How to Stop Scooping the Golf Ball

Scooping the golf ball, also known as hitting a thin shot or topping the ball, is a common problem that many golfers face. When you scoop the golf ball, you end up hitting the ball with the bottom of your club, resulting in a weak shot that doesn’t travel very far. Fortunately, there are several ways to correct this problem and improve your golf game. Here are some tips to help you stop scooping the golf ball:

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  1. Keep your hands ahead of the ball: One of the main reasons golfers scoop the ball is because they release their wrists too early. To avoid this, keep your hands ahead of the ball at impact. This will help you strike the ball with a downward angle of attack, rather than a scooping motion.
  2. Practice hitting down on the ball: To stop scooping the ball, you need to practice hitting down on the ball. This means making contact with the ball first and then taking a divot after the ball. Focus on making a divot after the ball, rather than trying to scoop it into the air.
  3. Use a steeper angle of attack: A steep angle of attack will help you hit down on the ball and avoid scooping it. To achieve this, position the ball slightly farther back in your stance and tilt your spine away from the target. This will help you swing on a steeper plane and make better contact with the ball.
  4. Keep your head still: Another common mistake that leads to scooping the ball is moving your head during the swing. To avoid this, keep your head still and focus on making a smooth, controlled swing.
  5. Use a longer follow-through: A short follow-through can also lead to scooping the ball. To improve your swing, try extending your follow-through and holding your finish. This will help you hit down on the ball and make better contact.
  6. Focus on weight shift: Another factor that can cause scooping is not shifting your weight properly during the swing. Make sure to shift your weight to your front foot on the downswing, as this will help you hit down on the ball and make better contact.
  7. Use the right club: Using the wrong club can also lead to scooping the ball. Make sure to use the right club for the shot you are trying to make. For example, using a wedge instead of a long iron for a chip shot can help you make better contact with the ball and avoid scooping it.
  8. Avoid hitting up on the ball: Some golfers try to hit up on the ball to get more height and distance. However, this can lead to scooping the ball and hitting it thin. Instead, focus on hitting down on the ball and making a divot after the ball.
  9. Practice your setup: Your setup can also affect your swing and lead to scooping the ball. Make sure to set up with the ball in the correct position in your stance, with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly flexed. This will help you make a more solid contact with the ball.
  10. Seek professional help: If you are still struggling with scooping the ball, it may be helpful to seek the advice of a professional golf instructor. They can analyze your swing and provide specific tips and drills to help you improve your swing and avoid scooping the ball.


Common Causes of Scooping in Golf

CauseDescriptionEffect on ShotSolutionDrill
Poor setupIncorrect setup position can cause scooping in golf.InconsistentAdjust setup position to promote a descending strikeAlignment and ball position drill
Lack of strengthLack of physical strength can cause scooping in golf.Weak shotsBuild strength with golf-specific exercisesWeightlifting and core strengthening drills
Poor swing planePoor swing plane can cause scooping in golf.InconsistentWork on swing plane with a coach or trainerSwing plane drill
Fear of failureFear of failure can cause scooping in golf.Nervous shotsRelax and trust your swingVisualization and relaxation techniques
Bad habitsBad habits, such as flipping at the ball, can cause scooping.InconsistentWork with a coach to develop proper techniqueTechnique drills

Techniques for Preventing Scooping in Golf

TechniqueDescriptionEffect on ShotHow to ImplementExample Drill
Forward Shaft LeanPromotes a downward strike by keeping the shaft leaning towards the targetConsistentFocus on maintaining Forward Shaft Lean at impactAlignment and impact drill
Shallow SwingEncourages a more sweeping swing to promote a shallow angle of attackMore distanceWork on maintaining a shallow swing planeShallow swing drill
Early Wrist HingePromotes a descending strike by hinging the wrists early in the backswingMore spinWork on Early Wrist Hinge in the backswingWrist hinge drill
Weight ForwardShifts weight towards the target to promote a downward strikeMore powerWork on maintaining weight forward at impactWeight shift drill
Flat Left WristKeeps the left wrist flat at impact to promote a solid strikeBetter accuracyWork on maintaining a flat left wrist at impactFlat left wrist drill

Mistakes to Avoid When Trying to Stop Scooping in Golf

MistakeDescriptionEffect on ShotHow to AvoidExample Drill
OverthinkingOverthinking can lead to paralysis by analysis and poor shot-makingNervous shotsTrust your instincts and focus on the basicsPre-shot routine drill
RushingRushing can lead to poor technique and scoopingInconsistentSlow down and focus on the proper techniqueTempo drill
Poor ContactPoor contact can lead to scooping and inconsistent shotsInconsistentFocus on proper contact and ball positionContact and ball position drill


  • Ray Barnes

    Ray Barnes, our Senior Staff Writer and a Golf Analyst with a PhD in Sports Analytics, is a beacon of insight in the golfing world. With a deep understanding of the sport's nuances, statistical analysis, and a talent for demystifying complexities, he provides in-depth analysis and captivating narratives that engage golf enthusiasts worldwide.

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