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HELP !! Hitting it fat with my irons consistently ...

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

I can hit my irons just fine at the driving range, but on the course, I'm hitting an alarming amount of fat shots (improper divots - I'm focusing on hands ahead at contact, and lagging the club).    It's to the point where I'm hurting my elbow, I'm digging so much turf (I'm not trying to spin the ball or make divots at all).      I'm a relatively new golfer, but never had this problem before ... I know it's tough to diagnose without seeing someones swing ... but are there some common rule of thumbs (stance adjustment, etc)  to avoid hitting it fat  ?       There's so much dirt on my clubs at the end of a round, they look more like gardening tools than golf clubs.    THanks !


Edited by inthehole - 3/5/11 at 12:34am
post #2 of 23

Not going to give you any technique advice, but just this.  Don't work on your swing when you're playing.  Set up and swing.  Trying to focus on anything beyond swinging your swing is asking your brain and body to disconnect and that's a recipe for unintended compensations of the sort that can lead to poor contact.  Work on your swing on the range, trust your swing on the course.

post #3 of 23
I've had lots of problems hitting fat myself. I've also hurt my left elbow from doing it too much. I share with you some of my limited experience:

- Where is your weight distributed? If you keep your weight centered during the backswing (eg, no shift to the right foot) and only shift it left during the swing, it makes it harder to come down fat. A reverse pivot makes it just plain easy to hit fat; at least investigate whether you have a reverse pivot.

- Where do you play the ball in your stance? It's possible you happen to have it a little too far forward for your natural low point.

- One thing that helped me hit down on the ball (and thus avoid hitting fat) was picking a spot about 2 or 3 inches beyond the ball, and then focusing my eyes there and aiming to make contact with the ground at that point. If you hit down on the ball well you'll hit the ground after the ball, maying specifically aiming to accomplish that would help.

- Don't flip. Premature-extension of the left wrist and right arm causes me to actually start to extend my right wrist as well at the bottom of my swing, and my right wrist was barely cocked to begin with. Extending what was never retracted causes my swing to get lower than it should be, thus intersecting the ground prematurely.

- How steep is your swing? Being very steep doesn't have to cause you to hit fat, but if it's too steep then flattening out could help you fix hitting fat.

[edit]
BTW, I'm not emphasizing ball placement as a cause of hitting fat. A good swing should be able to hit it in a variety of positions, it's just that if you naturally currently have a low point farther back in your swing you might be making things extra hard on yourself by putting the ball too far up in your stance. Just a small thing to think about, I debated even including it.

Also, I forgot to mention: If you practice on mats, you probably ARE hitting fat during practice, you just don't notice it. Mats are very forgiving of fat shots (especially the very thick ones) and they mask how fat you hit. You can be hitting marginally fat all day at the range and possibly not even notice it. Here's a test: Place the thin end of a tee about an inch (depending on how steep your swing is) behind your iron as it addresses the ball and then hit the ball. If you hit the tee, you hit fat. If you avoid the tee, move it up a fraction of an inch and then try again. You should probably be able to get the tee to within a half inch of the club without hitting the tee during your swing. Since we tend to play how we practice, my guess guess is that you'll hit the tee.
Edited by B-Con - 3/5/11 at 1:40am
post #4 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by zeg View Post

Not going to give you any technique advice, but just this.  Don't work on your swing when you're playing.  Set up and swing.  Trying to focus on anything beyond swinging your swing is asking your brain and body to disconnect and that's a recipe for unintended compensations of the sort that can lead to poor contact.  Work on your swing on the range, trust your swing on the course.



I disagree. We often hit the ball better on the range, and swing flaws more easily creep back in on the course. I don't get the whole "don't think on the course, just hit it" idea. Why wouldn't you use the time on course to work on your swing too? It's the place where you are under the most pressure, if you can make a change there, it may stick. I always play with a swing thought, or two at most.

 

When it comes to hitting it fat, I wish I could give you the answer, but I can't. I haven't figured out how to get rid of the fat shots myself yet. Weight too far back and flipping are two things that can cause it. A video would help.

post #5 of 23
Just put a tee over your left ear, move your change to.your right pocket, tuck in your left pant leg and you will be fine. On a serious note, its probably in your head. I find that I set my expectations higher on the course and tense up a bit more. I would say try to relax and have just 1 swing thought on the course. If you hit fine on the range its probably not mechanics, just mental. Good luck.

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post #6 of 23

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeph View Post

When it comes to hitting it fat, I wish I could give you the answer, but I can't. I haven't figured out how to get rid of the fat shots myself yet. Weight too far back and flipping are two things that can cause it. A video would help.

 

Those are basically the only two causes. I've yet to see someone hit a shot fat when one or both of those things weren't happening.

post #7 of 23

I agree that it likely has to do with weight shift or flipping.  I know for myself, it's usually weight shift.  If I allow my weight to get to the outside of my back foot in my backswing, or don't transfer the weight properly to my front foot in the downswing I start hitting it fat.  I find I have a tendency to do it much more often when I'm tired.  If I just focus on keep the weight on the inside of my feet during my backswing/coil I have more success.  Good luck to you, and let us know if you find something that helps

post #8 of 23
Thread Starter 

Great advice guys  - really appreciate the info (I'm fairly confident i'm not transferring weight to the front foot - I always fight my weight being too far back).     Now I have something to work on ... thx !

post #9 of 23

It is often talked about the weight being too far back, and that you wan't to move it forward with the hips. But beware of the upper body, if it moves too far forward, this can cause you to come in steep and hit it fat. This was one of the reasons, or should I say the primary reason, for me hitting it fat a lot. It is easy to try getting the weight forward by moving the upper body forward, but this can cause more fat shots.

 

On my second swing lesson with Evolvr, Dave addressed my upper body movement. I moved my head back on the backswing and too far forward on the downswing. First round I played after that lesson I didn't hit a single shot fat, shooting 78 vs 108 some days earlier, same course. It was incredible how effective that fix was. I have since relapsed a bit, got a little head movement today, but I'll give it some attention now.

 

The left knee is also something to look at. If it bends in towards the other foot, it compromise your balance point and can cause trouble. When I try to keep my left knee more stable, any movement being forward to add bend as the hips turn, my upper body stays more still and I hit it better. Look at this comparison between me and Charlie Wi, paying attention to the left knee. His moves forward, flexing more, while move moves in towards my right foot. When I try to emulate the left knee movement of Charlie here, my upper body stays more stable, and I hit the ball better.

 

To help you more effectively we really need some video, but you can of course try some stuff out yourself.

 

Here is a good drill if upper body movement is an issue: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0qw0r7pDQU

 

Another thread somewhat on the topic: http://thesandtrap.com/forum/thread/43739/quick-question-about-head-movement-in-the-s-t-swing 

post #10 of 23

I've been fighting this for awhile too.  I've found that when I'm on the course, I'm trying to add distance by hitting down and I am subconciously dipping during my downswing causing my center to lower.  The other cause that I've found is swaying to the right during the backswing, and not getting back forward enough on the downswing.

 

I've been trying hard to fix both of those things lately.  I've been giving up distance for more consistent contact, and I would say it's worth it so far. 

post #11 of 23

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeph View Post

I disagree. We often hit the ball better on the range, and swing flaws more easily creep back in on the course. I don't get the whole "don't think on the course, just hit it" idea. Why wouldn't you use the time on course to work on your swing too? It's the place where you are under the most pressure, if you can make a change there, it may stick. I always play with a swing thought, or two at most.

I'm not saying not to think, I'm saying not to try to make a change while you're playing.  Make the change during practice, figure out the feel of the changed swing, and use that swing when you play.  If you have thoughts that help with the swing, great.

 

What I have in mind here is trying to fix a major flaw while you're playing a round.  This was triggered by the OP commenting that he's focusing on hands ahead and lagging.  If he's thinking hard about how to do this while he's out there and not just trying to get a somewhat familiar feel that he developed on the range, I can't say I'm at all surprised by poor contact.  I'm not saying this is the cause of his problems, it wasn't clear from the post what "focusing on" meant, but it set off a red flag to me.

 

Also, I was careful not to say not to work on your swing on the course.  What I mean is not to work on it when you're playing rather than practicing.  If you want to practice on the course, that's fine---at some point you have to.  But from the OP's post it sounded like he was having trouble when he's just trying to play the game, and IMO if he's trying to over-manage the details of his swing every time, that's not going to help.  I know when I do this, my striking goes to hell.

post #12 of 23

What is playing and what is practicing? For a beginner, all rounds are some sort of practice. I'm not talking about having three different things going on, just one thought. If that thought is doing a correct move, I don't see how it can hurt the player. You can make a lot of changes on the range, but they often fade away on the course when you don't focus on them anymore. Making a swing change is also a long process, implementing the playtime in that change can make it go quicker.

 

I never play a round without at least one swing thought. If anything, it keeps my mind off everything else and I may make som progress on that one change. I play golf both to get better and to have fun. When I have a swing thought I usually do that part better, which in turn makes me play better, win win situation.

 

On the course you hit balls over 3-5 hours, if you keep doing the same change all round long, something might stick. As compared to minigunning a bucket or two of balls on the range. I see what you get at, but I'm just trying to point out that the course can be a pretty good place to practice, has been for me anyways. I don't think having one swing thought is overmanaging the swing. All beginners will struggle with playing the game and shoot 120 from time to time, it's because the swing is not good enough.

post #13 of 23

I don't think we actually disagree, Zeph, and I'm decidedly not advocating against having a swing thought or focus.  Obviously you have to practice a change on the course at some point unless your goal is to look pretty on the range.  However, there's a difference between bringing a comfortable swing from the range to the course and trying to develop your swing while you're coping with the pressures of being on the course and playing for a score.

post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by inthehole View Post

Great advice guys  - really appreciate the info (I'm fairly confident i'm not transferring weight to the front foot - I always fight my weight being too far back).     Now I have something to work on ... thx !



You've had expert advice as to potential causes -- too much weight back or flipping.

 

Simple potential remedies?

 

1. Focus on keeping head still during swing (not back or ahead)

2. Turn  hips -- don't try to move weight to the back foot by swaying back (weight will get to the back foot without you trying) Put a shaft against your back hip at address so you don't sway - if you sway instead of turn, your back hip will shove shaft out of way (Vijay Singh does this)

 

Flip?

 

Tour Striker

Impact Bag 

post #15 of 23

You've gotten great advice.  Only thing I'll add is if you're hitting off mats at the range, you're probably hitting fat there as well.

post #16 of 23

Hitting it fat used to be a huge problem for me.  What cured 95% of my fat shots was to go to the Flying Wedge (assuming you are also getting your weight on the forward foot).  Rick Clearwater is demoing the Stack & Tilt method, but the Flying Wedge can be used in most any swing styles.  You may (or may not)  lose a slight amount of distance using this swing, but it more than makes up with consistent contact.

 

 

 

 

Try it with a PW first and work up.

 

Good luck!grin.gif

post #17 of 23
Thread Starter 

Thx again to all - some great advice & now I've got to put some work in at the range ...

post #18 of 23

Great and timely topic for me, I've been hitting them fat on the course also.  I had something good going on the end of last season, hitting them crisp, straight with lots of backspin.  I tried to keep practicing it over the winter but have lost it and trying to get it back again.  Going to the range tonight and work on this tips!

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