How to Stop Hitting Fat Golf Shots

Hitting fat golf shots is a problem many players face with their mid irons. It’s as embarrassing as any golf shot can get. You may be hitting amazing tee shots with your drivers but hitting less than 50 yards with your irons rather than hitting the green.

Fixing a fat shot is easier than you may think. You need to focus on a few different parts of your swing to fine-tune the short iron shots.

In this guide, we’re going to find out what a fat golf shot exactly is, what happens when you do it, what are the possible causes for it, and how you can fix it.

Resource: Golf Practice System with Step by Step Practice Plans + Video Lessons

What is a Fat Golf Shot?

If you’re a relatively new golf player, it won’t be unlikely if you hear the term ‘fat shot’ for the first time. Some players even go ahead and think that the term is associated with the weight or the size of the golfer.

In reality, that’s not the case. Even you may have hit enough of these in your time as a rookie.

A fat shot is essentially when you hit the ground with your iron before you hit the ball. You can feel it when you take your swing because you’ll be blowing a lot of dirt in the air as well as feel the feedback through the shaft of your club.

Ideally, the divot of your iron should be in front of the ball, not behind it. The lowest point of your swing circle should be in front of the ball instead of where you hit the ball. It’s hard to make sense of these things when you consider the laws of physics.

If we ask you how do you get the ball in the air, your answer will be most likely to hit it as hard as you can. But the truth with irons is different. Thanks to the higher loft of the short irons, you need to hit down on the ball rather than against it.

The downward motion of the angled club faces causes the ball to spin backward. As a result, the ball flies out of the fairway and lands in the green.

If you’ve been hitting fat shots for quite some time now, there’s nothing to be embarrassed about it. Even the tour pros once used to hit fats before they figured out the mechanics.

Now that you know what a fat golf shot exactly is, we can move along to explore the effects of the shot.

Free Download: Grab my 15 Best Golf Drills eBook that helped me lower my golf scores!

What Happens When You Hit a Fat Shot?

The biggest impact of such a shot would be less distance covered by the ball. It’s the telltale sign that there was something wrong with your swing. Ideally, you should be hitting the green with your short irons. Instead, you may very well land in the fairway again!

Another problem that comes associated with fat shots is inconsistency. One of the truest virtues of PGA or tour pros is consistency. When you hit fat shots, you’ll be hitting every ball differently. It makes your score unpredictable and works as a major obstruction in your journey to become a better player.

Last but not the least, hitting fats is considered a very weak and embarrassing shot. So, if there’s a friend with you at the course or other players in general, you may be becoming the subject of mockery without even realizing it.

The Common Causes of Hitting Fat Golf Shots

For different players, the reason for hitting fat shots vary. A PGA instructor can always guide you in the right direction if you’re serious about fixing your swing issues.

However, you can always start to fix the problem by yourself by taking help from guides like ours. Let’s explore a few of the common reasons you might be blowing grass and dust into the air.

The Weight Transfer

For the majority of the players, the cause behind a fat shot is the wrong transfer of weight. We’ve said countless times in the past that golf is much more than what meets the naked eye. The concept of weight transfer is one of the less appreciated areas of a golf swing.

When you’re initiating your backswing, you instinctively put the weight onto your right foot. Or, the front foot if you want to call it that. The opposite is true for left-handed players. As you go through the entire range of motion for the backswing, your body slides to the right.

When you come down with the downswing, it’s just not physically possible to shift the entire weight of your body to your left foot before you hit the ball. The result of this? You digging the ground before you hit the ball!

Instead, you need to keep your body straight in reference to the ball and rotate your upper body only to get to the top of the backswing. No sideward movements!

This way, you ensure that your body weight is balanced between the legs. So, when you initiate the downswing, you can push your hips toward the target and shift the weight to your left foot, and hit the ball with grace.

Summarizing this point, you need to keep your body exactly in the middle by taking the ball as the reference. Without moving any of the weight to your right foot, you need to swing the club while shifting the weight to the left foot.

nick foy golf

The Ball Position

Where you position the ball before hitting has a huge role in how your iron shot will play out. You cannot compare short iron shots with drivers or long irons. It’s a shot in its own category.

So, you need to stand close to the ball while keeping your sternum right over the ball. You can’t move to the left or right while swinging the club over your head.

If you can manage to ensure the proper ball position and practice the transfer or weight we’ve talked about, you’ll start to notice huge differences in your shot quality.

The Handle Position

We can positively say that you didn’t realize that the handle of your iron will have something to do with the fat shots you’re hitting. But it has.

Think of an imaginary vertical line from your ball. You can even record yourself from directly in front to demonstrate the problem. When you come down with your swing, chances are that your golf iron handle is lagging behind the ball.

Instead, you need to uncoil your body in a way so that the handle of the club leads the swing. Only after you pass the imaginary line, the club face should hit the ball.

When the handle is behind the ball, it creates extra loft to the club face. And we all know that the more the loft, the less distance you’ll cover.

The Hip Movement

Improper movement of the hips is a common problem for rookie golf players. It’s the culprit for not only fat shots, but over the top shots as well!

Ideally, your hips should flow naturally toward the target as you approach the ball with your club. It’s related to the weight transfer as well. The forward movement of the hips allows you to transfer the weight to your front foot from your backfoot easily.

The problem arises when you don’t move the hips at all. Or worse, move it in the opposite direction! By not moving the hips, you are making yourself prone to hitting the ground hard. When you go backward, it’s even more likely that you’ll hit the ground way behind the ball.

To fix this issue, you need to consciously move your hips forward toward the target while remembering the drill about the golf iron handle. You’ll notice that your swings will become more fluent with practice.

Not Being in the Right Mindspace

It’s not a problem with your form or your position. Rather, it’s a mental turmoil that many golf players go through. When you make the same mistakes over and over again, your brain gets frustrated and it takes a toll on your performance as well.

If you’ve been hitting fat golf shots over and over again, this may be one of the reasons. When you’re stressed over something, the muscles naturally tense up. And tensed muscles will not let you swing your club freely.

So, instead of trying too hard to get things right, go home and relax. Revisit the reasons we’ve covered in our guide to understanding where you may be going wrong.

One of the greatest tips we can share with you is that record yourself. Record yourself from different angles to find out the exact problem for your swing. It may not be any of the reasons we’ve discussed in this post. But when you see yourself hitting the ground a few times, you’ll most likely figure out what’s wrong.

Now, let’s look at some drills you can practice either at the golf course or at the driving range to fix your fat golf shots.

Resource: Golf Practice System with Step by Step Practice Plans + Video Lessons

Drills to Fix Fat Golf Shots

By now, you should have a precise idea about what fat shots mean and why you may be hitting those. It’s time to fix the issue once and for all!

We’ve designed a few drills that you can practice either at the course, the driving range, or even at home!

The Alignment Stick Drill

The name might seem too generic, but it’s one of the most effective drills you can perform to fix fat shots.

To perform this drill, you need one alignment stick and the iron that you usually play with. A 7 or 8-iron will do the job just fine.

  1. Stick the alignment stick on the ground at the same angle as your iron. So, when you put your iron flat on the club face, the shaft should be parallel to the alignment stick.
  2. Get into stance and imagine the ball right under the highest point of the stick.
  3. Perform practice swings. You may hit the alignment stick every now and then because your shots are not polished.
  4. The alignment stick gives you a great reference point for where your divot should be.
  5. You should be touching the ground with the sole of your iron a few inches in front of the stick.

The Steady Head Drill

You’re going to need one friend to help you out on this one. If you want to practice this at home, ask one of the family members to help you out.

The goal of this drill is to stop you from sliding too far right while initiating your backswing. You need to keep the head in the same place and let your upper and lower body follow.

You can also perform this drill by yourself by placing a book on your head instead of asking for help. It will be harder and more time-consuming. But it’s one way to do this drill.

  1. Stand in position with your club.
  2. Tell your friend to stand right in front of you at a distance and hold an alignment stick on your head. If you don’t have someone to get help, place a book on top of your head and balance it throughout the range of motion.
  3. As you start hitting the shots, you’ll notice that you keep getting away from the alignment stick. You need to stop that. Practice your backswings by keeping your head in the same place through the swing.

Hit the Tee Drill

You’ll need a tee for this drill. So, it’s better if you’re at the course or at the driving range for this one.

  1. Take the tee and stick it all in the ground. You should only see the top section of the tee where you usually put the ball. The rest of it should be underground.
  2. Place your ball a few inches behind the tee.
  3. Now, start striking. You need to shift your focus to the tee rather than the ball.
  4. If you do enough practice, you’ll be hitting the tee every single time.

Final Words

Hitting fat golf shots is a real problem. We’ve seen plenty of players being guilty of it. It might seem like a serious problem at first. But you should know that it’s quite easy to fix it with the drills we’ve designed for you in this guide.

You should also keep in mind the body movements and the possible causes of hitting the golf shots fat in this post. Your primary target is to find out the exact problem with your swing. Then, you can move on with fixing the issue.

Golf Practice System for Lower Scores

Learn the exact golf practice routines thousands of students at Foy Golf Academy are using to lower their golf scores.

Follow these step by step practice plans and watch video lessons to learn how to improve your golf swing, chipping, and putting fundamentals.

Get access to hundreds of golf drills to practice as well as content on the mental side of golf, fitness plans, worksheets, and many more resources. This is a complete golf practice system.

Start Following These Practices —> Nick Foy Golf Practice System

Work hard,

Nick Foy, Instructor

nick foy golf

*Some links on this page may contain affiliate links. Thank you for supporting me.

Don’t miss out


Breaking 90, 80, 70 Golf Practice Plan

The 15 Best Golf Drills that

Lowered My Golf Scores

Sign up to get this resource + more helpful golf lessons to your inbox