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The Chunk
How To Stop Hitting It Fat

Avoid hitting fat or chunky shotsLearn How to Avoid the Chunk

Fat, heavy, chunky, behind, chili dip...whatever you want to call it...it's not good. Hitting the ground before the ball hurts! It hurts you physically, but it really hurts your score as you lose significant distance. A thin shot can advance and not put too much of a damper on your score, but when you meet earth before you meet ball, it's never a happy ending. We've all been there. A big wind up, 100% of our effort and strength and then thud! The earth flies farther than our ball.

Why does your club strike the ground first? Simply put, the bottom point of your arc is behind the ball rather than in front of your ball as it should be. It's really that simple! When hitting most shots in golf you want CBG (club, ball, ground) contact in that order. Obviously some shots are different such as sand, where we actually want club, ground, ball contact as we intentionally hit the sand first.

Factors that affect where your club bottoms out in the swing include weight distribution, ball position, posture and release. Let's explore each of these individually.

  • Weight Distribution - If your weight or center of gravity is leaning back behind the ball, that's where your club will bottom out.
  • Ball Position - If you have the ball positioned too far forward in your stance, your club will hit the bottom of its arc before it gets to the ball.
  • Release - If you are releasing the club head to soon and allowing it to catch up to your hands before you get to the ball, you will bottom out too soon.
  • Posture - If you are changing your posture and dipping down during the swing chances are your club will hit down too deep, but also behind the ball as you probably aren't shifting forward properly.

Knowing how each of the above factors affect the bottom point of your arc can put you well on your way to correcting fat shots. Simply diagnose your swing to determine which one is the culprit in preventing you from CBG contact and you will be able to catch your shots clean imparting spin, control and distance on the ball.

The Situation:

You club is hitting the ground behind the ball.

The Solution:

The first thing you should check is your ball position. For irons, play the ball either middle or one ball forward of the center of your chance. For fairway woods and hybrids place the ball 2 balls forward of center. Next, check to make sure that your weight is over the ball at impact and that you are making a full finish onto your front foot. Although not the most common cause, make sure that your are not dipping or dropping down through the shot with your head and upper body. Whatever distance you establish between your sternum and the ball at address should be maintained throughout the swing until the finish. Lastly, the club head should not catch up to your hands until the moment of impact. As long as the club head trails your hands it is still descending. The moment it catches up to your hands it bottoms out and then will start its ascent. Your rear wrist should remain bent backwards until impact.

Maria Palozola

Maria Palozola is a member of the LPGA and has participated in multiple LPGA Tour events. She has provided instruction to thousands of students in the past 20+ years and has won multiple teaching awards from the LPGA, Golf Digest, and Golf Magazine including being ranked as one of the top 50 female instructors in the world.

Who is Maria Palozola?
- Top 50 LPGA Instructors in the World
- A Golf Digest Top 10 Teacher in Illinois
- A Golf Magazine Top Teacher in the Midwest
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