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calcnation

Topping the ball

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Ok, I know this may be obvious but its very frustrating considering I am a low single digit handicap but my one miss off the tee and with my 3 wood is a top shot.  It rears its ugly head once every third or so round and sometimes happens more than once a round.  I play the ball pretty far forward in my stance with the driver.  My assumption is its too far forward.  Do you think that's fair assumption? I will try and get a video loaded just don't have one on work computer.

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Wow, that's gotta suck at 2.1.

Do you hang back a bit with the driver? Not getting the hips forward enough? That would be my guess. Post video and someone will help you fix it.

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Ditto on the video.

I'll top a 3-wood once in a blue moon, but it's almost always because I just haven't gotten my weight forward enough or am trying to play out of a little depression where I have no business with that club in my hand in the first place.

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There are a number of things that can cause you to top the ball including some posture and ball position issues. The 3 most common culprits in the swing are:

1) Changing your posture
2) Short arming it
3) Falling back or hanging back

The easiest thing to check/fix is your weight shift. Check to make sure first that when you finish 100% of your weight is on your front foot. If it is at the finish then at least we know you are getting through the shot at some point. The next question is...are you transferring before or after you strike the ball? We need to make sure you are on your front foot at impact. To test this try hitting balls standing on your front foot only. Take your right foot and put it behind you resting only on the toe so you can't put any weight on it. Focus on staying on your front foot from address through the finish. This will feel a little odd to anyone, but if it is particularly difficult for you chances are you've been hanging back.

Next, check to make sure that your arms are fully extended throughout the entire swing. Think of a nice wide arc with long arms. Don't let them pull back into your body through impact, but rather feel like you are throwing them at the target and lengthening them through impact. If after impact at waist high your arms are fully outstretched, then you are doing a pretty good job with them.

Last, once you establish your posture you need to make sure that you are staying in it throughout the swing. Whatever the distance from the center of your chest to the ball at address, this distance should remain the same even after the ball has left the club face.

I would star by checking these 3 things in your swing and see if one of them stands out as the cause. The other thing I'd like you to do is check your ball position and posture at address to make sure there aren't any problems there. These 2 articles will cover everything you need to know for that:

Ball Placement is critical. As a drill lay a club down parallel to your target between your feet and the ball. Then lay a club down perpendicular to the one on the ground forming the letter T. Place your ball at the top of the tee in line with the perpendicular club. Simply take your stance with the perpendicular line in the middle of your feet. For a pitching wedge through a 5 iron make sure the line is one ball closer to your front foot. Thus, you are playing all your irons one ball forward of center. For a fairway wood move so that the line is now another ball closer to your front foot. This way you are playing fairway woods 2 balls forward of center. For your driver, try to get the club on the ground to line up opposite of your front armpit (approximately 3 balls forward of center). Driver is tricky because depending on your angle of attack, you may need to play it a bit further forward so it will take some experimentation on your part.


Posture is also very important. Establishing good posture is one thing, maintaining it is another. Make sure to bend from your hips, not your waist, keeping your shoulders back and your spine straight. Maintain a slight knee flex and let your arms hang relaxed from your shoulders. Your hands should end up about a fist or a fist and a thumb's length away from your thighs. Stay balanced with your weight in your arches and check with a mirror to see that the balls of your feet, knee caps and the top of your spine all line up with each other. To maintain your posture throughout the swing try the Butt Back and Stability Ball drills..

Description: The Butt Back Drill will help you maintain your posture throughout the golf swing. It really works and will help you not only achieve more accuracy by keeping your swing center the same distance from the ball throughout the swing, but will also help increase distance by encouraging more rotation through impact.

Summary:

  1. Start by taking a set up with your rear end against the back of a couch or a chair. Next, cross your arms across your chest.
  2. Rotate your shoulders into your backswing and push the back side (away from the target) of your rear end into the couch.
  3. As you transition into your downswing, push the front side (target side) of your rear end into the couch.
  4. If you are keeping your rear end attached to the chair then your spine will stay down in the tilt you established at address. This will keep your swing center the same distance from the ball throughout the swing.
  5. Staying down also forces you to rotate to get out of your own way. This will create more rotational speed and thus club head speed in your swing.
  6. Make sure to rotate your weight from back to front so that you will avoid hitting behind the ball.

Description: The Stability Ball Drill helps you develop tension and a tight coil which will allow you to maximize the distance on your drives.

Summary:

  1. Use a stability ball that forces you into a fairly wide stance. Straddle the ball giving it a good squeeze with your knees to resist hip turn.
  2. Maintain the squeeze and see how far back you can coil your shoulders. The resistance or tightness you feel is power! Like anything else, you may have to start small, but with consistent practice and stretching you should increase your flexibility.
  3. Practicing the Stability Ball Drill will help you think of your body as a rubber band. The tighter you can get yourself to wind up, the faster you are going to release or "snap" through the ball. A tight coil is achieved by maximizing the difference between the amount of your shoulder turn and hip turn.

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You place that ball any farther forward and you'd be on the green. :-) Back that puppy up to inside your left heel.

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You place that ball any farther forward and you'd be on the green. Back that puppy up to inside your left heel.

The angle of the camera appears slightly off.

And a lot of people here will disagree as to the ball inside your left heel ... and agree with just inside your big toe, which he may be doing -- can't say for certain.

http://thesandtrap.com/t/44307/hitting-up-or-down-with-the-driver-in-an-inline-pattern

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Posture is also very important. Establishing good posture is one thing, maintaining it is another. Make sure to bend from your hips, not your waist, keeping your shoulders back and your spine straight.

I agree that posture is very important, but most of the best players in the world don't do what you describe. Spine should be slightly rounded allowing your head to hang down a bit so you can see the ball from your central vision. Maybe this is just a semantic thing but we want to make sure that if it is, people don't misunderstand.

I think you'd agree that both of these guys were pretty darn good golfers.

Mike ( @mvmac ) wrote a great post on this. You can find it here:

Welcome to the site @AuriPro , glad to have you!

:beer:

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The angle of the camera appears slightly off. And a lot of people here will disagree as to the ball inside your left heel ... and agree with just inside your big toe, which he may be doing -- can't say for certain. [URL=http://thesandtrap.com/t/44307/hitting-up-or-down-with-the-driver-in-an-inline-pattern]http://thesandtrap.com/t/44307/hitting-up-or-down-with-the-driver-in-an-inline-pattern[/URL]

At first I thought the camera angle might be off, but I think it's pointed pretty much at him. I think it's just very far forward.

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At first I thought the camera angle might be off, but I think it's pointed pretty much at him. I think it's just very far forward.

I think @Mr. Desmond is right - his was the same first thought I had as well.  It looks like he's slightly open to the camera angle, which would make the ball appear a bit forward of where it actually is.  He's also correct about a lot of people preferring it further forward than the left heel, as I am one of those people.  I like it out by my left toe too, so I think if I took a video with the camera slightly behind me like this, it would look exactly the same. :)

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Great responses.  I think it confirms my thought that it is ball position.  I think on the course it get it even further forward thus resulting in a random top.

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