NCG’s Golf Glossary: What is a fat?

The Scoop

What is a fat in golf? Don't know your dormies from your doglegs? Or your stymies from your shanks? NCG's Glossary of Golf Terms is here to help.

Here at NCG we pride ourselves on being the publication for the everyday player, so we’ve taken it upon ourselves to delve into the wonderful world of the golfing lexicon.

Sometimes the most obvious terms have the most interesting story, so you might find yourself an interesting conversation starter…

What is a fat?

This is when the club hits the ground before the ball, generally taking too big a divot with the ball coming up short of the desired target.

How would you use it in a sentence?

“I think you moved your head backwards as you started your downswings which is why you then lost your height and hit it fat.”

What are the origins?

Impossible to say, you would imagine it has snuck in over time as the word pretty much covers everything about the shot.

Any other business?

One of the most infamous fats came from Colin Montgomerie at the 2006 US Open. He had just holed a 45-foot birdie putt at the 71st hole before producing the perfect drive at the last, so good that it won the European Tour shot of the month.

But Vijay Singh had gone left and required a ruling which meant Monty’s mind got scrambled waiting to hit his approach.

“In hindsight, I shouldn’t have waited. I should just have played my shot. It would have been perfectly justified and well within the rules of the game, but protocol suggests you wait for your playing partner if his ball is behind yours,” he told the Telegraph years later.

“By the time it was my turn, I was beginning to second-guess myself. Was it a 7-iron? Was it not a 6? Was it a big 7-iron or a little one? Did I detect a touch of wind? They say that he who hesitates is lost and the phrase could not have been more apposite. I settled on the 7-iron but the swing was hesitant, one in which I never got the club fully back. Damn, damn and damn again. I knew it was bad from the moment I made contact. The shot was heavy and finished in rough to the side of the putting surface.”

He took six, a four would have won him the US Open.

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