W is Worm Burner. I regularly play with holidaymakers just arriving for their Thailand golf vacation. As they are so excited to start their Thailand golf holiday on the right foot (no pun intended), it is saddening to see their frustration as they tee it up for the first time only to hit a worm burner, Sally Gunnell or thin topped shot
While this shot might be acceptable when playing on dry golf courses in the USA or Europe, it is a disaster at most Thailand golf courses. Take for example, Thai Country Club in Bangkok, if you hit a low flying tee shot it will almost always get caught in very thick rough in from of the first fairway cut. An airborne tee shot of at least 125 yards is required on most holes. In the same manner if you happen to be playing at any of the soggier Hua Hin golf courses, (e.g. Lake View or Royal Hua Hin in particular), a worm burner will hardly move more than 50 yards through the wet fairways, which is about as good as missing the ball completely.
Most golfers in Thailand think topped shots are caused by lifting your head up at impact. I gave up counting long ago how many times I have heard golfers mumble to themselves about keeping their head down, but this is only partially true. The two more common causes are not maintaining a consistent spine angle and trying to help the ball up in the air by scooping it. Next time you are out on the golf course in Thailand try these things.
First check your ball position, make sure it’s not too forward. Many “toppers” play the ball too far forward off their left instep. Most shots require hitting down on the ball, which is more difficult the further forward the ball is in your stance. Make sure of this by checking your divot, which should be small and in front of the ball. Another good point to eliminate the hitting thin is to keep your right shoulder close to the ground. Many Thai golfers who hit thin also have a reverse weight transfer, and a low right shoulder will avoid this. A third tip to avoid topped shots is to keep your arms straight at impact. The next time you step up to the ball take a practice swing and stop at the impact position. Both your arms must be straight. Alternately, if you are at home, hit into an impact bag or other soft object to check your arm position when striking the ball.
Now, while a topped shot often does not get the ball traveling very far, a thin shot sometimes does. There is a phrase in Thailand golf; “thin to win”. You can often hit a thin shot and it will turn out acceptable, but if you hit a fat shot (behind the ball), the ball does not go anywhere. So when playing golf in Thailand, take that into consideration. Thin shots are not that bad, as long as you’re not burning the worms!