One of the most common swing problems that golfers face is hitting behind the ball, called a fat shot, which can result in poor shots, loss of distance, and frustration. What are the most common causes of hitting behind the golf ball, and how can you fix it?
Hitting behind the golf ball can be caused by several problems, including incorrect approach, sliding your hips, incorrect weight shift, too early wrist release, and trying to hit the ball too hard. You must find which issues are part of your swing to make the necessary correction.
Identifying the cause of hitting behind the ball is crucial to fixing the problem and improving your golf game. We will review the common causes of hitting behind the ball and provide tips and techniques to fix the problem.
Why Are You Hitting Behind The Ball In Your Golf Shots?
Hitting behind the ball refers to making contact with the ground before making contact with the ball during the swing. You may hear golfers refer to this as a fat shot, resulting in a loss of distance and accuracy in your long game.
Several reasons can result in fat shots, and you need to determine which problems are causing your mis-hits so you can rectify your technique and improve your game.
Poor Setup Can Cause Hitting Behind The Golf Ball
Some new golfers are under the misconception that your golf club should not make contact with the ground at all during your shot.
Your golf club should contact the ground during your long game, but the club face should contact the ball before the bottom of the club head contacts the ground.
One of the common causes for hitting before the ball, especially for new golfers, is due to poor setup in your ball approach.
If you are not properly aligned with the ball or have the wrong posture, it can affect your swing and cause you to hit behind it.
The correct position for the ball as you prepare for your shot is with the ball at the midpoint between your feet. If the ball is positioned too far forwards, towards your leading foot, you will likely hit the ground before you make contact with the ball.
Fix your approach. Pay attention to the setup position on every shot. Make sure your alignment and posture are correct before taking each shot. Ensure your feet, hips, and shoulders are properly aligned with the ball and target line, and keep your spine straight and your knees slightly bent.
Sliding Can Cause Hitting Behind The Golf Ball
Sliding or swaying is another swing issue that can result in the club head hitting the ground before making contact with the ball.
This problem is caused by your hips sliding or swaying off the center line, usually towards your back foot, which causes your swing to be too far behind the ball. The resulting downswing with your hips too far off the mid-line will cause the clubhead to hit the ground before the ball.
Fixing the sway or slide. Keep your weight balanced and centered throughout the swing to fix swaying or sliding. Concentrate on rotating your hips rather than letting them slide off the mid-line. Try to maintain a stable base by keeping your feet firmly planted on the ground.
Incorrect Weight-Shift Can Cause Hitting Behind The Ball
Weight shift and balance between your leading and trailing foot are important considerations for properly contacting the golf ball.
If you do not shift your weight properly during the swing, it can lead to hitting behind the ball. A proper weight shift involves shifting your weight onto your back foot during the backswing and then shifting it onto your front foot during the downswing.
If you shift the weight to your leading foot too late in your swing or without enough bias toward your front foot, you could consistently hit the ground behind the ball in your shot.
Developing a proper weight shift. A proper weight shift involves shifting your weight onto your back foot during the backswing, where 75% of your weight should be on the back foot, and then shifting it onto your front foot during the downswing.
At the end of your swing, 80% of your weight should be on your leading or front foot. Practice this movement to develop a consistent weight shift and avoid hitting behind the ball.
Early Wrist Release Can Cause Hitting Behind the Ball
The angle of your wrists during various parts of your swing can influence the arc of the golf club. When you are hitting the ground before the ball, the likely problem is with the wrist angle of your right hand, which is the trailing hand for a righthanded golfer.
What do we mean by wrist release? When you perform your backswing, your left wrist should be straight and flat at the peak of your upswing, but your right wrist should be at an angle, with your knuckles pointing towards your forearm and your thumb towards your shoulder.
As you execute your downswing, the right wrist begins to straighten out and provides some snap to the shot.
However, if your write wrist releases too early and is straight and fully extended before contact is made with the ball, the clubhead can hit the ground before contacting the ball.
How to fix early wrist release. Slowing down your swing and focusing on keeping your right wrist at an angle for longer during the downswing will help you to overcome this problem.
A training aid that I have found useful for this purpose is the Hanger, which clips onto your golf club and gives positive feedback when your wrists are in the right position during your swing.
Trying to Hit Too Hard Can Cause Hitting Behind The Ball
Trying to hit the ball too hard in golf is called overswinging and can result in the club making contact with the ground before the ball.
The reason for this cause is when you try to put too much brute force into the swing and your technique, posture, and form all go out the window, and the club invariably makes ground contact first.
Fixing overswing. If you are overswinging or trying to hit the ball too hard, focus on shortening your swing and making a smoother, more controlled swing. This will help you maintain control and make better, cleaner contact with the ball.
I have created a table to summarize the main causes of hitting the ground before the ball and the recommended fixes to use as a quick reference.
|Cause Of Hitting Behind The Ball||How To Fix The Problem|
|Poor setup position||Correct alignment and posture|
|Swaying or sliding during the swing||Maintain a stable base and balanced weight throughout the swing|
|Lack of weight shift during the swing||Develop a proper weight shift by shifting weight onto the back foot during the backswing and onto the front foot during the downswing|
|Early release of the wrists||Maintain a wrist hinge through the downswing|
|Overswinging or trying to hit the ball too hard||Shorten the swing and focus on making a smoother, more controlled swing|
Hitting behind the ball can be a frustrating problem for golfers of all skill levels. However, by identifying the cause of the problem and using the tips and techniques I have outlined, you can fix the problem and improve your game.
Remember to practice consistently and be patient to avoid hitting behind the ball. You can achieve a more consistent and accurate swing with time and practice. Practice each of these techniques consistently and to seek the help of a golf instructor if you are having difficulty fixing the problem.