How to stop duffing the ball

Tiger duffed four chips in his comeback start. Here is how to prevent them.

By GolfMagic on Sun, 2 Feb 2014 - 01:02

Tiger Woods may have made a radical swing alteration under new 'consultant' Chris Como, but the one area of his game that may need the most work is his short game.

Making his competitive comeback for the first time in almost four months since the PGA Championship during the first round of the Hero World Challenge, the 14-time major champion duffed simple chip shots on the eighth, twice at the 13th and again at the 17th.

With that in mind, here's a quick fix for Tiger and you fellow duffers...

Five tips to prevent a duff shot


The duff is a shot that goes very little distance due to the club hitting the ground before the ball (Fig.1).

Other than the shank, you might say that duffing the ball is the worst shot someone can play in golf, so if you want to eradicate it from your game then check out our five quick fixes...

1. Have a looser grip

If you're holding the club too tightly you won't allow the clubhead to flick through at impact and hit the ball before the ground. Make sure you hold the grip slightly looser to allow your wrists some movement during the shot.

2. Put the ball back in your stance

This is a common problem. Jack Nicklaus in the past has spoken of having the same ball position for any club, it worked for him but his swing suits this set up. For amateur golfers if you're playing a short iron or wedge the ball should be in the centre of your stance (Fig.3) to avoid hitting the ground before the ball.

3. Have your hands in front of the ball

Added to having the ball too far forward in your stance, you may have your wrists behind the ball at impact (Fig.2). This gives you a wider swing path and increases the chance of hitting the ground first. PGA professional Sam Quirke has a great drill to get your hands forward of the ball at impact.

4. Finish in a balanced position

The follow-through is always important for any shot but especially when trying to prevent the duff shot. With a duff you might be hitting down on the ball too much without a follow-through so make sure you have a balanced high finish so you come up through the ball at impact.

5. Strong wrists during downswing

Have a looser grip but keep your wrists firm so your hands don't fall behind the ball at impact. At set up, lock your wrists in position ahead of the ball then try and hold this position throughout the swing.

Want any more swing tips and cures? Then check out our instructional articles on...

1. How to cure a slice
2. How to cure a hook
3. How to cure a push
4. How to cure a pull
5. How to stop shanking the ball
7. How to stop topping the ball
8. How to hit a fade
9. How to hit a draw
10. How to hit a punch shot

Making his competitive comeback for the first time in almost four months, Tiger Woods duffed simple chip shots on the eighth, twice at the 13th and again at the 17th.

With that in mind, here are five quick fixes for Tiger and you fellow duffers...

1. Have a looser grip

If you are holding the club too tightly then you will not allow the clubhead to flick through at impact and hit the ball before the ground. Make sure you hold the grip slightly looser to allow your wrists some movement during the shot.

2. Put the ball back in your stance

This is a common problem. Jack Nicklaus in the past has spoken of having the same ball position for any club, it worked for him but his swing suits this set up. For amateur golfers if you are playing a short iron or wedge the ball should be in the centre of your stance to avoid hitting the ground before the ball.

3. Have your hands in front of the ball

Added to having the ball too far forward in your stance, you may have your wrists behind the ball at impact. This gives you a wider swing path and increases the chance of hitting the ground first. PGA professional Sam Quirke has a great drill to get your hands forward of the ball at impact.

4. Finish in a balanced position

The follow-through is always important for any shot but especially when trying to prevent the duff shot. With a duff you might be hitting down on the ball too much without a follow-through so make sure you have a balanced high finish so you come up through the ball at impact.

5. Strong wrists during downswing

Have a looser grip but keep your wrists firm so your hands do not fall behind the ball at impact. At set up, lock your wrists in position ahead of the ball then try and hold this position throughout the swing.

Want any more swing tips and cures? Then check out our instructional articles on...

1. How to cure a slice
2. How to cure a hook
3. How to cure a push
4. How to cure a pull
5. How to stop shanking the ball
7. How to stop topping the ball
8. How to hit a fade
9. How to hit a draw
10. How to hit a punch shot