If you’re looking up how to stop hitting behind the golf ball, there’s a chance you’ve come across a few different terms.
Fat shots, chunked shots, husky, some even call it ‘chili-dipping’ – though I’m yet to come across any golfers that call it that.
Either way, if you’re hitting a fat or chunked shot you’re probably wondering how to stop hitting behind the golf ball.
Fear not! As this is a fairly common swing error, it’s pretty easy to diagnose and usually fairly simple to fix.
As long as you’re not bending your clubs out of shape every time you hit the ball, a fat shot is no case for concern – except if you’re chunking every shot you make.
Most like you want to know how to stop hitting behind the golf ball with irons on the fly, while you’re playing a round, so it’s best to know how to address this kind of problem before it turns up.
The best way to fix a swing error is to make sure it never happens, so keep reading as we go over how to stop hitting behind the golf ball, and how to make sure it doesn’t happen again!
Let’s get started!
How to stop hitting behind the golf ball
Why You’re hitting behind the ball
There a three main reasons why you’re hitting behind the ball, but there’s always a chance you’re doing it for another reason.
While that might be the case, we’re fairly sure it’s one of these three. either way, you should try and fix the issue in the same way.
1. Maintaining your Spine Angle
Keeping your spine angle consistent throughout your entire swing can be the cause of a number of swing errors, including hitting behind the ball.
Your body should rotate around your spine, like a pillar, as you make your swing.
Golfers who struggle with maintaining their spine angle throughout their swing usually do so because they stand up in their downswing, which alters their swing plane and causes their clubface to connect with the ground rather than their ball.
2. Sliding instead of turning
Another common reason for hitting fat shots is sliding in your downswing rather than turning around your body.
A big part of this is your weight distribution through your swing. You accomplish this properly by turning around your fixed spine angle and shifting your weight through your legs as you make your swing.
You might want to work on your stance as well if this is something you struggle with.
The easiest way to find out if this is the cause of your fat shot is to film your swing. Good analysis is the key to any successful golfer’s skill!
3. Head Movement
A big reason why you may be looking up how to stop hitting behind the golf ball is because you’re bobbing your head in your swing.
This is a hard one to self-diagnose, most swings are over so quickly it’s hard to tell what went wrong.
This is essentially the same problem as the previous two with one main difference – you’re taking your eye off of the ball.
It’s true what they say: keep your eye on the prize!
How to Stop hitting behind the ball with irons
1. Tuck your shoulder under your chin
Tucking your shoulder is a really important part of any good swing and can help you if you struggle with all of the causes of a fat shot as listed above.
The shoulder we’re referring to is the shoulder closest to your target, or your left shoulder if you’re right-handed.
As you pull your club through your backswing, keep your front arm straight and bring it up so that it sits right under your chin.
Making sure you plant your shoulder in this position will help you keep your head stationary in your swing and can help you reinforce your spine angle.
But most importantly, it sets a precedent for the rotation of your swing.
By keeping your arm straight and your shoulder tucked, your swing becomes like a pendulum that swings around your body.
2. Shaft Lean
This might surprise some, but your club shaft lean at address can be a factor as to why you’re hitting fat shots, and if you want to learn how to stop hitting behind the golf ball, you’ll need to address it.
Essentially, if you’re over-leaning with your club as you setup, you’re reducing the distance between your hands and the ground.
If you don’t have your wrist set right during your swing this can cause a fat shot, similarly if you don’t transfer your weight properly during your swing your club will hit the ground instead of the ball.
Shaft lean at address is useful for getting some good loft on the ball and making sure that you get under the ball, but you don’t need too much of it.
Ideally, if you’re purposefully leaning your club forwards, you don’t want your hands much further than just in front of the ball. Different shots might call for more lean, but you can also just rely on the loft of your club and use it to your advantage.
For example, you won’t need much shaft lean if you’re using a pitching wedge.
3. Get your ball position right
If you’re hitting fat shots regularly, there’s a chance you’re getting your ball position wrong.
There are general rules of thumb that can help you, but if you need to know how to stop hitting behind the golf ball, you’re probably positioning your ball too far forward in your stance.
Where you position the ball has to do with what kind of shot you’re making and what club you’re using.
If you’re using your driver, position your ball on a tee in line with the inside of your front foot.
If you’re hitting the ground before your ball with your driver, there’s a strong chance you’re stood too close to the ball.
To make sure you get this right, use your club get to your distance right:
- Position your club face behind the ball as if you were about to begin your swing.
- Step back while keeping the club in the same position relative to the golf ball.
- Let your arms hang down. If the butt of your club shaft is around 6 inches from your belt buckle and your club is in the same position, you’re stood the right distance from the ball!
If you’re using an iron, position the ball more central in your position. If your clubs are sized correctly, getting your ball position right should help you stop hitting behind the ball.
You can use the drill above to help you get the distance away from the ball right with your irons as well.
4. Fix your stance
Learning how to stop hitting behind the golf ball comes down to this: getting your stance right.
Chances are, there’s something wrong with your position and that’s why you’re hitting fat shots.
There are a few steps you need to take to make sure your stance is correct, but the quickest way to do so is to film your swing.
Firstly, you want to get your feet right. Around shoulder width apart with your irons and slightly further with your driver.
You also want to flex your knees and hinge at the waist. If you’re hitting behind the golf ball consistently, you could be bending your knees too much.
A good way to think about it is that you’re just allowing your knees to flex in your swing. You’re not squatting down, it’s just a flex.
As for your waist hinge, there’s a good way to get it right but some might find it a bit disgusting.
To check your waist hinge is correct, you can spit (or just think about spitting) straight down once in position. If that spit lands (or would land) in-between your feet, you’re in the right position!
Next, you want to pull your shoulders back, puff your chest, and keep your head up.
Keeping your head up will also help you maintain your spine angle, which as we’ve discussed earlier, is imperative to learning how to stop hitting behind the golf ball.
If you get your stance right, you’ll be getting out of the way of your swing, giving yourself room to properly rotate around the pillar that is your spine angle and connect with the ball.
If you’re stance is wrong and your stance is all bunched up, your swing plane will be off and there’s a big chance you’ll hit the ground before the ball.
So, that’s our guide on how to stop hitting behind the golf ball!
There are a number of different reasons that might cause you to hit a fat shot, but the chances are if you’re doing it consistently it will be a number of the causes as listed above.
Just remember to relax. A tense swing can be the cause of many other swing errors and can really ruin your scorecard if you let it get to you.
Also, remember to not be embarrassed if you hit a fat shot. Everyone does from time to time! Just make sure you learn from your mistakes and keep improving!