How To Stop Striking Your Irons Heavy

PGA pro Dan Grieve explains how to improve the quality of strike with your irons

PGA pro Dan Grieve hitting an iron shot on the 18th hole at Lumine Golf Resort
(Image credit: Howard Boylan)

If you struggle with hitting fat golf shots don't despair, as it's something most golfers will have experienced at one time or another. That's why we've enlisted the help of PGA pro Dan Grieve, who runs through the causes and cures of this demoralising shot in the video and article below.

The fat shot is one of the most frustrating in golf. There are three main causes behind it, so let's look at them and three drills to rid this from your game once and for all.


The first and most common fault is swaying off the ball. That's when you move away from the target on the backswing, with your lower half not turning properly. The problem when you do this is that it makes it very hard to return to the golf ball with any sort of consistency.

There are some drills you can do to start to fix this issue. The first involves moving your right foot forward, as I demonstrate in the video above. Then, when you swing back, feel like you keep the pressure on the inside of your right foot rather than letting it move to the outside. Make a turn and you should feel a more stable swing. You can hit some shots doing this if you think it'll help but you don't have to - the main thing is honing the feel.

PGA pro Dan Grieve demonstrating a drill to help golfers stop swaying

Try this drill to stop swaying

(Image credit: Howard Boylan)

This is another great drill for swaying as it will help you get through the ball better. Put your ball on a tee and move it forward in your stance by four or five inches - so that it's roughly in line with the inside of your left heel. Having the ball further forward is going to encourage you to transfer your weight better onto the left side through impact.

Lack of wrist hinge

Another common cause of the fat strike is a lack of wrist hinge. In the backswing you want to see about 90 degrees of wrist hinge, creating an 'L' shape between the arms and club. That will allow you to maintain this angle in the downswing and make better contact more often.

Here's a simple drill to encourage this feeling. Take your normal stance and lift the club up so it's level with your hands and parallel to the ground and then manipulate it into the takeaway position. Check out the video at the top of this article to see how it's done.

You've now got a 90-degree wrist hinge and you can just rotate to the top of your backswing. Do it without a ball at first and then add a ball in and you should start to strike it better.

Dan Grieve
Top 50 Coach

Location: Woburn GC  

Dan is one of the leading coaches in the UK, a Fellow of the PGA and a short-game virtuoso. He has had considerable success with a collection of tour pros, helping them to Order of Merit titles and major victories, and his Short Game School is the most attended in the UK. His students, past and present, include Charley Hull, Georgia Hall, Inci Mehmet and Iona Stephen.

Most common problem:

Swing – over the top , help by getting the basics correct at address and making them aware how to get the club online coming down.

Short game – creating spin and feel around the greens, help by educating on what the short game actually is (weak on purpose) and understand bounce and how they can apply it to different lies/situations.

Greatest success story:

Helping Georgia Hall from World No. 450 to No. 6 and winning a Major, two Order of Merits and Solheim Cup appearances.

Greatest teacher:

Alex Hay was a great influence during my first few years at Woburn. In sport more generally Sir Clive Woodward has taught me how to deliver at the highest level.

Most common fault:

Flipped right hand (hands behind the ball). Understand a correct coil/load going back and how to sequence better coming down so the chest opens up and gives the arms space to deliver a stronger impact. Lots of body action drills to enhance the feel, with and without the ball.