Topping the ball can become a big problem for senior golfers as the tendency to try and scoop or lift the ball into the air increases with age.
The topped shot occurs when the club’s leading edge makes contact with the top quarter of a golf ball. The impact transfers almost pure topspin on the ball, sending it toppling off the tee and only a short distance down the fairway.
For senior golfers, fixing the topped shot could drastically reduce scores and boost confidence. Listed below are three sure fire ways to ensure you’re getting on top of that topped shot:
1. Weight transfer is key - One of the most common causes of the topped shot is shifting body weight on to the back foot during the downswing. The reason for this, especially amongst senior golfers, is an attempt to hit underneath the ball. However, as a senior begins to lean back through impact, the club reaches the bottom of it's swing arc too early and is already rising upwards, striking the top of the ball. To help stop this ‘reverse pivot’ taking place, seniors must make sure their weight transfer is working correctly. On the backswing, the body weight should move on to the inside of the right foot, and when coming through, the weight should shift on to the left side. This will help ensure the senior golfer strikes down and through the ball with the irons, and strikes the ball from the centre of the club face with the woods.
2. Stay down and through the ball - Another reason senior golfers top the ball is the tendency to stand up through impact, losing their posture. Again, this is usually caused by the golfer attempting the lift the ball into the air. To try and fix this problem, try to maintain posture through the swing. The senior should feel the hips stay back at impact, not shunt forward. It can also help to feel the chest is ‘on top’ of the ball throughout the swing and feel the right shoulder is driving through the shot.
3. Stay loose, don’t be tense - Tension in the hands can have the unfortunate effect of shortening the swing arc causing the arms to bend at impact, hitting the top of the ball. To help stop this happening, the senior golfer must relax the hands at address and keep the tension in their hands to a minimum throughout the swing. The old maxim of having a grip pressure soft enough to hold a tube of toothpaste without spraying the contents, is a good feeling to have when holding the club. Ernie Els advocates keeping the forearms ‘as relaxed as possible’ at address to alleviate tension.
By practising these tips, you will allow yourself to get on top of that topped shot!