A thin golf shot is a mis-hit on the golf ball where the club head strikes the top of the golf ball. As only the top of the golf ball is struck, the ball flies very low and sometimes it may not even leave the ground and because of this, the ball will not travel as far as it could if it were hit into the air.
When you strike the top of the golf ball, it is important to identify why this has happened as there are several reasons that you can produce a thin golf shots.
Initially, check your grip pressure. Grip pressure is one of the main reasons for thin golf shots due to you holding the golf club too tightly. If we said not holding the club was a zero and that squeezing the handle as tightly as you could was a 10, the correct pressure to hold the club at is a 4. If you are not sure of what this would feel like, hold the club with your usual grip and then squeeze the handle as tightly as you can. This is a 10. Now half the pressure in your hands. This is a 5. Now drop to a 4, so that you are holding the club rather than squeezing it. When you squeeze the handle, you make the muscles in your arms work and whenever your muscles work and contract they shorten, so effectively you are pulling the club head up away from the floor and if you swing the club with shortened muscles in your arms, you are now likely to hit the top of the golf ball, or have a complete air shot.
The second check to make if you are hitting thin golf shots is your ball position. The club head swings around you in an arc, or circle. The bottom of this arc is where the club head is at its lowest and the correct place for the bottom of your swing arc is just left of centre of your stance, if you are a right handed golfer. If you play the ball too far forward in your stance, the club head will have reached its lowest point before the ball and will then swing upwards to strike the ball so you are likely to experience the club head connecting with the top of the ball.
Similarly, if you are playing the ball too far back in your stance, you will catch the top of the golf ball as you swing down towards the lowest point of the swing arc and again you will hit a thin golf shot. So ensure you have the correct ball position. Play your wedges and 9 iron from the centre of your stance and then move the ball forward half a ball width for each subsequent club until you have the ball opposite the inside of your left foot for your driver.
With grip and ball position correct, we can now look at your swing. On your downswing, you may be making an over the top movement, where the club head moves over your hands on your downswing and then drops down to the ball at a very steep angle which causes the club head to strike the top of the golf ball. To ensure that you are not making this movement, place a range basket about one foot to the right of the golf ball and three inches on the far side of the target line. Swing the club away from the ball and as you swing back to strike the ball, ensure that you swing inside the basket, rather than hitting it.
If you are still thinning the golf ball you must be releasing the golf club early. This simply means that as you are swinging the club towards the ball on your downswing, you are creating a straight line between your left arm and the club too early and before the club head has reached the ball. This will cause the club head to be at its lowest point before the golf ball and then the club head will start to swing upwards and then strike the ball, catching the top of the ball and producing a thin golf shot. To correct this, place a driver head cover on the target line but outside your right foot. Hover the club head off the floor and swing away from the ball above the head cover. As you swing back down to the ball, work on striking down with the club head towards the ball so that you miss the head cover. This downward action will get you striking the ball much better and stop from hitting Thin Golf Shots.