The “fat shot” is something that every golfer hates. This is when the club touches the ground before coming into contact with the ball, often tearing up a bit of grass or turf coming up with the clubface.
This often results in a very unsatisfying impact (fat or thin) and poor distance.
It can be really frustrating when you have one of these shots, and many golfers get down on themselves afterwards. It’s easy to lose your head when you hit one a fat shot, but it’s important to remember that this sort of thing happens to everyone.
So instead of falling into a spiral and losing your confidence, follow our tips and focus on these techniques to cut fat shots out of your game entirely.
What Causes a Fat Shot
First, let’s just look at a few of the main causes of a fat shot. Like with any problem, if you know the cause, you can work to eliminate it. The first big cause is body weight. To hit a good shot with an iron, your weight needs to start off mostly on your back foot and then transfer to the front foot for the point of impact.
If your weight is too far back as you swing, you’re much more likely to hit a fat shot. Your shots will also be lacking power if you fail to properly transfer your weight forwards during your swing, so it’s not a good idea in general.
Another common cause of fat shots is releasing too early, which is when your swing might be fine in general, but you’re releasing or flicking your wrist too soon, meaning that the club bottoms out a little early and strikes the ground in front of the ball, rather than the ball itself.
The third and final common cause of these kinds of shots is when your swing is coming too far inside, meaning that it reaches the bottom of its arc too soon, connecting with the ground rather than the ball. Remember that your swing should be reaching its lowest point as you connect with the ball, never before.
How to Eliminate Fat Shots
So, when we look at the causes, it’s easy to see that the way to eliminate fat shots is to improve your swing, focus on your body weight, and start hitting the ball more cleanly and evenly at the base of your swing’s arc.
Leaning Back, Weight on Back Foot
A common mistake many golfers make when using a wedge is to assume that they need to lean back while swinging in order to get as much lift on the ball on possible; many amateurs try to ‘scoop’ the ball up into the air, rather than hitting it normally.
This is how fat shots happen, as the body weight is too far back and the swing is adjusted in such a way that player is trying to hit the ball upwards, rather than forwards.
The truth is that this sort of technique won’t help you at all. In fact, it will just lead to more fat shots and mishits. It might be tempting but avoid leaning back and feeling like you need to chip the ball upwards.
The whole point of wedges is that they’re designed to hit the ball upwards on their own; you don’t need to add your own upwards motion to achieve loft. It sounds cliché, but you really should be letting the club do most of the work for you.
Find that Sweet Spot
So that’s the first step. Next, you want to try and focus on hitting the ball in the sweetest possible spot. The idea here is to stand in such a way that the ball is right in the middle of your feet.
A little to the left or a little to the right can reduce your accuracy, so try to ensure that your feet are positioned perfectly every time.
Having the right stance is vital to any good golf swing, so don’t skip this step. Next, when you actually swing the club, avoid leaning or flicking it backwards before impact.
Again, the wedge is designed to achieve loft without needing to be maneuvered in any special way, so you should focus on swinging smoothly and cleanly, without any sudden or strange movements.
A big part of perfecting your golf swing is practice and repetition to get the right feel. Instructors often encourage golfers to rehearse swings multiple times and perform ‘feel drills’ to work out the right way to swing the club to achieve a desired outcome.
Practice, Practice, Practice
So our final tip is to simply practice multiple times. Set up several balls and try to hit them all cleanly, avoiding leaning back or swinging too deeply to try and launch the ball into the air.
With time and repetition, you’ll quickly get a feel for how to strike the ball and you won’t need to worry about any more fat shots creeping into your game.