How to Stop Hitting Golf Fat Shots

By Performance Golf Zone · · 9 min read

Hitting fat shots is incredibly frustrating, and something no golfer wants to do.

In your mind, you have visualized your golf ball flying high to the target along a perfectly straight path.

You take your swing only to hit the ground behind your ball and watch it roll just a few feet in front of you, or shank in the wrong direction.

It’s a terrible feeling and impacts your score almost as if it’s a penalty stroke.

Learning how to stop hitting fat shots takes an understanding of why you are hitting it fat, and a bit of work on your golf swing technique. We will show you how to stop hitting fat shots so you can confidently stand over the golf ball for your next round of golf.

What Causes Fat Golf Shots?

The main causes of a fat golf shot include: improper ball position, early release, incorrect weight transfer or lateral movement of the body, poor posture, and using the wrong muscles on the downswing.

The best way to stop hitting the golf ball fat is to consistently work on drills that give you the feeling of perfect impact position.

Incorrect Ball Position

A perfect golf shot strikes the ball first and creates a divot after the ball. If your golf ball is too far back in the stance or too far forward in the stance, you may miss the exact low point of the swing where you should strike the ball.

Sliding the Hips

Great golf swings have pivot and rotation. Don’t believe us; just look at a player like Brooks Koepka and how he moves his lower body.

Golfers who hit fat shots will sway or slide their hips instead of turning and pivoting. The result is a golf club that makes contact with the ground in the wrong position.

Standing Too Close To The Ball (Improper Setup)

When you stand too close to the golf ball, it becomes incredibly difficult to rotate through impact with speed. The club essentially gets stuck, and the result is almost always a fat shot.

Poor Posture

Spine angle should be maintained throughout the majority of the golf swing. Many amateur golfers lose their spin angle on the downswing as they attempt to make contact with the ball.

Maintaining the spine angle allows for more consistent contact and better turf interaction.

Not Relying On The Big Muscles

If you want power, a repeatable swing, and to stop hitting fat shots, you must rely more on the larger muscles like shoulders and hips. Golfers who use their hands and arms to try and strike the ball often end up with a steep approach or attack angle and a high likelihood of a fat shot.

The Wrist Flip

If you don’t know how to release the golf club coming through impact, you may do it too soon and hit behind the ball. The lead wrist should stay flexed through the low point of the swing, allowing you to make clean contact with the ball first.

How Can I Stop Hitting Fat Shots?

The key to stop hitting fat shots is to develop a repeatable setup and swing sequence that allows for a more center strike. Here are a few of the things that you can do to stop hitting fat shots.

Create a Better Setup

The ball position can change depending on the golf club that you have in your hand. As a general rule:

  • Short irons: golf ball should be one ball length back of center
  • Mid irons: center of your stance
  • Long irons: one ball length forward of center
  • Driver: directly in line with the heel of the lead foot

The proper ball position for the club you are hitting will allow you to strike the golf ball first, eliminating the fat golf shot.

Learn to Rotate, Not Slide

Want to know why so many golfers slide in their swing?
It feels powerful.

The slide or sway is not powerful at all, and it changes the low point in your swing, making it difficult to find that spot time and time again. Work on pivoting with your hips and forcing them to stay more contained during the swing.

Place alignment sticks in the ground on either side of your hips and learn to pivot between them.

Let The Arms Follow The Legs

The overactive arms can make it hard to get that consistent ball strike. If your arms are leading from the top, your swing path may be from the outside in. Your body takes a less active role, and the club strikes well before the ball.

In that ever-important moment of transition from backswing to downswing, let the lower body lead. Get a great turn with the lead hip and allow the arms to drop into place.

Is Hitting The Golf Ball Fat Hard To Fix?

Hitting the golf ball fat should not be hard to fix, especially if your clubface is square when you are making contact with the ball. The best way to stop hitting the golf ball fat is to consistently work on drills that give you the feeling of perfect impact position.

How To Stop Hitting Behind The Golf Ball

If you want to stop hitting behind the golf ball, you must ensure that you understand what impact looks like and start to develop some consistency in your golf swing. There is nothing worse than standing over the ball, wondering if it will be another fat shot.

The Ball Is Not The Bottom

It’s often said that if you can get back to the impact position, you will hit a great shot. However, impact and setup are two different things.

At address, the golf ball is the bottom of your swing, but as you rotate back and then through the ball, this bottom location changes. Just before impact (if you have proper weight transfer and rotation), the bottom of your swing is actually just forward of the golf ball.

Therefore, you must strike the golf ball first and then take your divot.

If you can learn the proper strike sequence, you can hit the ball first every time.

Develop Swing Consistency

There are a lot of variables in the game of golf. When you look at your swing, the weather, the setup, ball position, the club in your hand, etc., there is not a lot of consistency.

Great golfers can adapt to change, but great golfers also have a consistent swing sequence. Start with a pre-shot routine that you can repeat, and go through your setup positions, making sure that the ball placement is ideal for the club that you have in your hands.

From there, work on a proper takeaway, pivot, and weight transfer to ensure you use the right muscles and return the club to the low point in the swing.

When comparing the swings of professionals with the golf swings of amateurs, it’s very easy to see the extra (and inefficient) movement in an amateur swing that causes fat shots.

5 Golf Tips for More Consistent Golf Shots

Now that you are well on your way to not hitting fat shots, here are a few additional tips to help ensure that you become a more consistent player.

Trust us on this one; shooting 83 every time is much better than shooting an 82 one day and a 94 the next. When you develop consistency, your scores will start to fall in a much tighter range.

Get Your Weight Centered On Your Feet

If you aren’t sure where your weight should go on your feet, move it to the center! Having too much weight on your toes can cause you to hit fat; too much weight on the heels will result in some thin shots.

A simple adjustment of getting your weight centered on your feet could be all it takes to hit consistent shots with much greater power.

Minimize Grip Pressure

The worse your golf game gets, the easier it is to grip the club with too much pressure. Be mindful of grip pressure.

You don’t need to eliminate pressure completely; you should still have a strong hold on the club, but keeping the pressure down will increase overall swing speed and allow you to get in the proper positions in your swing.

Center Your Head

To strike a golf ball more consistently, center your head over the ball. Not only should you consider lateral movement in your head (and try to minimize it), but also think about the vertical movement in your head.

When you can stay still and stable, getting the golf club to hit the ball first and then turf is much easier.

Tempo Practice

Poor tempo can make you do funny things in your golf swing. If you want consistency, work on improving your tempo.

Most golfers do quite well with taking three counts to get to the top of the backswing and one count to get to the ball. (1-2-3-1)

Tempo practice can happen both on and off the golf course. On a day when you are hitting a lot of fat shots, step back and take a practice swing where you check your tempo to make sure it’s correct.

Start Tracking Data and Imagery

Finally, to become a more consistent ball striker, use technology to track your game and even record some practice sessions.

Learn what you can about your golf swing to address all the flaws and issues that you may have. Attack them one at a time until you shoot the scores you want.

Final Thoughts: Eliminating Swing Errors That Can Lead To Fat Shots

Ask any great player, and they will tell you that hitting it thing is a much better miss than hitting it fat. The fat shot leaves you having to scramble and recover. Get your ball position right, improve and maintain your posture, learn not to slide, and lead with your lower body to eliminate the fat shots for good.

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