desire to lean back through impact to help the ball into the air. This might seem like the logical thing to do but will cause you to strike the ground before the ball. As long as you have enough speed in your swing, the loft of the club (and the backspin you create) will do the job for you.
Here’s a great drill to try… As you take the club back let your lead foot step towards your back foot. Then as you start the downswing, step back into your original address position and swing through. This forces you to use your weight correctly. This is also a great drill to try if you have a problem cutting across the ball.
Angle Of Attack
If you want to stop hitting fat golf shots you need to learn how to compress the golf ball through impact. With your irons, you want to have the feeling that you are hitting down and through the ball - this will help you find the ideal angle of attack. The top players in the world tend to hit down with a 7-iron by about 4˚.
A great drill to practice this is the tee peg drill...
Instead of thinking too technically about the angle of attack, try putting a tee in the ground a few centimetres in front of your ball. Lock your focus in on the tee - try to strike that and forget about the ball. You should soon start to develop a more downward angle of attack that delivers better contacts.
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In July 2023, Neil became just the 9th editor in Golf Monthly's 112-year history. Originally working with the best coaches in the UK to produce instruction content, he has also presented many Golf Monthly videos looking at all areas of the game from Tour player interviews to the rules of golf.
Throughout his time with the brand he has also covered equipment launches that date back well over a decade. He clearly remembers the launch of the Callaway and Nike square drivers as well as the white TaylorMade driver families, such as the RocketBallz! If you take a look at the Golf Monthly YouTube channel, you'll see his equipment videos dating back over a decade! He has also conducted 'What's In The Bag' interviews with many of the game's best players like Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm. Over the years, Neil has tested a vast array of products in each category and at drastically different price-points.
Neil is currently playing: Driver: TaylorMade Stealth Plus Fairway Wood: Titleist TSR2 Hybrid: Titleist TS3 Irons: PING Blueprint S (4&5), PING Blueprint T (6-PW) Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 50˚, 54˚, 60˚ Putter: Odyssey Triple Track Ten Ball: Titleist Pro V1X
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