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- When your swing accidentally just catches the very top of your golf ball, it’s known as topping
- Topping the golf ball creates a shot that doesn’t go far and merely dribbles sadly along the ground
- Some common mistakes that lead to a topped golf shot are getting the clubhead down to the ground too late, loss of balance, keeping the head down too long, tension in hands and arms, and lack of width in the backswing
- It’s important to stay athletic and maintain momentum through the swing for a clean hit
- Be willing to make uncomfortable changes and exaggerate your new form in order to improve
You address the ball, take a deep breath, and swing. But instead of making beautiful contact with the club’s sweet spot, you top the ball… again. It’s a frustrating feeling, for sure. But why does it happen? Read on to find out some of the most common reasons golfers top the ball—and how to fix them.
My own story
I had been topping the ball for a while. It was really frustrating because I couldn’t seem to fix it no matter how hard I tried.
My golf coach suggested that I try exaggerating my changes, and make up my mind to do it. He said that it was okay to hit too much ground on the way to improvement. I was hesitant but I decided to give it a try.
It began to work.
I also worked on holding my finish until my golf ball landed. This really helped me to focus on maintaining my balance throughout the entire swing.
I also started to pay attention to the width of my backswing and making sure that my hands were away from my sternum.
This helped me to keep the club in the proper position and prevented me from topping the also started to focus on my trail heel and making sure that it was still coming up as I swung forward.
This kept me from getting too flat footed on my downswing and helped me to maintain my momentum.
After a while, I began to see improvement. My ball striking became more consistent and I started to hit longer
I was finally able to hit the ball consistently and without topping it. It felt amazing and my coach was so proud of me. He told me that I just needed to commit to making the change and be willing to make an uncomfortable motion.
I’m so glad that I listened to him and made the change. If you’re struggling with topping can be really frustrating struggling to fix your golf swing, especially when you feel like you’ve tried everything.
Here are things that can cause a golfer to top the ball
1) Over-the-top swing path
This means that, rather than swinging the club in an arc around your body, you’re swinging it more straight up and down—think of it like chopping wood. This can be caused by several things, including incorrect posture or grip or simply not rotating your hips correctly on the backswing.
For example, if your left shoulder is higher than your right on the backswing, that’s a sure sign that you’re swinging over the top.
2) Incorrect clubface position at impact
Incorrect clubface position at impact is a big issue: If the clubface is open—meaning the toe of the club is pointing away from your target—it will cause you to slice the ball (hit it to the right if you’re a righty). Conversely, if the clubface is closed—the toe is pointing toward your target—you’ll hook the ball (hit it to the left).
This is because when the clubface hits the ball, it causes the ball to spin. The amount of spin will depend on how open or closed the clubface is. If the clubface is open, the ball will spin clockwise (from a right-handed golfer’s perspective), and if it’s closed, the ball will spin counterclockwise.
The amount of spin will also affect the ball’s trajectory. A ball with more spin will fly higher and have less side-to-side movement, while a ball with less spin will fly lower and have more side-to-side movement.
3) Using too much loft on their clubs
When you use too much loft on your clubs, it makes it harder to make solid contact with the ball. This is because when you hit the ball with too much loft, the clubface is more vertical and it’s harder to hit the ball squarely. This can cause you to top the ball more frequently.
Loft refers to the angle of the clubface relative to the shaft, which helps you get airborne when you hit the ball. But if you use too much loft, say by using a driver when you should be using a 3-wood, it will be harder to make solid contact with the ball.
4) Hitting too far down on the ball
This is a common issue for beginner golfers. They think they need to hit the ball hard to make it go a long way, so they swing down on it too much. But what actually happens is that they lose power and accuracy. Instead, you want to swing more level to the ground, making contact with the ball around the center of the clubface.
5) Poor weight transfer
Weight transfer simply means moving your weight from your back foot to your front foot during the swing. You have to find the best posture to create a good weight transfer. When your weight is too far back, it pulls the club away from the ball on the downswing. If your weight is too far forward, you risk topping the ball. You want to find that sweet spot where your weight is evenly distributed in the middle.
6) Trying to hit the ball too hard
This is a common problem with beginner golfers, who think they must swing as hard as possible to hit the ball a long way. But the truth is, you don’t need to swing hard to hit the ball a long way. In fact, too-fast swings often result in a loss of power and accuracy. It’s much better to focus on making a smooth, controlled swing.
7) Poor alignment
This is another common issue for beginner golfers. You’re much more likely to top the ball if you’re not properly aligned with your target. Make sure to take the time to line up correctly before each shot. The small investment of time will pay off in terms of improved accuracy and consistency.
8. Limited Back Swing Width
You will likely top the ball if you swing the golf club back too far to the inside. You have to be able to control your width on the back swing. This will help you keep the golf club on the proper path and make solid contact with the golf ball. You can achieve this by keeping your arms close to your body and turning your shoulders instead of swinging your arms. This will help you keep the golf club on the correct path and make solid contact with the golf ball.
9. Fear of Hitting the Ground
This is a common issue for beginner golfers. They overcompensate by swinging up too soon, which results in a loss of power and accuracy. Instead, focus on making a smooth, controlled swing and trust that the club will not hit the ground before making contact with the ball.
10. Club is too short
If your club is too short, you will likely top the ball. This is because the club will not be able to generate enough power to make solid contact with the ball. Instead, focus on using a club that is the proper length for your height and swing.
11. Balance and swaying
These are also factors that can cause you to top the ball. If you are not balanced, it is difficult to make solid contact with the golf ball. You need to be able to control your weight shift during the entire golf swing. Swaying will also cause you to lose power and accuracy. Make sure to keep your weight centered and do not sway during your golf swing.
12. Poor posture
If you have poor posture, it will be difficult to make solid contact with the ball. You need to be able to control your weight shift during the entire golf swing. Make sure to keep your spine straight and do not slouch during your golf swing. For example , you might want to try the following drills:
- The Tall Posture Drill: Stand with good posture and raise your arms straight up in the air. Then, raise your heels so you are standing on your toes. Hold this position for 10 seconds. Repeat 3 times.
- The Wall Drill: Stand with good posture and place your hands on a wall at shoulder height. Lean forward until your nose is 6 inches from the wall. Hold this position for 10 seconds. Repeat 3 times.
- The golf ball drill: Place a golf ball under your chin and tuck in your chin. Then, try to keep the golf ball in place as you turn your head from side to side. Repeat 10 times.
Topping the ball is frustrating, but it doesn’t have to be a permanent problem. By understanding some of the common causes and adjusting your swing, you can quickly get back on track and start hitting solid shots again.
Hi, my name is Vince Richmond and I am the owner of earlygolfer.com. This blog is all about golfing, from tips and tricks to equipment reviews and everything in between. I have been golfing for over 20 years now and love the sport more than ever. I am always looking to improve my game and help others do the same. When I’m not golfing, I can be found spending time with my wife and two kids or playing some other sport (I’m a bit of a sports junkie). Thanks for reading and be sure to check out earlygolfer.com for all your golfing needs!