Category Archives: hitting fat

Stop Hitting Fat!!!

I hit fat, you hit fat, she hits fat, we all hit fat. Maddening, isn’t it? Well, here’s a drill that will cure that once and for all. Guaranteed. I promise you.

First, though, you must have mastered the magic move of having the hands lead the clubhead into the ball. If you aren’t on board with that, the rest of this post won’t help you. Guaranteed. I promise you.

So to stop hitting fat, do this drill. Go the the range and get on a mat. You can’t do the drill on grass.

Put a ball down and get into address position, then back away from the ball a few inches so you can swing the club and not hit the ball. You can see this setup in the picture.

Swing a few times with your usual swing and see where your club commonly thumps the mat. If that spot is behind the ball, you have some work to do.

The drill is to swing so the sole of the club thumps the mat on the red line or the X side of it. In order to do this, you are going to have to modify your swing somewhat. I’m not going to tell you how, because (a) there is no once-size-fits-all way to do that, and (b) self-discovery is the best teacher.

Keep swinging and take baby steps to getting the club to thump the mat farther and farther forward. Trying to get in front all at once will throw you off too much.

The adjusted swing shouldn’t be that much different from what had been doing already. There is no need to revamp your entire swing. The best adjustment will have you doing one thing just a little bit differently while the rest of your swing stays essentially the same.

If you ease into this, in less than ten swings, maybe even less than five, you should have figured out how bring the low point of your swing to a spot forward of the ball. Step up to the ball now and hit it with the swing you just developed. I hope you like the result.

All that was the easy part. The hard part is that you’re going to have to do this drill constantly. Never give up on it. Do it every time you go to the range before you start hitting balls. Do it when you warm up before a round.

Golfers: Hit Fat No More

Several years ago, when Annika Sorenstam was on the LPGA tour, she was in Portland for the Safeway Classic golf tournament and was being interviewed by a local TV talk show. The host asked her, “Annika, do you ever hit it fat? I mean, just turn up some sod?” and she answered, “No.” Not, “No, I haven’t done that since I was 13 years old.” Just, “No,” and then looked at the interviewer for the next question.

For us, it’s not No. It’s once or twice a round, and if you really wanted to cut it fine, we probably hit a little bit behind the ball on every swing. I’m not kidding. The pros start their divot in front of the ball, but we do that once in a blue moon.

Don’t believe me? Try this. Go to the range and hit from the grass tees. Lay a tee on the ground, on its side, pointing at the back edge of the golf ball. Take a few practice swings with your 7-iron. Now hit the ball. I will bet you dollars to donuts that the divot started behind where the tee is pointing. Hitting behind the ball is your standard shot. Let’s fix that.

There are many reasons why you hit behind the ball. We’ll deal with a big one here, that your weight is staying on the right side during the downswing. (A left-hander’s version of this post is found here.) That is, your weight shifts a bit to the right when you take the club back, but stays there was you’re swinging through the ball. Result, the bottom of your swing shifts to a point behind the ball. Fat city.

Here’s the easy cure, and I do mean easy. When you take your backswing, the weight on your left foot shifts to somewhere around the big toe. The first thing you should do on the downswing, according to Harvey Penick, is shift your weight to your left foot and bring the right elbow into your body. Let’s concern ourselves with the left foot.

There’s a problem with that instruction, in that it’s incomplete. You can put your left foot down and still not have your weight shifted onto it. To be sure you get that weight left, put your left heel on the ground, and even finer, the outside of your left heel. If the outside (surface, not edge) of your left heel is pressed against the ground, your weight has to be left. You cannot keep your weight to the right and do this.

Practice to move the weight smoothly onto the left foot at the big toe or thereabouts (at the top of the backswing), then to the outside of your left heel when you start your downswing, and the fat shots could well disappear.

Other reasons why you might hit fat are that you either cast or flip. We’ll go over those another time.

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