One of the most frustrating shots for many golfers is hitting the ball fat. While not as common as the slice, it’s still just a demoralizing.
Hitting the ball fat means that your club is striking the ground before it hits the ball, in most instances causing your ball to land only a few yards in front of you. In addition, your body is often jarred from the impact of the club on the ground.
As with the mechanics of all golf swings, once you determine what you are doing wrong, it’s not too difficult to correct the problem.
When trying to identify why you are hitting the ball fat, you really need the help of someone else. If at all possible, get a golfing friend to watch you swing. Ask him or her to watch for the items listed below.
One of the most likely culprits causing you to hit the ball fat is that you’re dropping your rear shoulder. This is the shoulder farthest from the target (for right-handers, it’s the right shoulder, and for lefties, the left shoulder).
If your rear shoulder drops, your club will hit the ground before it should. The result is a poor shot. One of the major causes for this is trying to swing too hard with quite a bit of hip motion.
Here’s a simple exercise to try. First, take your club and get into a normal address. Bring your club up until it reaches the top of your normal back swing. Then stop. While holding your club up, move your hips toward the target – horizontally. You’ll see that your rear shoulder naturally drops.
Have your friend watch as you slowly do this exercise again. If they see that your shoulder drops, that may be the cause of your problem.
To fix this problem, you’ll need to learn to use your lower body and hips correctly. While you’re hips need to twist, you don’t want them to slide side-to-side. Think about beginning your down swing with your arms, and your hips should naturally follow.
Another technique you can use is to consciously keep your forward shoulder down. Do this a number of times as you practice your shots, and your body should get the message, and you will see your shots improve.
Your forward arm should remain straight as you go into your back swing. Once you’ve reached the top, think to keep your forward shoulder “down,” then begin your down swing. As your hips uncoil, don’t let them slide laterally.
These are relatively easy tips to apply. The main thing is to spend time practicing and experimenting. Head to the driving range – it’s also a great place to find someone to help watch your swing. Then practice. And remember to go through all your clubs – not just your driver.
You are likely hitting the ball fat with a number of clubs, and the only way to cure that is to practice with each.