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  • Writer's pictureChris

How to Stop Hitting the Golf Ball Fat

golf club next to golf ball

Making pure contact with the golf ball, particularly with irons, is arguably the greatest feeling in golf. Nothing beats a well-struck, center-face iron swing.

But one of the most common issues golfers face in pursuing this feeling is a fat shot. This is also known as a chunk or heavy shot. It's embarrassing, infuriating, and ineffective all at once.

Like any golf swing tip, we'll first explain what causes it briefly, then explain how to stop hitting the ball fat.

What is a Fat Shot?

A fat shot is when the golf club hits the ground before the ball.

Hitting fat golf shots means the club hits the ground before the ball.

Fat golf shots can come in a few ways. Sometimes, you will hit fat shots that take out a massive piece of the earth with you.

Other times, a fat shot may be a slight clipping of the ground before the ball, which still reduces swing speed at impact and reduces distance.

What Causes a Fat Shot?

Fat shots are almost always caused by weight management.

I'm going to jump into a few other reasons why fat shots can happen. But I first want to ensure that I cover the most common reason it happens: weight management.

In fact, it's such a common source of fat shots that I'd suggest most of you stop reading this article after this section. Let me explain.

Let's pretend you have the golf ball in the middle of your stance at address position and your club lined up right behind it.

Theoretically, if you kept your entire body 100% still and purely brought the club back with your arms and then back down, continuing to keep your body and head still, then the golf club would return right back to the same spot it started.

Now, we don't do that since you lose all your power that way, and it's not enough to just get the ball back to the same spot. It needs to bottom out and hit the ground RIGHT AFTER the ball. This means our body has to be ahead of the ball at impact, too!

Get that weight forward.

So what do we need to do? We need to get our weight moving FORWARD. Too many golfers will try to swing as hard as they can, which results in them tilting their weight back too hard, resulting in the club landing behind the ball as well.

Some coaches will tell you to shift your weight backward in the backswing and forward in the downswing. In my opinion, this is often too difficult for amateurs to accomplish. You are setting yourself up for failure to try and catch up to where you were initially positioned.

It's easier to have the mentality of constant forward motion from start to finish in the entire swing. Yes, the entire swing. It will feel foreign at first, and that is ok.

Don't believe me? Look at this picture of Rory Mcilroy

golfer hitting golf ball

Look how far forward he is ahead of the ball at impact!

I will attribute some of this to the camera angle, but it's pretty dead straight and head-on. This is the key to stopping hitting fat shots. It's just logical. If your weight is forward, your club has no other option but to hit the ground forward, too.

Moving your weight properly will make you feel it on your lead foot. That is a good indicator of proper movement, leading to better ball striking. Don't let your weight fall onto your back foot. And gauge where the club is landing after some practice swings.

It is worth noting that his head is not as far forward as the rest of his body. This will help you keep a good loft if you can recreate it. But if your head has to get a bit ahead of the ball at first, that is fine. You may just experience some low ball flight.

What Other Reasons Might I Hit the Ball Fat?

golf club on ground

Outside of the weight shift, there are some mechanics of the golf swing that might be leading to a fat shot that are worth taking a look at.

Swing path

The path of your golf swing can lead to fat shots too.

What does this mean? You might have seen our post about stopping a slice with a driver, in which we discuss the intricacies of swing path control. But just in case you haven't...

Swing path refers to the direction of your club head as you make impact. Is it swiping across the ball and in towards you? Is it coming from the insight and finishing out to the right in front of you? This is what directly impacts your aim.

But it can also affect your impact, especially when paired with poor weight transfer. Both may result in the club head getting delivered to the ball early. Ideally, this is as neutral as possible or slightly in to out; otherwise, it may lead to a fat golf shot.

A quick way to check this is to record yourself from behind (facing the direction the ball will go). In the downswing, when the club is parallel to the ground, is it facing the camera? Is it behind your back? Is it in front of your hands? Ideally, it's pointing straight back towards the camera.

Ball position

Ball position is a simple but critical component to check. And in general, it's a good thing to keep consistent in your golf game.

For most iron shots, the proper ball position is directly in the middle of your stance. That way, if you move forward, your center of gravity will also move forward, leading to the club bottoming out after the ball.

Again, we want to strike the ball first, then the ground. But not hacking down at it. Simply by swinging normally, with our weight forward, and letting the club collect the ball on the way.

Don't kill the ball.

Golf is a mental game. Probably even more than it is physical. When you try and rely on your physical ability to add power, you often throw mechanics out the window.

Golfers who swing as hard as they can often try putting their weight into the shot by leaning back on their back foot and trying to counteract that with a forward-swinging golf club. Horrible. Stop hitting as hard as you can, and keep it nice and easy through the whole golf swing.


In general, fat shots are caused by poor weight transfer. But a few other reasons can lead to them as well. The key to getting your confidence striking on the golf course is practice.

Go to the range, and don't try to hit it as hard as possible. Focus on learning what causes fat shots in the golf game. So many golfers need to practice with a purpose. Practice and learning is the true secret to stop hitting the golf ball fat for good.


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