One Easy Drill to Perfect Your Ball Striking

Improve Your Ballstriking (2)

You Can’t Fix What You Can’t Feel

Of all the mishits in golf, hitting it “fat” – hitting the ground before the ball – is the worst.  You tear up a huge chunk of sod, you risk busting your wrists, and the ball goes nowhere.  And it’s extremely embarrassing.

The problem for many golfers is that they don’t realize when they hit it a little fat.  Don’t laugh, it’s a 50/50 proposition that you’re one of them.  I’ve coached some pretty decent players who, on turf or grass, couldn’t tell the difference between pure and slightly chubby.

In this lesson, I’m going to give you a simple drill that will provide irrefutable feedback about the quality of your contact and help you dial in your ball striking.

Improve Your Ballstriking (6) Improve Your Ballstriking (5)

This Lesson Is For You If:

You hit lots of fat shots

You want to improve your ball striking

You practice on mats frequently

You refuse to practice on mats because “they let you cheat”

Improve Your Ballstriking (7)

The Drill

The next time you head to the range, whether you’re hitting off mats or grass, bring a few business cards, a towel, or some tees; I prefer business cards.  Set up your practice station, then place the business card behind the ball.  The distance between the ball and the card should be determined by the quality of your ball striking: pros can put the card very near the ball, beginners may need a few inches.

After you hit your shot, ask yourself whether or not you hit the ball first, then check the business card.  If you think you hit it well and the business card is still in place, congratulations, you made a good swing and you have a good feel for the turf.  If you think you hit it well, but the business card is bent or flying downrange, you need to start adjusting your idea of what “hitting it pure” feels like.  A few range sessions with this drill should help you get your feel dialed in and improve your ability to hit the ball before the turf.

If you’re having trouble avoiding the business card, check out the tips below.

Improve Your Ballstriking - Success Improve Your Ballstriking - Fail

The Fix

If you’re regularly hitting the business card before the ball, this is a problem that needs to be fixed immediately.

The first fix that I would look to is ball position.  Has your ball moved too far forward in your stance?  When you’re practicing, try using an alignment stick to maintain consistent ball position.

If ball position is not the culprit, the problem is probably related to your weight shift.  In this lesson HERE, I wrote about the three most common causes of weight shift problems and how to fix them.  Find the right fix for your swing and you’ll be hitting more greens in no time.

As always, please feel free to leave any questions or comments below.

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Matt Saternus

Co-Founder, Editor In Chief at PluggedInGolf.com
Matt is a golf instructor, club fitter, and writer living in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. Matt's work has been published in Mulligan Magazine, Chicagoland Golf, South Florida Golf, and other golf media outlets. He's also been a featured speaker in the Online Golf Summit and is a member of Ultimate Golf Advantage's Faculty of Experts.

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4 Comments

  1. Hi, looks like the business card drill is what I have to do. However, when you say place the card “behind” the ball, do you mean “south” of the ball (west being the direction of the target)? Thanks for all the great information.

  2. Hi Matt,
    Great information here and I am going to try this business card drill later today. I’m a 10 index handicap and I just switched to 3 Vokey wedges (50, 54, 58). I have been hitting them fat on the course and the practice golf mats do mask a fat shot so I’m going to instead use our grass range for wedge practice. Why is it so much more difficult to hit specialty wedges like Vokey than the wedges that come with your iron set? Should I look to take less divot to help start to eliminate the fat shot?

    • Matt Saternus

      Cliff,

      Specialty wedges can be harder to hit largely because they’re different – different shafts and swing weights primarily.

      I would suggest some differential practice to eliminate the fats. Try to hit shots as thin as possible. Try to make a divot WAY in front of the ball. See how different that feel is compared to hitting it fat (also try hitting it 3″ fat, just to get the feel), and use that to improve.

      Best,

      Matt

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