Scooping the Ball

Golf Swing Error – Illustrated Guide

Scooping the ball – or flipping the club – occurs when you try to help the ball get high into the air by unhinging your wrists before impact with the ball is made. Indeed, golfers that scoop the ball don’t seem to trust that the loft of the club will be plentiful in getting the ball to reach its ideal ball flight and height and instead try to help it get up into the air.

Flipping the club stands in direct contrast to hitting down on the ball, where the ball is to be trapped between the face of the club and the ground. This can only occur when the lag in the clubface is kept and the hands are ahead of the club at impact.

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Problems Associated with Flipping the Club

Leads to Thin, Fat or Skyed Shots

Scooping the ball can lead to thin (topped) shots and fat shotsHitting down on the ball with an iron is a critical element of a solid strike. Doing so will promote good divot making and will enable you to strike the ball first before the clubhead continues on and strikes the ground.

Scooping the ball on the other hand does not trap the ball and instead can lead to thin shots or fat shots. This occurs because the bottom of the swing arc will likely be found behind the ball and so the ball will be struck by the leading edge of the club as it moves up from the lowest level.

Similarly, seeing the clubhead ahead of the hands at impact can also produce a fat shot. In this instance and in contrast to the thin shots explored above, the bottom of the swing arc does go through the ground but the clubhead penetrates the ground before it hits the ball. This results in a poor shot that doesn’t go very far.

Finally and otherwise, flipping the club in the rough can lead to skyed ball when the clubface travels underneath the ball and risks missing it entirely.

How to Fix (Stop) Scooping the Ball

Keep Your Hands In Front of the Ball

Keep hands in front of the club at impact to fix scooping the ballA sure way to keep yourself from flipping the club is to keep your hands ahead of the clubhead at impact. Indeed, whereas scooping the ball will see your hands on top of the clubhead at impact (or even behind) hitting down on the ball will see your hands leading the way of the clubhead, which will be lagging, hence the advice to ‘keep the lag’.

This should keep your wrists from trying to flip the club.

More on: Keep the Lag Swing Thought

Focus on Hitting the Ball First

Focus on taking a divot but make sure to hit the ball firstAnother good mental image to use whenever trying to stop scooping the ball – or flipping the club – is to focus on hitting the ball first.

Indeed, instead of trying to hit the ball from underneath the ground and on the way there hitting the ground or some grass, focus on making sure the clubface hits the ball before it hits anything else.

Moreover, try and make sure to take a decent sized divot from your iron shots. But this is very important, make sure that your club hits the ball first and starts creating a divot after it did, and not before.

Mental Issue

Trust the loft of the club to fix scooping the ballFinally, flipping the club can also be a mental issue more than anything. Again, it seems to stem from a desire – conscious or not – to help the ball get into the air.

If you are suffering from this swing error you should strive to start (or go back to believing) that the loft of the club is designed to get the ball airborne and that it doesn’t need further assistance.

Let the club – and its angle – do the work in sending your ball up into the air.

More on: How Loft Impacts Ball Flight 

Helpful Swing Thoughts

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