If you have a hard time determining whether or not you’ve hit a shot fat, you’re probably not far from making solid contact. Consider: If the club enters the turf more than an inch behind your ball, it’s usually easy to tell.
Unfortunately, it’s not so easy to cure a case of the fat shots. It’s one thing to understand that you’re supposed to strike the ball before the ground, but another to actually do it. A visual aid can help.
Next time you visit the driving range, place a golf towel or similar object about 6 inches behind the ball. Make sure the towel lies nice and flat on the ground so your club doesn’t catch it on the takeaway.
Hit several shots with a wedge or 9-iron, with the goal of missing the towel as the club approaches impact. The site of a foreign object so close to the ball will condition (force) you to make a swing that goes over the object.
If the club continually strikes the towel, you’ve got too much weight on your right (back) leg on the downswing. Work on driving off your right side to the left as you come down and through the shot.
Once you’ve hit 10-15 shots without catching the towel, move to the next lower club (i.e. an 8-iron).
Don’t try this drill with a club longer than a 6- or 7-iron, as the shallower angle of approach can cause you to hit the towel even when your swing is fine.