Why do I hit the ball fat?
by David Im, DPT, TPI, CGFI
Titleist Performance Institute Certified Golf Fitness Instructor
Hitting the ball fat is when the club head hits the ground behind the ball instead of hitting the ball first and then the ground in front of the ball. This often leads to wrist, elbow and shoulder injuries. The most common causes of this swing fault are hanging back, sway and reverse pivot. Hanging back and reverse pivot both end in the same position in which weight is mostly on the back foot at impact. This practically eliminates any chance of the club head hitting the ball first. Sway is when the body glides to the back foot laterally during the back swing versus rotating around the right hip joint. This often leads to timing issues in transferring weight to the front foot at impact resulting in an incomplete transfer with the club once again hitting the ground before the ball.
Physical limitations that can cause this swing fault:
- Spinal mobility restrictions: If the spine is not able to rotate independently of the hips due to capsular mobility, flexibility, neurological and bony limitations, the golfer is highly likely to sway to complete the semblance of a back swing.
- Back Hip joint limitations: Any limitation of internal rotation in the back hip due to arthritis, capsular mobility or joint patency will limit pivoting around the back hip in the back swing forcing a lateral sway or a loss of posture. Also, any limitation in external rotation of the back hip during the downswing and follow through will also limit weight transfer to the front foot.
- Front Hip limitations: Any limitation of internal rotation in the front hip will limit pivoting around the lead hip in the downswing. Since the golfer is not able to rotate and load into the front hip, he/she is more likely to hang back on the back leg to avoid this discomfort.
- Balance issues: If the golfer has issues with balance then he/she will not likely feel comfortable loading weight into the lead leg in the downswing and follow through. This will lead to an inadequate weight transfer to the front leg and to hitting the ball fat.
There are other physical limitations that can cause a golfer to hit the ball fat such as limited neck, shoulder and wrist mobility as well as issues with scooping, flipping and casting. In order to know for sure what is limiting your ability to hit the ball solidly and with consistency, you need a complete golf evaluation.
Call me to make an appointment for a full physical evaluation to improve your golf game today. Golf should be fun and enjoyable. Let me help you to get back or stay in the game.