Golf Tips And Lessons

How To Eliminate Fat, Thin and Topped Iron Shots

At the top of most golfers' "to fix" lists -- right after the slice and hook -- are the fat, thin, or topped iron shots. The good news is, these common problem areas can be easily fixed with minor adjustments.


For most golfers, the fat or thin iron shot occurs when the center of the swing is too far behind the ball at contact.

When this happens, your club hits the ground first (resulting in a fat shot) or hits the top of the ball (causing a thin shot).

The primary cause of a fat or thin shot is having the head too far behind the ball, which tends to put too much weight on the right foot. You can fix this by moving your head more to the center and making sure your weight is on the left foot at address.

Some golfers get into the habit of tilting the spine to the right more than necessary. This will throw off your swing path and cause the club to hit the ground before it hits the ball. The easy solution is to square your shoulders when you address the ball.

Also make sure you turn your right hip -- not allowing it to slide to the right -- as you begin your backswing.

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One of the more common causes of thin and fat shots with irons is standing too far away from the ball at address. This will cause you to over-reach your arms at impact to get to the ball.

Pulling the arms in at impact can also cause a fat or thin iron shot. The hips have to move out of the way as you bring your arms through or the left arm tends to bend, causing the "chicken wing effect".

When you get your hips forward at impact, your arms will have room to extend at the bottom of your swing.


There are two main things that can cause you to top the golf ball. The first is raising your body up at impact, which also raises the level of the clubhead and results in a topped ball. The main cause of this is tilting too far forward at address.

The second trigger is setting up with your arms too far extended. On the downswing, it can be difficult to make the sudden adjustment to get the arms back in. quickly enough. An unmistakable sign of this problem is the left arm going into the "chicken wing" form as you move through impact.

The effect of both of these mistakes is magnified as you move to the shorter clubs. By the time you get to the 9-iron, the problem may have worsened, resulting in severely fat, thin, or topped balls.

To avoid topping the ball, slow down the swing, allow your arms to relax, and stay in the proper position as you move through the downswing. Getting the clubhead to hit down on the ball is the key to success.

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