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Fat (or Fat Shot)

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Fat Shot

In a fat shot, the golfer's club contacts the ground prior to contacting the ball.

Illustration by William Glessner
Definition: A "fat shot" happens when the golfer's club hits the ground prior to making contact with the golf ball. That's not something the golfer ever wants to do (except with bunker shots), and it can lead to a layer of turf/sod coming between the the clubface and the ball. That kills much of the energy of the shot, resulting in the ball traveling shorter distances. The more severely "fat" the ball is hit (meaning the more turf is between the club and ball), the shorter distance the ball will travel.

With irons, a fat shot results in the club really digging down into the turf, producing a much deeper and larger divot than normal - a big, fat divot, which might be the origin of the term.

A fat shot can be thought of as the opposite of a thin shot. And while a thin shot, for very skilled golfers, might sometimes be played intentionally, a fat shot never is, and the results of a fat shot are rarely good.

When one of these occurs, it is referred to as "hitting it fat," "catching it fat," "fatting it," and other variations on the theme. See the Fat Shot Tip Sheet, for a quick checklist of possible causes of this type of mis-hit.

Return to Golf Glossary index

Also Known As: Heavy shot, chunk shot, chunking the ball, catching it fat, chili dip
Examples:
The Golf Guide hit a fat shot. He caught it heavy.

"My ball didn't make it across the water after I hit it fat."

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