Common Causes of Hitting the Ball Fat
Firstly, solid contact is about creating the required movement through impact that aligns the club, body and arms in a way that will consistently position the bottom of your arc in front of the ball and at the right height/depth.
If you are struggling with the fat shot then here are some aspects to pay attention to. Video your self from face on with a slow motion camera (the one on your phone will do) and check the following:
- Ball Position: Typically, with an iron, we would want the ball opposite your lead ear. (We try not to reference the feet since the width of stance will skew this measure). If for any reason your movement through the ball is impeded then a more central ball position might be preferable.
- At impact, your pelvis should be somewhat rotated (>20 degrees) and your weight should be predominantly on the front foot.
- Your head should be central and your spine should not have any excessive tilt to it.
- The lead wrist needs to be flat (flexed) as the club shaft leans forward towards to target.
- All of this occurs in a movement that is has intentions of moving past the ball and not 'at' the ball.
Strangely, losing height (getting lower in the downswing) doesn't always lead to fat shots. Expert players will synergise elsewhere in their movement and create better impact alignment as the angles of the club and wrist are held longer and the dynamic loft is reduced. In fact, we see this pattern with the majority of tour professionals.
There is significant mental challenge presented in this video. When we are learning, or otherwise struggling to create a solid strike, we instinctively pay more attention to the ball. Our golf buddies may even prompt us to look 'harder' at the ball to ensure a good strike.
This creates the scenario of being Ball Bound!. The video outlines how this 'over attentiveness' to the ball will break down a fluid motion that creates all the correct dynamics that lead the quality ball contact.
If you struggle with fat shots then I would suggest a lot practise hitting half-swing shots where you can build up an awareness of your body motion through impact and train the confidence to focus on the feeling of your movement and relinquish ball focus.