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Curing the "Fat" Shot

By: Bob Burns

Golf Professional

One of the most common faults of the average player is breaking the left-arm "elbow" on the back swing. This forces the golfer to hit the turf behind the ball, and the result is a "fat" shot. 

The fat shot is caused by the player picking the club up with their hands, thus restricting their shoulder turn and causing the club control to switch to the right hand (left, for lefthanders) at the top of their back swing. 

To cure this ailment, I instruct my students to have complete left-side control of the club at all times. The back swing is initiated by taking the club away from the upper left quadrant (shoulder area), and maintaining a firm left arm. Develop a mental image of always promoting a full shoulder turn of 90 degrees, stretching the left shoulder under the chin to the top of the back swing. 

Throughout practice, the right side will become subservient to the left, and the tendency will become less frequent. Some might find it necessary to develop the left side through exercises. 

Left-side dominance and coordination are essential for playing super golf. This will enable the golfer to start the downswing with his left side rather than with a movement of the hands. If the left side initiates the return to the hitting area, the right elbow will slide naturally into the right side and the wrists will stay cocked until just before impact. This will also keep the pressure in the grip constant throughout the swing, thus minimizing chances for error. 

Using the larger shoulder muscles by swinging the hands and arms can generate more power. 

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