Different Kinds of Fat
Fat shots can come in different shapes and sizes. There are steep fat shots and shallow fat shots.
Steep fat shots, the most common, can be due to many different things. Not maintaining proper upper body form can cause you to over compensate with your arms and therefore bring the club back at a steep angle and chop down at a similarly steep angle.
You might have perfect upper body rotation and still be hitting fat. Why? Because you might be positioning the ball too far forward in your stance and, as we mentioned in last month’s blog post, the bottom of your swing arc will be positioned before the ball.
Shallow fat shots, less common among amateur golfers, happen when the club hits the ground before the ball due to a broader swing arc. Shallow fat shots have an easier fix. Some may simply be caused by irregular turf conditions.
The Fat Fix
Just like all other swing flaws, hitting fat starts and can end right at set up. Starting with your spine angle and upper body rotation, you may be trying to keep your head and eyes on the ball but at the same time unknowingly lowering your head too much on the downswing and chopping down at the ball. This is commonly referred to as “bobbing.” Your head might have stayed in the same place but certainly not the turf behind the ball.
It is important to keep your head steady but with your eyes looking down your nose at the ball in front of you —not directly over the ball. This will help you avoid leaning too far down with your upper body on the downswing and therefore lowering your swing arc.
If you recall from last month’s blog post about angle of attack, the position of the ball in regards to your swing arc can cause very different ball flight outcomes. With that said, incorrect ball position can lead you to reach the bottom of your swing before you make contact with the ball. Moving the ball further back in your stance will allow you to make contact with the ball before you make a divot in the grass. If you are hitting too many fat shots, try moving your ball back in your stance until you are consistently contacting the ball first.
Lastly, the very start of your downswing is a brief but pivotal moment (pun intended) in which you can make a world of difference to the outcome of your swing. Starting your downswing by shifting or pivoting your hips will properly transfer your weight forward and allow you to hit inside-out, broadening your swing arc and helping avoid an excessively steep path to the ball.
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