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Question on Diagnosing Problems:

I'm hitting approach shots thin and often off the toe. I think I'm hanging back a little and slightly coming over the top. Any tips or drills to help me? I hit my drives great but I'm messing up my approach and it is really frustrating me. Thanks.
--Ken I. from Huntington Beach, CA

Hi Ken. Thanks for writing I'm looking forward to helping you improve.

Hitting thin and hitting off of the toe can often be related. It goes without saying that something is causing your club to move up and away from the golf ball through impact. Common culprits are:

1) Losing your balance or falling back onto your heels
2) Setting up too far from the ball
3) Short arming it
4) Standing up or changing your posture

It sounds like you think the issue is hanging back. Chances are then you are leaning back too much and swinging up on the ball dramatically. I would not suspect over the top too much at this point as you would have to be coming over the top and pulling in and across the target line pretty severely to catch the toe. This is not unheard of, but not all that common either. I think we should stick with your first thought and check the following things:

- Make sure that you are only standing one fist away from the ball. What I mean by that is I want the butt end of the grip when you address the ball to be only a fist away from the top of your thighs.

- Check your balance at address and throughout the swing. I always say that your weight should be in your arches where you are naturally balanced. I steer clear of the balls of the feet because I believe it causes most players to lose their balance forward. In this case though, I want you to be more in the arches or on the balls of your feet to prevent falling backwards too much through impact.

- Next, I want to make sure that you are getting your upper body through the shot and not leaning back to the right or standing up. To accomplish this I'm going to give you a free drill to try. This drill is designed to help players get through the ball more. The only way you will contact the ball using the drill is if you move forward onto your front foot and stay down. Give it a try and let me know how it goes.

Chase the Ball Drill:
Chase the Ball Drill



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