Today I had a long conversation with one of the members of the golf club I work about how to eliminate the ‘fat’ shots from his short game. He said he had a great round except for a couple chips that he ‘chunked.’ To clarify, a ‘fat’ or ‘chunked’ shot is one where the clubhead impacts the grass behind the ball first, which decelerates the club tremendously and results in the golf ball traveling only a fraction of the distance desired.
In order to eliminate the ‘fat’ shot from your short game, you must accomplish a few things. One of these keys is to hit down on the ball and contact the golf ball first. This is easiest when you play the ball in the middle or back of your stance and lean the shaft of your club forward at address. You also want to put more weight toward your front foot and lean toward the target slightly.
Another important part of eliminating heavy shots is to select your club carefully. Many golfers take a high-lofted wedge out for every shot around the green. That can work in your favor when you do not have a lot of green to work with to roll your ball up to the hole, but when you do have some green to work with you need to take something with less loft. Take 8 or 9 iron to chip with around the green, this will keep your swing very short and compact which helps with hitting the ball solidly. When you take a high-lofted wedge around the green, you usually have to alter your normal chipping stroke to hit the ball the correct distance. When you alter your chipping stroke, you bring the ‘fat’ shot into the equation.
The final thought is definitely the most important for avoiding a chunked shot. You must accelerate through impact. Many golfers, with a chip or pitch, try to take a long backswing and control the distance the ball travels by slowing their clubhead down when coming into the impact area. Decelerating the club is the leading cause of ‘chunked’ shots. That is because when you slow things down in the middle of your swing your club can snag the ground very easily and dig into the ground and cause a ‘fat’ shot. So, what I teach my students to do when they are struggling with their chipping is to make sure their follow-through is longer than their backswing. This insures that the club is accelerating through impact.
Hitting a shot heavy around the greens is one of the worst feelings in golf and you know instantly that you have made a mistake. Hopefully, this article has helped you save some shots around the greens and I hope you never have to endure another ‘fat’ shot around the greens again!