How to Stop Hitting Fat Golf Shots With Your Irons

I’m not a fan of the fat shot. The fat shot is one of the most common bad shots in golf and leads to disastrous results which destroy your golf confidence. Many golfers from beginners to tour pros have hit them and some golfers continually hit them encouraging a lack of confidence in their golf swing and higher golf scores.

Imagine how many times a fat shot led to losing a golf tournament by one shot and you can understand why this outcome is feared by many golfers novice to professional. Fortunately fat shots can be virtually eliminated from your game by following some simple steps that lead to more consistent and solid ball striking.

To know how to eliminate the fat shot from your game you need to first isolate the reasons why you hit them. Fat golf shots occur mostly when the speeding club-head in the down swing strikes the ground before it strikes your golf ball.

Put simply, its ground before ball rather than ground after ball.

A golf iron has been designed to strike the ball and then enter the ground just in front of the golf ball. The design of the sole (bottom of the club-head) enables it to travel into the ground and then out of it much like the way the floats on a water plane enable it to enter into the water and then plane along the surface.

When a golf club enters the ground before the ball, the golf ball will be struck with an ascending blow, that is, the ball is struck as the club-head is traveling upwards resulting in semi-topped or even topped golf shots. Semi topped golf shots travel a lot shorter distance than solidly hit golf shots and this explains why many amateur golfers hit their iron shots short of the green consistently.

The main reason golfers hit fat shots is through over-acceleration of the club-head in the down swing. This means that the golf club head is traveling too quickly too soon so that the peak of the club-heads acceleration occurs well before the golf ball is struck.

Think of it this way, at the top of your back-swing you have established an angle between your left forearm and the golf shaft of somewhere between 75 and 100 degrees. Commonly referred to as your wrist cock angle, this angle stores most of the potential energy of your back swing before you commence your down swing.

Now, the key is to release this acute angle gradually so that the golf club-head builds up its speed to a point where maximum club-head speed occurs just before the golf ball is struck. However, when this angle is released too early, the club-head accelerates too quickly outwards increasing the width or radius of the down swing arc much too soon leading to a collision with the ground before the golf ball.

So two things occur; you get too much speed in the club-head too soon, and consequently, you hit the ground before you hit the golf ball. When the golf club-head is traveling downwards towards the ball we can describe the arc of its path as too steep, too shallow or correct. Too steep has the club-head striking the ball traveling downwards too much creating deep divots mostly in front of the ball. Too shallow means that the arc of the club-head is traveling level to slightly upwards as it strikes the ball.

The correct angle as you now know has the club-head striking the ball and then the turf at the correct time in the down swing.

Developing a more ‘on-plane’ down-swing gives you your best chance of your golf club striking the ball at the correct time. An ‘on-plane’ down-swing has the end of the grip tracing a path along the plane line which is an imaginary line that extends from either side of the golf ball to the horizon that is parallel to your target line.

From the top of your back-swing gently pull the grip end of your golf-club with your last three fingers of your left hand until the golf shaft points towards the target. From this position with your hands more or less in front of your body the golf club ‘free-wheels’ itself outwards through the golf ball on the correct angle of attack, striking the golf ball before it strikes the ground.

The key is to apply a light pulling pressure on the end of the grip which gradually accelerates the club-head to peak velocity through the golf ball. By keeping the right hands impulse to apply ‘hit pressure’ at bay you will start your golf swing on a correct path that leads to consistent golf shots that fly crisply off the club-face with maximum distance and accuracy leading to more golf confidence.

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Lawrence Montague has been one of Australia's leading golf teaching professionals for more than twenty years and owns one of Australia's top golf schools based on the Gold Coast in Queensland: goldcoastgolfschool. You can visit his popular golf instruction channel at where he has produced more than thirty free high quality golf video lessons to improve you golf game.


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