Hitting a golf shot thin is one of those mistakes that you know you’ve made from the instant you make contact with the ball.

Why Do I Hit Iron Shots Thin - Four Questions and Answers?

There is really no secret about what has gone wrong – you’ve hit the ball too low on the club face, and the shot is unlikely to get up off the ground at all. Even if it does leave the ground for a while, it almost certainly won’t reach your target, and it might find its way into a pretty nasty spot. Needless to say, your game will be much better off if you can remove as many thin shots from the equation as possible.

You can hit a thin shot with any club – yes, even the putter – but this is usually an issue in the iron game more than anywhere else. For that reason, we are going to focus our attention in this article on helping you get rid of the pattern of thin iron shots in your game. There are specific swing mistakes which tend to lead to thin contact, and we will discuss those below. Also, we will talk about how you can get in the right frame of mind to strike the ball cleanly as often as possible.

It is important to remember that distance control is the biggest key to a solid iron game, and controlling your distances starts with striking the ball on the sweet spot. If you miss the sweet spot by a significant margin, all of the pre-shot planning you did will be wasted. It won’t matter if you picked the right club for the shot because you aren’t going to get the expected distance out of your iron, anyway. If you need any motivation to get out and work on correcting the problem of thin shots, just remember that your distance control ability is almost sure to improve when thin shots are not a regular part of your game.

All of the content below is based on a right-handed golfer. If you happen to play left-handed, please take a moment to reverse the directions as necessary.

What Are The Common Causes?

What Are The Common Causes?

It is frustrating to settle into a pattern of hitting thin iron shots. These shots are inevitably going to hurt your score, and they’ll probably cause you to not have quite as much fun as usual on the golf course. While you would like to solve the problem right away, you might not know where to start. What is it that is causing these thin shots in the first place? Let’s work on answering that question in this section.

The following list includes a number of common causes associated with thin iron shots.

  • Looking up early. This list had to start with this point, because it is likely the leading cause of the thin iron shots which haunt so many players. When you are hitting an iron shot – specifically an approach shot with a wedge or other short iron – you are going to be tempted to look up early to see how you’ve done. You will be excited to see if the ball is traveling on line, as an accurate approach shot will set up a birdie opportunity. There is only one problem – if you look up too early, even by a fraction of a second, you may wind up making thin contact. The issue here is the connection between your head and the rest of your body. When you look up, your head is going to move up away from the ball, at least slightly. As that happens, the level of the rest of your body is sure to come along for the ride. In the end, the club will be a little too high at the bottom of the swing, and thin contact will be the outcome. Remember, this move doesn’t have to be dramatic in order to be costly. Even raising the level of your club by a fraction of an inch can be enough to turn a good shot into a thin one.
  • Too much hand action at the bottom of the swing. Many amateur golfers seem to think that they need to use their hands actively as the club approaches the hitting area, but that simply isn’t the case. For most shots, your hands should be relatively quiet as you turn through the ball and toward your finish. When you rotate your body correctly, the club face will turn into a square position without your hands needing to do much at all. There will be some movement in your hands and wrists at the bottom of the swing, of course, but that movement should be a reaction to the swing rather than an intentional act. If you do let your hands play too much of a role at the bottom of the swing, it’s likely that you will cause the club head to move back up away from the turf prior to impact. And, of course, such a movement is going to lead to a thin iron shot. The key point to focus on with regard to this topic is the back of your left wrist. If you can keep your left wrist in a mostly flat position, it should be much easier to track the club face perfectly into the ball for a clean strike.
  • Rushing from the top. Another potential cause of a thin iron shot is rushing your tempo from the top of the backswing down toward the ball. Amateur golfers who lack confidence in their swings tend to make this mistake, as they want to get the shot over with as quickly as possible. Also, players who are focused solely on maxing out their distance capabilities are at risk for rushing. There is no good reason to rush a golf swing since the ball is just sitting on the ground waiting for the club to arrive. It’s not going anywhere, so take your time and let your swing build naturally until you are ready to make the strike. The problem with rushing from the top is that your lower body won’t have enough time to get through the ball before the club arrives. Since your lower body hasn’t gotten out of the way, the swing will get steep as it approaches the ball – this will lead to either fat or thin contact, depending on what you do with your hands.
  • Poor ball position. It is possible that your thin iron shots are a result of nothing more than placing the ball in the wrong spot at address. If the ball is too far forward in your stance, your club may begin to move back up away from the turf before you are able to make contact. As a result, it is likely that you will strike the ball too low on the face, and the shot will not come off as expected. Moving the ball back in your stance is the obvious solution here but be careful not to go too far with that adjustment. You can get into trouble when the ball is too far back, as well, since your swing will be steep and you might not be able to turn all the way through the shot. Experimenting with different ball positions on the range is the best way to find a spot that works nicely for your game.

It’s likely that your thin iron shots are caused by one (or more) of the mistakes listed above, but there are other possibilities as well. Try to think back to some of your recent thin shots and do your best to determine what it was that caused those shots to go wrong. Also, when you hit thin shots during upcoming rounds, pause for a moment right after the shot to think about what happened. With any luck, you’ll be able to diagnose the root cause of the problem, so you can get down to work on a fix as soon as possible.

Where to Start?

Where to Start?

Heading out to the driving range for a practice session can be a little overwhelming at times. You are excited to get out and work on your game, but you may not know where to begin. After all, most amateur golfers have plenty of problems in their games to address, so it’s not like you are lacking for things to practice. To make sure you get the most possible productivity from a given practice session, settle on one or two things in advance that you are going to work on that day.

In this case, of course, you are going to be working on correcting your thin shots. However, if you just go to the range with the goal of getting rid of your fat shots, you probably won’t be happy with the results. Golf practice is most beneficial when it is extremely focused, and ‘getting rid of thin shots’ is simply too general to be a useful goal. Instead, you should be targeting the root cause of those thin shots. For instance, you should be working on turning your body through the ball more successfully on each swing, or on taking your hands out of the action at the bottom. Whatever the case, pinpointing a specific swing key is far more valuable than just generally trying to hit a good shot.

To help you spend your time on the range wisely, we have listed a few more practice tips below.

  • Reset after each shot. It is common to see golfers on the typical driving range employing the ‘rapid fire’ method when it comes to practice. In other words, they stand on the range with a bucket of balls nearby, and they make one swing after the next in rapid succession. This might seem like an efficient way to practice, since you are hitting a lot of shots in a short period of time, but it is actually not all that productive in the end. The problem is you aren’t practicing anything that you will actually do on the golf course. You’ll never hit 30 or 40 shots in a row in quick succession on the golf course, so why would you do it in practice? Instead, try stepping back from your hitting area after each and every swing in order to reset. Take a moment to analyze the previous swing, pick out a new target (and maybe a new club) for the next swing, and then step back up to your hitting area. In this way, you can make your practice sessions far more useful in terms of preparing yourself for your next round. If you can get away from thin shots while performing this kind of practice routine, you can feel confident that the problem won’t pop back up once you do get onto the course.
  • Focus. This is a simple tip, but it is important nonetheless. A large percentage of golfers don’t focus particularly well while practicing, instead choosing to distract themselves by talking to others, checking their phone, or whatever else they may find to do. When you head to the range for a practice session with the purpose of improving your game, make improvement the number one goal for that period of time. Whether you are trying to get rid of thin shots or take any other error out of your swing, dedicate yourself to the task and stay focused until you are done. You don’t get better at golf by simply walking out to the driving range and hitting balls aimlessly. You need to focus if you are really going to improve, so make sure you are up to the task each time you head out to practice.
  • Seek out variety. It is easy to settle into a pattern when practicing golf where you only hit the same clubs to the same targets down the range. Again, this is not a very good way to practice because it doesn’t accurately represent what you are going to do on the course. When playing a real round of golf, you are going to face an endless stream of unique challenges from the first hole to the last. While you might not be able to replicate that degree of variety on the range, you can at least change clubs frequently and aim at as many different targets as possible. Not only will this type of practice be more useful in the long run, it will be more engaging and entertaining, as well.

As you work toward reducing the number of thin iron shots you hit in your game, you will have to dedicate yourself to quality practice sessions. Improvement in golf comes to those who are willing to work for it, and those who aren’t tend to remain at about the same level of play for their entire golfing lives. If you are committed to achieving better results, there is no getting around the fact that you’ll need to work for your improvements.

How To Improve Your Odds?

How To Improve Your Odds?

We have already mentioned in this article that you are never going to completely eliminate thin shots from your game. The club swings through the ball at a high rate of speed, and sometimes you just aren’t going to make good contact. That means there will be some thin shots along the way, and there will be some fat shots, as well. As long as these mistakes are relatively few and far between, they shouldn’t pose too much of a problem for your game as a whole.

With that said, there are steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of hitting the ball thin. One step, of course, is to improve your technique. Another step, one which we will address in this section, has to do with making good decisions. By being smart as you make your way around the golf course, you can lower your chances of hitting the ball thin.

How does this work? Let’s look at the tips below for a better idea.

  • Pick the right shot in the right situation. Some thin shots result from nothing more than attempting a shot which is not the right choice given the situation you are facing. For instance, if you try to hit a long iron shot from a severe downslope, you are just asking for trouble. It is extremely difficult to swing down the slope well enough to catch the ball on the sweet spot when attempting such a shot. The most likely outcome here is a thin shot, even if your technique is fine. By opting for another plan, you can lessen the chances that you’ll wind up hitting the ball thin.
  • Don’t force distance. Another way to get yourself in trouble with thin shots is to push the limits of your distance capabilities. In other words, if you pick a club for a given shot which will require you to swing extra hard in order to reach the target, it will be more likely that you will hit the ball thin. Players who try to hit a shot hard usually lean back away from the target in the downswing, and when they do, it is very likely that thin contact will be made. Do your best to always stay within yourself when it comes to distance expectations. Focus on balance instead of raw power and you should be able to do a better job of striking the ball cleanly.
  • Play to comfortable targets. As you already know, looking up early is a common cause of thin golf shots. To make it easier to keep your head down while swinging through impact, try picking safer targets for most of your shots. When you play to a target that provides you with plenty of margin for error, you will be less likely to look up early because you won’t be as worried about the result. It is those shots which are played to narrow, dangerous targets that are more likely to cause you to take an early peek.

Good decision making can go a long way in golf. Whether you are trying to avoid thin shots, or you are just trying to make it around the course safely, making smart choices is an important step in the process.

Why You Thin Short Game Shots?

Why You Thin Short Game Shots?

Unfortunately, thin golf shots don’t just occur when making full swings. These mistakes can pop up in the short game as well, where they can be just as frustrating. When you hit a short game shot thin, it is almost certain that the ball is going to shoot past the target and into trouble on the other side of the green. Just like with the full swing, learning how to avoid thin contact in the short game is going to lead to far more predictable results.

The short game mistakes which lead to thin shots tend to be similar to those seen in the full swing. You may look up early to see where the ball is going, or you may use too much hand action at the bottom of the swing. Another common one when chipping and pitching is trying to help the ball up off the ground. If you lean away from the target slightly to help the ball get up in the air, you may catch the ball with the leading edge rather than the sweet spot. To get your short game on track and stay away from thin shots, focus on basic fundamentals and be sure to work on your chipping technique regularly.

There are few feelings in golf quite as frustrating as knowing that you have hit a thin shot. You won’t even need to watch the ball travel to know what has happened – you’ll be able to feel it easily at the moment of impact. Reducing the number of thin shots you hit during your rounds will have a positive effect on your scores as well as your enjoyment of this game. We hope the advice offered in this article will point you in the right direction. Good luck!