Chunking Golf shots – How to not chunk a golf shot

One of the most frustrating swing errors for any golfer is the dreaded chunk. There’s not much worse than taking a big chunk out of the fairway and watching your ball dribble away, adding another stroke to your scorecard.

But don’t despair! We’ve all been there before, even the pros, and there are plenty of ways to diagnose why you may be chunking golf shots and plenty of ways to fix that problem.

While the chunk might muddy your clubs, your clothes, and your day, it doesn’t have to be a persistent problem and is actually a fairly simple issue to resolve.

All the chunk is is your club hitting the ground instead of your ball.

A lot of golfers will tell you that all you need to do is focus on the ball and never take your eyes off of it, but we know that there are many more reasons that you might be chunking golf shots and ‘keeping your eye on the ball’ just isn’t enough of a fix.

Since chunking is such an easy problem to come across, it’s also an easy problem to fix!

So keep reading as we get into how to not chunk a golf shot, and why you might be chunking golf shots in the first place.

Let’s get started!

Chunking golf shots. An iron club chunking the golf ball.

Why You’re chunking golf shots – and how to stop.

1. Incorrect Stance

A good golf stance is the foundation of any good swing. Therefore, the first step any golfer should take when they encounter an error in their swing is making sure their stance is correct.

The most common stance error that can cause you to chunk your shot is is having a too crowded posture.

You want to make sure that your arms have enough room to swing through the ball, rolling your shoulders forward and not having enough knee flexion can cause your stance to be too crowded and ruin your shot.

As with every shot, you want to make sure that as you set up your knees are flexed, your waist is hinged, your feet are in position, your shoulders aren’t rolled forward, and your arms are relaxed.

It might sound like a lot to remember, but this is golf 101!

Too much tension in your swing can cause you to have an incorrect stance, you want to stay loose before you start your backswing.

Once in position, let your arms hang down. Your grip strength will keep the club in position and ready to coil up through your backswing.

This can also help you fix early extension in your golf swing, but that’s a problem for another time.

A golfer prepares to hit a golf ball on the fairway.

2. ball Position

If your chunking your shots, you’re hitting the ground instead of hitting the ball. One of the most obvious reasons why you’re doing this is that the ball is positioned too far forward in your stance.

If your ball is too far forward in your stance, you’re likely to either top, thin, or chunk the golf ball.

You want the ball to be in the center of your stance as you set up for your swing. In the often used visualisation to make sure your ball is in the correct position, if you were to spit while in your stance, your spit should land in line with the ball.

That being said, having the ball slightly more forward in your stance is the right thing to do when using your driver. This is because your ball will be raised up on a tee when driving and you need to hit up on the ball with your driver in order to give it enough loft.

A good way to remember how far away the ball should be when setting up for your swing is that it should be the distance of your golf club. Quite simple really!

It should be the far enough away for you to make your swing, but not so far that you have to reach in your swing.

A golfer chunks the golf ball.

3. Not enough rotation in your swing

Many non-golfers assume that the bulk of your swing comes from your arms, and that’s definitely what it looks like on the outside but we golfers know that’s not the case.

A great golf swing is all about the rotation of your body, the coiling of your arms through your backswing, and the release in your downswing.

A swing that replicates a pendulum is great for putting or for hitting a chip and run, but for a long shot or a drive, you need the full swing motion.

Limiting the full motion of the swing can affect your swing plane, which can lead to you reaching the apex of your swing in front of the ball, therefore chunking your shot.

4. Wrong club size

This point may seem too obvious, but you’d be surprised how many golfers start off their golfing career with clubs that are the wrong size.

Having improperly sized clubs can lead to a whole string of swing errors, but most likely is the chunk.

If your club is too long, the center of your swing path will be in front of the golf ball.

Conversely, if your clubs are too short you’re still at risk of hitting a chunk. Many golfers attempt to unconsciously fix their swing while they are making it, which can make them reach for the ball, which is also the cause of plenty of chunked shots.

The obvious remedy is to get yourself a club set that is correctly sized, but that can be quite an expensive decision.

You want to make sure you know what clubs you want before you buy so that there are no gaps in your club bag and buy the right clubs before it affects your scorecard.

A young golfer hits a ball out of a bunker.

5. Your Swing Plane is too steep

If you’re chunking golf shots, there’s a chance it’s because you’re trying to be too technical, or reaching beyond your current set of abilities.

A steep swing plane, or hitting down on the ball, can be a great way to get some backspin on your ball. It’s also just a good technique to chip the ball, or get some good loft in your swing.

However, a too steep swing plane can lead to you chunking golf shots and driving your club straight into the ground.

To hit a good shot with a steep swing plane, you want to use your club’s bounce to your advantage.

The bounce is the angled, flat section on the bottom of your club, adjoined to the club face.

The bounce’s purpose is in the name, it helps your club bounce along the turf rather than digging in and causing you to hit a chunked shot.

Take a good look at the bounce on your club next time you have a chance. The angle of the bounce is also the angle of the optimum swing plane for that club, but don’t worry – it doesn’t have to be perfect!

Another reason that your swing plane is too steep could be that your legs are too far apart. You want your legs to be around shoulder length apart for the best swing plane if you want to stop chunking golf shots.

This should mean that, if your clubs are sized correctly, you won’t have to reach when making your swing and you’ll miss the ground and follow straight through the golf ball.

A golf club next to three balls on a driving range tee.

6. club lean

This tip is all about your setup with the club. Angling your club slightly forward in your setup, meaning having your hands gripping the club in front of the ball but your club face behind the ball, can help you get a good lofty shot.

However, it can also be the reason why you’re chunking golf shots.

This is because by angling the club shaft forwards, the distance of your hands to the ground is shorter than if the club was angled straight up.

If your wrist set comes undone or weakens during your swing, this distance will increase, which can cause you to hit a chunked shot.

The best fix for this? Be reasonable.

No one needs to have their club angled so drastically that their hands are a good 6-7 inches ahead of the golf ball, that’s just going to cause far more problems than it’s good for.

Do what feels right, but don’t go crazy. The right amount of shaft angle will differ from golfer to golfer, especially depending on your clubs. Some offset clubs require slightly more of a lean than other clubs, but it’s really up to your discretion.

So that’s our guide on how to not chunk a golf shot!

There are clearly plenty of reasons why you’re chunking golf shots and plenty of fixes for this very common issue.

The best way to go about fixing any swing error is by troubleshooting the problem. If you chunk a golf shot tomorrow on the course, analyse your swing afterwards. What was it that caused it?

Being able to analyze our own game in golf is imperative to improving at the sport. Only you can figure out exactly what it is that caused the problem you’ve discovered, we can only offer you some solutions!

So keep reading and find out more ways to address your swing errors!

Find out why some people find golf difficult, and how to improve!

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