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How to Stop Hitting Fat and Thin Golf Shots

Fat shots, thin shots, golf swings that pitch – there are so many different things to learn when it comes to golf. But hey, it wouldn’t be one of the world’s most technically complex sports if it weren’t the way that it was! Golf is something that so many people want to get into – and honestly even when they do get into it, they soon realize they want to get better. Learning golf isn’t hard, quite honestly – it’s the getting better at it part that’s hard. If you really want to get better at golf, there are so many things you need to learn. You have to figure out how to stop hitting fat and thin golf shots. Then on top of that, you have to learn how to do pitch shots. What else? Well – you also have to understand the equipment. And so on, and so forth…

There truly are a lot of things you need to do to improve your golf game. Want to lower your score? Boy oh boy, there are so many things to learn for that too! If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, don’t worry – we’ve all been there. The truth is, if you take it a little at a time, you’ll improve no matter what. Just look at one thing at a time as you aim to improve – that’s all you really need to worry about! Focus on one thing at a time and begin to improve yourself little by little there. Once you’ve gotten better, move on to the next one. Truthfully, one of the first places to start is the equipment. But the next thing you’ll need to know is the technical side of hitting your shots.

How Do You Get Better at Golf?

How to Stop Hitting Fat and Thin Golf Shots

To get better at golf, you need to know how to not flub your swings. For example, you’ll have to know how to stop hitting fat and thin golf shots. That much is for sure. But if you’re not sure how to do that, we’ve got your back. In today’s article, we will be looking at the different ways for how to stop hitting fat and thin golf shots. Plus, we’ll also be looking at other tips and tricks to help you improve your game overall. Stick around – this is going to be a kind of long (but a very informative!) ride!

Before we even get to talking about how to stop hitting fat and thin golf shots, first we have to talk about what they are, right? After all, it’s pretty hard to teach someone how to do something if they don’t know what that something is. The same goes if you’re trying to teach them how to avoid it. So without further dilly dallying, let’s have a quick chat about fat and thin shots.

What is a Fat Golf Shot?

First off, what is a fat shot? In essence, fat shots happen when your golf club hits ground right before you hit the golf ball. As you can imagine, that’s not something you’ll ever want to do as a golfer. Unless, of course, you’re trying to hit bunker shots. The reason you don’t want to do this is because if you hit a fat shot, you’ll end up with a chunk of grass flying through the air. That, or turf and sod just splattering everywhere. You’ll be damaging the green, but that’s only one of your concerns. You see, hitting fat shots means that you’ll have some turf and or sod coming through in between the face of the club and, of course, the ball. That can really affect your swing, and the way that your club hits your ball!

That’s not the only problem, of course. You actually will have to worry about something else – that’d be the fact that when your club strikes the ground before the ball, you’re killing a lot of the energy that you put into the shot. Your club transfers the energy straight into the ground, which means that you’ll basically be hitting the golf ball with nothing almost. And so, your ball will only travel a very short distance. Which of course means you will end up having to do more swings in order to get your ball in the hole. Not good for your score!

Origins of the Term Fat Shot

If you use an iron, hitting a fat shot will result in your club digging into the turf hard. This will produce a deeper divot – and a larger one – as compared to normal. And so as you might imagine, you’ll have a fat divot. Sounds like that might be the origin for this term!

Aside from turning your good swing into a terrible, horrible shot, doing a fat shot will also possibly injure your hands. It can cause a lot of jarring and trauma to your hands, to your wrists, and to your arms. That all depends on how “fat” your shot is – the fatter it is, the worse it will be for your hands and arms. A fatter shot basically means it may be digging into the turf harder than normal.

Fat shots are, as you might imagine, the opposite to what may be known as thin shots. Thin shots can sometimes be hit on purpose by golfers that are very skilled. However, fat shots are almost never done on purpose. This is for the reason that fat shots simply never result in anything good. And so this is why we want to talk about how to stop hitting fat and thin golf shots.

Other Terms for Fat Shots

Golfers often talk about fat shots by, well, calling them a fat shot. That one we know for certain. Golfers might also refer to them as “fatting it”, or they may instead say “I fatted my swing”. Sometimes, they may also refer to it as “I caught the swing fat” or “That hit was fat”. So if you hear those sorts of terms from more seasoned golfers, or if you’re new and you start hearing that term around, now you know what they’re talking about!

Fat shots do also go by other names, which you may also hear around. These names are:

  • Heavy shots (I hit a heavy shot, I swung that one heavy, and so on)
  • A chunk – because, as you might imagine, you send a chunk of the green flying. “I chunked my swing”, or “I’m hitting a lot of chunks today” are both different ways that people do refer to these swings as well.
  • Chili dip – don’t ask us why on this one. But some people do call them chili dips. As in, “I chili-dipped!”, “Nice chili-dip, buddy”, and so on.

If you hit a really particularly bad fat one, you’ll probably notice that your golf ball will barely move – if it even does at all! A huge chunk of the turf may also end up right over top of the ball, as well. Now if you think that’s embarrassing, you’re probably right. But don’t feel too bad, because the fact is that a ton of other golfers have done it too. In fact, most if not all have done it at least once. Don’t believe them if they tell you otherwise!

Oh, and also, some people also call fat shots “laying (the) turf/sod over it”. Just so you know!

Reasons for Fat Shots

There are a number of different reasons why golfers may hit fat shots. One of the biggest ones, of course, is that the golfer may be hitting behind their golf ball. As a result, the club hits the ground before it makes contact with the ball. Which is just another way to say that you’re bottoming your swing out behind your ball.

To know why exactly this is happening, there are a few basic things that you should check first. For one, you should make sure that your weight isn’t sitting back onto the right side of your body (this is for right-handed folks). Too much body weight will be behind the wall, and you’re not leaning away in the downswing from the ball as well. Your back shoulder must not be too low, and your aim shouldn’t be out rightwards. And of course, do your best to make sure that your ball isn’t positioned too forward or too far in front of your stance.

What is a Thin Golf Shot?

How to Stop Hitting Fat and Thin Golf Shots

If we’ve got a fat shot, then naturally, we also have what’s known as thin shots, too! Thin shots are when golf clubheads strike golf balls too high (about the midpoint of the ball, or maybe just a little lower or higher). Thin shots result in much more vibration, which of course you’ll feel in your hands and maybe your forearms. Not as damaging as a fat shot would be, but also not that good. But, like we mentioned, there are some times when you do want to hit a thin shot on purpose.

Predicting how thin your shot will turn out, however, is impossible. Even if you hit your thin shot on purpose, its unpredictability makes it risky. You can end up overshooting your target by quite a lot. A ball that gets hit and barely gets up off the ground before dropping may not go very far if there’s something like a hazard or a rough in between you and your target, too. When you hit from the fairway using a wedge or a short iron and you do a thin shot, you might find your ball ending up wayyy over the course’s green.

But hey, a thin shot is still a lot more preferable than a fat shot. Hitting a thin shot is much better for your forearms and hands and your wrists. The best golfers may in fact hit a slightly thin shot purposefully. These seasoned golfers try to “thin it” in order to “win it”. That basically means that the thin shots are better than doing a fat shot. This is because thin shots may still work out and get your ball where you want it to go, depending of course on the severity of your mishit.

Soon we can talk about how to stop hitting fat and thin golf shots, just so that you can improve your game over all. But before we get to that, first we want to elaborate a bit more about thin shots!

Names and Uses for Thin Shots

There are actually a number of names that people have for thin shots. Just like fat shots, they too have been affectionately given nicknames by golfers the world over. Here are some of the things that you can expect to hear at a golf course:

  • When you hit a thin shot, it can at times be referred to as “thinning it”. Golfers you’re around may say that they “thinned that one”. This is a pretty common one, so you may hear it often.
  • Sometimes, golfers may say something like “hitting it thin”, or a golfer could say that they “caught the ball thin”.
  • You might also hear something like “hey, that one was a bit thin”.

Don’t get confused. All of the above literally mean the same thing – that instead of you hitting a crisp hit, the correct type of shot, you flubbed it and hit it too high or too low. A correct contact would be when you sweep the ball w/ woods, hitting the ball w/ your club still moving down – AKA “hitting down”.

Oh, another thing that thin shots can be called is “bladed” shot. This is when the iron’s leading edge makes first contact on the ball, right near it’s middle or equator. They can also be called skull shots, or simply skulls. As you can imagine, that’s because the ball is hit above the equator and much closer to the ball’s top. Because of this, they may also be called “topped shots”. Golfers may then refer to hitting a thin as “topping my ball”.

Low screamers that spend most of their airtime close to the ground may be referred to as “wormburners”.

Reasons for Thin Shots

We’ve talked about how fat shots happen. Now it’s time to talk about how thin shots are caused. Once we’ve discussed this, it will then be much easier to talk about how to stop hitting fat and thin golf shots.

So what reasons are behind thin shots?

Well, when you hit your club on the ball just a bit too high (a bit up or down the equator), that’s the thin shot, right? You hit that way because your swing is bottoming out at the wrong spot or place. If you bottom out behind your ball, you hit a fat one. If you bottom out ahead, then you get a thin shot instead. Like we said – the opposite of a fat shot!

There’s another common reason for hitting thin shots. That’s when you raise your club up just right before you hit, and you lift your head as well as your torso. This results in you pulling your arms up as well. The end result? The club gets raised up. When this happens, even if you have the swing bottoming at the right spot, your club will still hit too high on the surface of the ball.

How to Stop Hitting Fat and Thin Golf Shots

We’ve gone through what fat shots are, and we’ve talked about what thin shots are too. So now, we can finally get to the important part! Now, we can talk about how to stop hitting fat and thin golf shots.

Of course, there’s a different way to fix both problems. You will have to adjust differently for eliminating a fat shot. The same goes for thins. They won’t both work the same way – so let’s talk about each of them separately.

If you’re ready, then so are we. Let’s get started!

How to Prevent Thin Shots

First of all, let’s talk about thin shots, shall we?

There is something that you can check that happens to be the easiest – your setup. As in, the basic positions that you go in, such as your stance, the position of your ball with relation to you, and so on. You have to make sure that you’re not placing the ball too far away from where you’re standing (or your stance). Also, you will have to check that you aren’t getting set up w/ shoulders aligned rightwards or leftwards. All of the things we just mentioned can end up really throwing off where your swing gets bottomed out.

If you go with a golf instructor, one of the things that you’ll probably hear them say often is to not lift the ball. “Don’t lift it, or don’t try to lift it” – both of those are common things they’ll say. Especially to people who commonly hit thin shots. But what exactly does that mean? If you aren’t very familiar with what they mean, well, here it is.

By design, your clubs are made to get your ball up and out in the air. Some golfers will try to help their ball, so to speak, by swinging upwards into the golf ball. Don’t! Because these will basically result in you lifting up your arms and/or your torso right before the hit. And as we mentioned, that will cause a thin shot.

In essence, concentrate or focus on keeping the upper body bent throughout the swing in the same way. Don’t lift up, and that should immediately make a difference in your thins.

Of course, since we are talking about how to stop hitting fat and thin golf shots, we now have to talk about the fat shots, too!

How to Prevent Fat Shots

Preventing thins seems relatively easy. Just don’t lift your torso up, right? It’s true, it’s not too hard, but it still will take practice. The same will apply for how to prevent fat shots.

If you’re frequently hitting fat shots, you’ll probably want to take a look at a few things that you are doing. Your positioning relative to the ball, your stance – all of the same things that you need to watch out for with thin shots.

But that’s not all. On top of all of that, you can do some drills too, and this can make a pretty big difference. So here’s what you can do:

Jam a stick, or an old club, or anything that you can use for alignment into the ground. Then, you can get your nose left from the stick. This will move your swing’s bottom forwards a bit. As a result, you’ll have a better chance of hitting the ball at the right position. You must make sure that when you take your shot, your head is staying forward.

A lot of the time, people who are hitting some fat shots may be moving their heads backwards when they begin downswinging. This of course ends up resulting in a hit behind of the golf ball, and you’re gonna end up throwing a huge chunk of the green up into the air.

Just keep doing this drill over and over until you get used to the right position. Then, start practicing it at the range, so that you can have a better idea of how it works. Once you get used to doing this drill over and over, your days of hitting frequent fat shots will be over!

Final Thoughts

Golf is a technically difficult sport. If you think that you are going to get into golf and be great at it right from the outset, prepare to be disappointed! Unless you’re a natural prodigy, chances are there are a ton of different ways in which you can improve your game. It’s rare for people to be immediately great at this sport, and that’s simply the truth. But hey, at least everyone starts mostly from the same spot – and you won’t need to be worried about making mistakes.

Indeed, golf is a challenging sport. But it is also extremely fulfilling! There are so many different ways in which you can improve your golf game. And not all of them involve getting the best of the best in terms of equipment. You don’t even have to dedicate all of your time trying to get good at it! One of those ways is learning how to stop hitting fat and thin golf shots – which is exactly what we’ve covered here today.

We hope that you’ve learned something from this article here today. And hey, if your golf score improves, we are happy for you. Happy golfing!