What Causes Fat Golf Iron Shots

Last updated: August 9, 2021

Having a solid iron play is critical for winning games and eventually tournaments, as evidenced by our Players Championship winners’ study. However, a lot of us struggle during their approach play when they have to use irons to reach the green safely.

One of the most frustrating issues that golfers face is hitting fat shots. Hitting fat shots is one of the most pressing issues that troubles golfers globally. Apart from amateurs, some pros with years of experience also find themselves hitting fat shots sometimes. 

You need to eliminate fat shots from your game if you want to master iron play. If you’re wondering how you’ll manage that, don’t worry, we’re here to help.

This article will explore all the different aspects associated with fat golf iron shots. We’ll explain what fat shots are, what causes them, and how you can stop hitting fat shots. 

What Are Fat Shots

In simple terms, a fat shot is one where you hit the ground before the golf ball. Instead of pinching the back of the ball during the downswing, the club bottoms out and digs behind the ball. Fat shots are among the most dreaded and embarrassing shots, even more than a slice or a hook.

Not only will it cost you an unnecessary stroke, but you’ll also never hear the end of it from your golf buddies. And most importantly, hitting fat shots consistently can cause serious injury to your wrists, arms, or shoulders. 

Fat shots are more common with long irons. That is why several golfers are switching over to hybrid golf clubs

Related: Golf irons buyers guide

What Causes Fat Shots

If you’re someone who hits more fat shots than regular shots, you might want to find the reason why. Golfers hit fat shots for a number of different reasons. We have listed the most common ones down below. 

  1. The number one reason why golfers hit fat shots regularly is undoubtedly their ball placement. Most of them tend to place their golf ball too far forward (towards the target) than they should. The ideal ball position is slightly ahead to the center of both your feet. If this is the reason for your fat shots, you must identify them as soon as possible. If not done early, your body will compensate for the inadequate ball position by modifying your swing technique and eventually affect your performance. 
  2. Another reason for frequent fat shots is poor understanding of iron hitting technique. Many players get extra cautious and focus too much on not hitting the ground. For that reason, they try to hit the ball first or the ball and the ground simultaneously, which is a horrible mistake. When struck correctly, the iron’s clubhead strikes the ball’s back on its way down to hit the ground, causing the divot to be slightly in front of the golf ball. 
  3. Improper posture, weight distribution, and swing technique are some more reasons why golfers hit fat shots repeatedly. Many golfers are doing any one or all of these when they hit irons without even realizing it. Players keep the majority of their weight on their right foot (for right-handed golfers) and lean back during the downswing, hitting the ground first in the process. 

How To Stop Hitting Fat Golf Iron Shots

After identifying why you keep hitting the ball fat, the next step is to fix it. As we have explained above, improper posture and swing technique are among the primary culprits for fat shots.

Here is the correct posture and swing technique you should use to avoid hitting fat shots. 

Related: Best Tips For Hitting Irons Perfectly Every Time

Stance and Posture

Start by keeping your feet shoulders width apart. The next part concerns ball placement and is of paramount importance if improper ball position is causing you to hit fat shots.

Place the ball roughly a couple of feet away from you. The perfect ball position lies somewhere in the center of your feet. But for long irons, a little bit forward than middle will work too. 

If the ball is too far back, you are more likely to hit the ground first. And if the ball is too forward, you’ll probably hit the ball too high, causing a thin shot, often leading to a slice.

Slightly bend your torso so your sternum and chest are directly above the ball with a minute tilt towards the left. In addition, try not to distribute your body evenly on both your feet. Instead, tip the balance slightly in favor of your left foot. Roughly 60% of your weight should rest on your front leg. 

Swing Tips 

The key to avoiding fat shots is to keep your head as still as possible during the downswing and the backswing. You need to concentrate on executing the downswing so that the clubhead’s path direction is downwards into the ball. 

You can do that by moving your sternum a little beyond the ball position and rotating your upper body to the left around your front leg. You have to do both of these as you’re coming down into the ball. 

Simultaneously, you need to alter your weight distribution. From a nearly even distribution, you need to shift the majority of your weight onto your left (forward) leg.

By the end of the follow-through, roughly 90% of your weight should be on your front leg. After the follow-through, you should completely extend your arms without any bend at the elbow.

Scroll to Top