Jack Nicklaus Golf Tip: Fix the ‘Fats’


Illustration by Jim McQueen

Hitting the ground behind the ball is known as hitting “fat” or “chunking.” It’s a common fault among high handicappers but can afflict better players at times. Either way, it’s a sure score-wrecker.

Numerous swing faults can provoke the problem, but I believe the most frequent cause is one of the easiest to fix: excessive head movement. Common sense tells us that changing our head position during the swing alters the arc the clubhead is traveling along. Thus, one way to almost guarantee a fat hit is to dip the head during the downswing, thereby lowering the path of the descending clubhead. Swaying the head to the right during the backswing can also cause the fault, by shifting the point where the swing bottoms out to a spot behind the ball.

If you hit more than the occasional fat shot, look to your head before tampering with other swing elements. The likelihood is that keeping your head a little steadier is all the fix you need.

Next week’s topic: For a Steady Head, Imagine a Wheel.