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Topping the ball


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Hi all

Over the past week I have started topping the ball on 90% of my shots subsequently shooting my worst rounds since starting the game.

The trouble is I'm not sure what I'm doing different, my playing partner says my swing looks the same to him. When I do hit a good shot the swing doesn't feel different to when I top it. I don't know where to start to rectify it does anyone have any suggestions of causes and fixes please.

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Controlling the height and low point of the swing is a huge co-ordinated effort by the body. Basically, a top shot is either when

1. your lowest point of your swing (imagine the lowest point of a circle) is too far behind the ball, resulting in the club ascending when it hit the ball.

2. the lowest point of your swing is too high (a million mechanical factors can cause this - arms collapsing at impact, spine angle losses, shoulder blades retracting, knees extending through impact, etc etc etc).

Rather than focusing on the mechanics too much (find a good pro who can help you fix the biggest fault at the time relating to this) just get a patch of grass, spray paint a line on the ground and place the ball on top. Now proceed to make a chipping swing where the club hits the ground so that the divot starts as close to the line as possible, and extends further past it (closer to the target side). Basically, divot after the ball.

This drill can also be done in a practice bunker, where you smooth the surface over with the back of the rake and draw a line in. Then look at where the club hits the line.

FOCUS on this during the shot, rather than focusing on the ball flight or getting it up into the air. Until this is ingrained it should be your main concentration.

hope it helps. p.s. its not easy, it's not a quick fix but it does work when you stick with it. This 'divot after the ball' idea is one of only 2 things that every single pro and good player in the world does - the other being to hit the middle of the face.

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stenvee,

+1 on Adams thoughts.  Getting your weight on your forward leg at impact consistently will make the low point consistent.

Also, do you keep a consistent ball position with irons, wedges and woods?  Sometimes if you play the ball too far back or forward of your normal low point, you can end up topping the shot.

Lastly, are you taking the club back too far, over swinging?  This can lead to you losing sight of the ball or causing your weight to go too far back when you are at the top.

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When I miss hit I catch it thin which is not far from topping. My issue is keeping my weight on my toes at times which leads me to catch it thin or go right. Check to see if your weight is balanced, may not be the issue but can cause what you are doing.
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two things I commonly see when shots are topped...someone "stands up" at impact(sometimes so far as getting on their toes) or the weight stays on the back leg causing the lowpoint to be too far behind the ball.
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Thanks for all the tips and advice everyone it has helped alot. After a few hours at the range and course i think I'm on the right track to curing this.

I've worked on keeping my posture and balance throughout my swing as I noticed I was falling back on my heels a lot at impact, I've also moved the ball back a fraction in my stance and worked on my takeaway as this felt like I was lifting the club up rather than swinging it.

Hopefully with more time I'll cure this top shot completely.

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Its not so much head down , depending on the type of swing . It's more don't RAISE your head on the backswing . You can move your head off center , but rising up , you 'll top the ball . Look in a mirror and see where the top of your head is at address . As you take your backswing , see if  the spot near the top of your head rises up .

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a couple of recommendations:

-head still (it helps me to put my chin away from my body some, even it's just mentally it helps keep my head in place throughout)

-weight more towards toes (completely my opinion, when i am on my heels or not grounded towards the balls of my feet i tend to fall back and stand more upright causing a top)

-weight on the front foot more (helps immensely with ball striking, but you need to address the ball properly for it work. i.e. make sure the ball isn't too forward or back in your stance)

-head still (after your swing, for my long irons i have a tendency to jerk my head up quicker to try to see the result and it's never a good result)

-ignore ball flight while you're practicing (the less concerned you are about where your ball ended up the more you can focus on solid contact and taking good divots. hitting into a net really helped me improve making solid contact and swinging with better mechanics. bad swings can equal good shots and vice versa, so while practicing don't think you should copy what you did for a good hit)

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Originally Posted by iceman777

Its not so much head down , depending on the type of swing . It's more don't RAISE your head on the backswing . You can move your head off center , but rising up , you 'll top the ball . Look in a mirror and see where the top of your head is at address . As you take your backswing , see if  the spot near the top of your head rises up .

This is good, but watch swings of tour pros. They often end up lowering their heads in the backswing, then lowering them again on the downswing because they coil into the ground. But under no circumstances should you move your head up on the backswing, as it puts you in a higher position than you started from, leading to the club ending up high than it started, and topping the shot. I used to have this problem, but what helped me was to think of turning through the ball with my right shoulder (as a right-handed player), as it really helped me from standing up to early in my follow-through.

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Originally Posted by awmgolfer

When I miss hit I catch it thin which is not far from topping. My issue is keeping my weight on my toes at times which leads me to catch it thin or go right. Check to see if your weight is balanced, may not be the issue but can cause what you are doing.


Catching it thin, or to go right, is usually more of a skulled (topped) shot - hitting the ball higher up than intended as the club face is descending and blading it in the process.

a) Ball too far back at address,

b) swing centre moving forward in the down swing, or

c) swinging too steeply because you are standing too close to the ball at address and standing up in the process to give you room to get the club head down to the ball

are all potential causes.

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Originally Posted by awmgolfer

When I miss hit I catch it thin which is not far from topping. My issue is keeping my weight on my toes at times which leads me to catch it thin or go right. Check to see if your weight is balanced, may not be the issue but can cause what you are doing.

+1 -- same here, when I catch shots thin, it's usually because I have too much weight on my toes. With too much weight on my toes, I'm poised to "spring" upwards right before impact. For me, whenever I start experiencing ball striking issues, it usually comes down to my lower body becoming overly active. Whenever I focus on keeping my lower body quiet, I usually strike the ball much better.

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Originally Posted by Adam Young

Controlling the height and low point of the swing is a huge co-ordinated effort by the body. Basically, a top shot is either when

1. your lowest point of your swing (imagine the lowest point of a circle) is too far behind the ball, resulting in the club ascending when it hit the ball.

2. the lowest point of your swing is too high (a million mechanical factors can cause this - arms collapsing at impact, spine angle losses, shoulder blades retracting, knees extending through impact, etc etc etc).

Rather than focusing on the mechanics too much (find a good pro who can help you fix the biggest fault at the time relating to this) just get a patch of grass, spray paint a line on the ground and place the ball on top. Now proceed to make a chipping swing where the club hits the ground so that the divot starts as close to the line as possible, and extends further past it (closer to the target side). Basically, divot after the ball.

This drill can also be done in a practice bunker, where you smooth the surface over with the back of the rake and draw a line in. Then look at where the club hits the line.

FOCUS on this during the shot, rather than focusing on the ball flight or getting it up into the air. Until this is ingrained it should be your main concentration.

hope it helps. p.s. its not easy, it's not a quick fix but it does work when you stick with it. This 'divot after the ball' idea is one of only 2 things that every single pro and good player in the world does - the other being to hit the middle of the face.

I like this advice.

I use to have this problem with my fairway woods.

The circle can be altered so that the low point of the swing is right at the ball than too far behind the ball.

basically the change I made was to tee the ball so that only the top of the tee stuck up from the ground and  the ball sits like its of the deck , this gave me a chance for more level strike .

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Note: This thread is 3250 days old. We appreciate that you found this thread instead of starting a new one, but if you plan to post here please make sure it's still relevant. If not, please start a new topic. Thank you!

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