Hitting the ball thin, also known as skulling, is common among golfers in Thailand especially when hitting an approach shot from closely moved fringes or tight fairway lies. Thai golf courses with conditions and lies particularly prone to this are Siam Country Club, Plantation Course in Pattaya and Alpine Golf Resort in Chiang Mai.
Skulling an approach shot not only ruins your chances to get up-and-down, but adds strokes to your score as well. Instead of being on the green sizing up a short putt, you're usually over the green considering your next shot, or worse.
This is what I did to eliminate practically all of my thin shots when golfing in Thailand.
1. Relax before hitting, this is really important.
2. Swing my club back square to the target. I used to take the club inside and this one change added great consistency to my shots.
3. Hit down on the ball. Sometimes I even aim for the front half of the ball.
A poor backswing contributes to hitting a ball thin. Golfers in Thailand who I see skulling their shots usually swing the club too steeply into the ball, which results from taking the club back too far inside the target line. This forces the golfer to bend his or her left elbow in a “chicken-wing” position to get back down to the ball. As a result, the club reaches the bottom of it’s arc behind the ball and catches only the top of the ball on the upswing.
The key to hitting a ball flush from the fairway—or anywhere else on the course—is making a smooth takeaway. Take a normal address position, and then take a couple of deep breaths to relax, pause for a second. You never want to rush this shot. It usually results in a bad one when you do.
Also, aim for the front half of the ball. Make sure you strike the ball with a descending blow. If you do all this, you'll make a crisper strike at the ball and stop skulling the ball.
Hitting it thin is a common problem in Thailand. With more and more of the top golf course in Thailand having tighter fairways (Thai Country Club in Bangkok comes to min) and closely moved areas around the greens (Chiang Mai Highlands is a good case in point) you can hit the ball thin anywhere on the course and with any shot, but it's really frustrating when you're hitting an approach shot. If you relax before hitting the shot and make a square takeaway, you'll hit the ball flush every time, cutting strokes from you score.
Give this quick tip a try when golfing in Thailand and let me know how it works for you. Remember think positive and you will shoot par!