One of the main goals you should have on any golf shot is to strike the ball solidly. Achieving a solid strike doesn’t mean the ball is going to wind up near to the target, of course, but it certainly is a good start.
If you can combine a clean strike with other elements like proper aim, a good swing path, appropriate face angle, and more, you’ll be left with a shot that serves you well.
There are a few ways you can miss-hit the ball, and one of those is the thin shot. In the vocabulary of a golfer, a ‘thin’ shot is one which is struck low on the face.
Hitting the ball just a bit thin might mean hitting it only a single groove below the sweet spot. On the other hand, you could hit your shot extremely thin and barely make contact at all. In that case, the leading edge of the club would strike somewhere around the middle of the ball, and the shot would struggle to get off the ground.
Moving away from thin shots and toward clean strikes is a powerful way to make yourself a better golfer.
A Likely Culprit of Thin Golf Shots
Often, it is assumed that there is some technical flaw in the golf swing which causes the player to thin the golf ball. While that is certainly possible, and we will touch on some potential mechanical problems in the next section, we want to first talk about something a little less technical.
It might be that if you are thinning the ball regularly it is actually your tempo which is to blame.
Poor tempo is not uncommon in the amateur game. If you watch the average driving range on a busy weekend afternoon, you’ll see players with all sorts of poor swing tempos. Most of those are rushed, and that is frequently the case for golfers who struggle with thin shots.
If you frequently hit the ball thin, it might be that your tempo is actually the root cause. By rushing through the swing, you don’t give your body a chance to rotate through correctly, and you wind up missing low on the face.
Just by slowing things down, especially during your transition, you could find that the sweet spot becomes much easier to hit.
Mechanical Issues that Cause Thin Shots
Below, we have listed three potential mechanical problems that could be plaguing your golf swing. When you start to notice a frustrating pattern of thin shots in your game, be sure to take the time to consider each of these three errors.
It might be that you aren’t actually making any of these mistakes. However, going through this list will at least eliminate some common problems, and you can keep working from there. Hopefully, your issue will be on this list, and you can start fixing it right away.
#1 Picking Your Head (Eyes) Up Early
This is a swing mistake that is as old as the game itself. There is a reason that ‘keep your head down’ is such common golf advice – many players fail to do so.
You don’t necessarily want to focus on keeping your head down and still during the swing, as doing so can restrict the freedom of movement you need to make a great turn. What you do want to do, however, is to keep your eyes down on the ball all the way from start to finish. Make sure the ball is gone before allowing yourself to look up.
If you follow this simple rule of keeping your eyes on the ball, it’s almost certain that you won’t pull your head up out of the swing early. And, if your head doesn’t come up early, the rest of your upper body shouldn’t make that mistake, either.
#2 Poor Ball Position
It may be that your thin shots are the result of nothing more than bad ball position. If you line up with the ball too far forward in your stance – in other words, too far to the left (for righties) as you are looking down from address – you may contact the ball after the club is already on the upswing. That is going to make thin contact very likely, and maybe even probable.
If you feel like the rest of your swing is in good shape but you keep hitting thin shots, try adjusting your ball position and see if you improve.
#3 Early Release
The early release in the downswing is an extremely common problem among amateur players. Many golfers use their right hand to fire the club head at the ball long before they should, and they lose both power and accuracy in the process.
If you are letting your right hand play too much of an active role in the downswing, you might be promoting the very thin shots you are trying to eliminate.
If you can manage to hold on to your release until later in the downswing, you should make better contact – and have more power as well.
Building Trust in Your Swing
One of the problems you are going to have to get over is the issue of doubting your swing on the course. If you’ve hit enough thin shots recently, you might have a hard time believing in yourself when it comes time to perform on the links.
This is where practice becomes so important. Work on hitting enough good shots on the range that you can’t help but believe in yourself when playing a round.
You are never going to completely eliminate thin shots from your game. It’s always going to be the case that you’ll hit the ball thin from time to time, so don’t be too hard on yourself when it happens.
Your goal should not be to wipe out thin shots totally, as that isn’t realistic, but rather to decrease their frequency.
If you can make thin shots a rare occurrence, and make solid shots the norm in your game, that change can only mean good things for your performance.