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December, 2002: Preventing the “Thin” Shot

Hitting the ball thin (or hitting the ball slightly above the bottom) is a fairly common error even for good players. There are usually two reasons: 1. Changing the spine angle.

In picture #1, I am in my address position (taken from behind). My spine needs to be in the same spine position through impact as it was at address.

(Picture #2.) If you raise up even slightly before impact as in picture #3 a thin shot will result.

2. Collapsing the left arm (for right handed golfers) I have covered this in previous articles; see my April 1999 golf tip, How To Stop Topping the Ball. The left arm is straight at address as in picture #4 and in order for the clubhead to reach the bottom of the arc at the same place as it was at address, the arm needs to be straight at impact.

Here is a great drill to cure one or both of these problems at the same time. Practice hitting pitch shots stopping your backswing at about 9 o’clock and follow through to about 3 o’clock concentrating on these two points.

1. Stay in the same spine angle even after the shot has been played.

2. Keep the left arm straight throughout the entire shot, with absolutely no bending whatsoever!

By practicing this drill you’ll get a feel for where you need to be through the impact area with the full swing. Once you feel comfortable with the half swing go to the full swing with the same thoughts and practice it until those thin shots are more infrequent. (I’d like to say until they disappear completely, but all golfers know that nothing disappears completely forever.)

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