How To Stop Topping The Golf Ball 1

Imagine you are on the golf course and you have just hit your best drive of the day.

You have split the fairway in two and you have a simple iron shot over a water hazard on to the green. Most golfers who have this next shot will only be thinking about one thing. Get it over the water! Now what tends to happen is that the golfer will attempt to lift the golf ball over the water hazard by adding loft to their golf swing and leaning back and hitting up. Most commonly this leads to the golfer topping the golf ball. A topped golf shot is where the leading edge of the golf club makes contact with the middle/top of the golf ball, and therefore the ball rolls along the floor with very little power and never gets airborne. This is such a destructive shot as it can lead to the golf ball finding hazards, rough, or bunkers.

Fault - The more the golfer tops the golf ball, the more the fault can be exaggerated making the problem much worse. A topped golf shot is where the leading edge of the golf club makes contact with the middle/top of the golf ball, and therefore the ball rolls along the floor with very little power and never gets airborne. The fault is not returning the golf club head back into the position it started in. The golf club contacts the golf ball in a different position, therefore something has changed, resulting in bad contact and lack of consistency.

How To Stop Topping The Golf Ball 2

Fix - Set up to the golf ball, holding the club. You should notice your leading arm is stretched and straight and the club is positioned behind the golf ball. The length of your left arm and the golf club cannot get much longer at this point, however it can become shorter by bending the left arm. If this happens, the golf club will not be able to still touch the ground and therefore will struggle to strike the bottom of the golf ball. This bending of the left arm can happen during the golfer's downswing resulting in the golf club head struggling to strike the bottom of the golf ball and the ground.

Key tip - Work on keeping the leading arm (left arm for right handed golfers) as straight at impact as it was at set up. If you work on maintaining the length of the left arm throughout the golf swing and work on striking down and beyond the golf ball, you will increase the chance of reaching the bottom of the golf ball at impact.

Practice this exercise and drill without the golf ball first to create the feeling of stretching the arm and strike beyond the impact area.

How to Stop Topping the Golf Ball

How to Stop Topping the Golf Ball

There are few mistakes you can make on the golf course which are as embarrassing as hitting a topped shot. When you top the ball, your shot will just roll along the turf in front of you, and everyone around will know that you have made a poor swing. Not only do you have to deal with the embarrassment of this mistake, you also have to deal with the lie your ball happens to find. Rarely will a topped shot end up in a good place – most of the time, the ball will dive into a nasty spot and you will struggle to finish the hole without putting a big number on your scorecard.

In this article, we are going to provide advice aimed at eliminating the topped shot from your golf game. This advice is particularly important for beginning players, but it can be helpful for the experienced golfer as well. No player wants to hit a topped shot at just the wrong time during a round – by using our tips, you should be able to avoid that outcome moving forward. There is nothing you can do to completely eliminate the chances of a topped shot, but you can make it far less likely with a combination of the right technique and the right mental approach.

Before we get into the specific tips you can use to avoid topped shots, there is something that needs to be cleared up first – you shouldn't be worried about what other people think of your golf game. The embarrassment that might come from hitting a topped shot in front of other golfers should have no bearing on how you play. Why is that the case? Simple – every other golfer on the course has hit their fair share of bad shots over the years. No golfer is perfect, as this is an extremely difficult game to play at a high level. Even a golfer who currently plays to a single-digit handicap knows what it is like to hit ugly shots, because he or she was once a beginner. The only path to quality golf is through trial and error, so never be ashamed when a poor shot happens to come off your club.

The advice about ignoring the opinions of other people on the course is important whether you are dealing with topped shots or any other kind of mistake. Nothing is going to be gained by thinking about what other people think about your golf game. Most likely, they aren't thinking about your game at all – they are too busy worrying about their own games. And, even if they are thinking about your game, who cares? Let them think what they want while you worry about being the best player you can be.

All of the instruction included in this article is written from the perspective of a right-handed golfer. If you happen to play left-handed, please take a moment to reverse the directions as necessary.

When Topped Shots Become a Problem

When Topped Shots Become a Problem

In golf, you don't want to be overly reactionary to things that happen in your game. In other words, one bad shot is not a reason to panic. Everyone hits bad shots in this difficult game, and you are certainly going to hit plenty more as you continue your golf experience. Everyone from the best players in the world down to total beginners is going to deal with poor shots from time to time. Bad shots are just part of the game, and you should accept that as being a fact.

With that said, there is a point where a pattern of similar bad shots becomes a problem to address. If you are consistently topping the ball throughout your rounds, there is obviously something going on in your technique that needs to be fixed. So how do you know when a random bad shot or two has turned into a pattern? Watch for the problem to repeat itself over multiple rounds of golf. When you see the same issues for a few rounds in a row, there can be little doubt that a change is necessary.

So why do golfers top the ball in the first place? There are a few potential causes of this frustrating mistake. The most common issues are listed below.

  • Lifting your head up early. This is the big one – and you probably know that you have been guilty of this at least once or twice over the years. When your head comes up early to see where the ball is going, your shoulders and the rest of your upper body will lift as well – and the club will not be as low as it needs to be in order to make solid contact. You will hit the top half of the ball, and the shot will fail to get up off the ground. The fix here is simple, of course – you need to stay down. Keep your head down through the shot, and watch the ball until it has been sent on its way. You will need to have discipline to keep your head down, but that discipline will be rewarded with vastly improved play.
  • Rushing through the downswing. Another way to wind up with a topped shot is to rush through your downswing in an effort to get the shot over with as quickly as possible. Some players get to the top of the backswing and panic – they just want to move the club through the hitting area and see what is going to happen. It should go without saying that this approach to your golf swing is only going to lead to trouble. You need to be patient on the way down, allowing your body to rotate through the shot prior to the club arriving at impact. You might be surprised to find how quickly you can get rid of topped golf shots when you are just willing to slow down, relax, and let the swing happen in its own time.
  • Coming up onto your toes. As you swing down toward impact, you might feel the urge to move up onto your toes instead of keeping your feet flat on the ground. This move can feel powerful while it is in progress, but there is only one problem – it is going to be very hard to strike the ball cleanly when you make this move. Since you will be raising the level of your entire body, you are going to run the risk of $topping your shot instead of getting the leading edge of the club under the ball correctly. You aren't actually going to gain any power when you use this move, so don't fall into the trap of making this mistake. Keep your feet flat on the ground and work on turning as aggressively as you can toward the target.

There are many ways to wind up with a topped golf shot. It can be difficult to figure out which of the causes is actually the culprit in your game, so think carefully about your swing technique and consider recording your swing on video to see the problem for yourself. No matter what it is that happens to be causing you to top the ball, there is only one thing to do – get down to work on finding a solution as soon as possible.

Eliminating the Topped Shot

Eliminating the Topped Shot

If you are like most golfers, you really don't care why you are topping the ball – you just want it to stop. It is hard to have much fun on the course when you are topping the ball, and golf is supposed to be fun. Sadly, if your topping habit continues too long, you might decide that you are no longer all that interested in hitting the links. Don't let things get to that point – take action as soon as possible and move the ball back to the sweet spot of your club face on the majority of your swings.

The first thing you need to do in order to eliminate the topped shot is take a deep breath and look at the situation objectively. You are probably frustrated at the moment, and the emotions that come along with those feelings of frustration really aren't going to help you conquer this challenge. The best way to take the emotion out of the situation is just to take a quick break from golf. If you usually play or practice multiple times a week, consider taking a week off just to get some distance between you and the problem. When you come back, the issue won't seem so frustrating and you should be able to get to work with a clear head.

Now that you have relaxed a bit, use the tips below to take the topped shots out of your game during an upcoming practice session.

  • Improve your rotation. The golf swing should be a rotational movement. If you aren't rotating throughout the swing – both back and through – you aren't swinging the club at your highest possible level. While rotation is helpful for a number of purposes, such as hitting the ball accurately and with power, it is also helpful in the task of making clean contact at impact. When you turn to the left aggressively in the downswing, the club will be delivered into the back of the ball nicely time after time. Players who struggle with topped shots usually don't do a very good job of rotating toward the target. Work on improving your performance in this category to take a big step away from the possibility of a topped shot.
  • Check on your ball position. It could be something as simple as ball position which is leading to your topped shot. If the ball is too far forward in your stance, your club might be moving back up away from the turf by the time you make contact. It is hard to reach the ball and successfully hit a solid shot when it is placed up by your left foot. For short irons, you should be playing the ball roughly from the middle of your stance. On longer irons, the ball can be forward of middle – but it still shouldn't be lined up near your left foot like it would be with a driver. Double check your ball positioning and make any corrections that might be necessary on the range before trying those same adjustments on the course.
  • Take your time. There is a lot to be said for using a smooth tempo in your golf swing. Tempo is a topic which is often ignored in the amateur golf world, but it should be something that is near the top of your practice priority list. A good tempo can cover up for some mechanical mistakes, and it can certainly make you a better player overall. Adding consistency to your tempo will make it easier to avoid topped shots, and it will cause you to play better from round to round – and even play better under pressure.

Your topped shots likely are not going to go away on their own. Instead, you are going to have to invest some serious work into this process if you want to make these annoying mistakes a thing of the past. Focus an upcoming practice session or two on the task of taking topped shots out of your game. With that practice complete, you can return to the course for your next round with newfound confidence that you will be able to get through 18 holes without a single topped shot.

How to Respond to a Topped Shot

How to Respond to a Topped Shot

Okay – so this might seem like taking a bit of a step backward, but it is an important topic nonetheless. We hope that the instruction provided so far in this article will help you steer clear of topped golf shots. But what if you still top a shot from time to time? What are you going to do then? In this section, we are going to address the issue of how you should respond to a topped shot when one does occur.

Immediately after topping a shot, you are going to feel a variety of emotions – and none of them will be positive. You might be embarrassed that your friends saw you hit such a bad shot, or you may feel bad that you are holding up the pace of play by struggling to get the ball off the ground. Particularly competitive players will think first and foremost about their scorecard, which is sure to suffer as a result of this mistake. No matter what kind of thoughts and emotions run through you after topping the ball, it is critical that you pull yourself together before making another swing.

In the time that it takes to walk up to your ball to swing again (which might not be long), you need to forget about the poor swing and focus in on getting yourself on track. It is at this point when many golfers will compound the mistake of a bad swing with a bad decision. You can't try to hit a miracle shot to make up for the topped shot you just hit – you need to objectively assess the situation and make the best choice for the circumstances you face. If that means just punching the ball up the fairway to get back on the short grass, that is what you should do. This will be one of the most difficult times to demonstrate patience on the course, but it is going to be patience that will help get you out of trouble.

Of course, no matter what kind of decision you make for your next shot, you still need to be able to execute a quality swing to get the ball off the ground. Your confidence is going to be low at this point, so it will take a strong mental effort to trust in your swing once again. Focus on your fundamentals, keep the swing as simple as possible, and believe in yourself. All it takes is one or two good swings to alter the course of your round, so never give up just because you have made the mistake of topping the ball. Do your best to show confidence and strike a shot you can be proud of with your next swing.

In many ways, the biggest challenge you face in golf is bouncing back from mistakes. All golfers make mistakes in each and every round – even the best players in the world. If you are going to reach your potential on the course, you need to learn how to overcome those mistakes with a combination of positive thinking and plenty of confidence in your game. It isn't always easy to be optimistic while playing golf, but those who expect success are going to fare best in the end.

Topped Shots in the Short Game

Topped Shots in the Short Game

The issue of a topped shot is not one which can be left to just the full swing. It is possible to top the ball while playing short game shots as well, and this mistake can be just as frustrated – and costly – when you are around the green. When we say 'short game' in this case, we are talking about chip and pitch shots. You shouldn't have any trouble with topped putts, after all, as it is easy to make clean contact with the ball while using the flat stick.

So what happens that can cause you to top the ball while hitting a chip or pitch? And how can you get back on track? The tips below should help.

  • Head coming up, again. Just as with the full swing, it is common for players to top the ball when they look up early in anticipation of where the shot might go. Remember – looking up early is going to do nothing at all to improve the outcome of your shots. Do your best to stay down all the way through impact while trusting that the ball is going to pop up out of the grass and onto the green.
  • Too much right hand. If you use too much right hand action as the club approaches the ball, you may raise the level of the club head – and top the ball as a result. To hit your chip shots solidly, you should feel like you are leading the swing with the back of your left wrist. Keep your left wrist flat and firm and deliver the club into the golf ball with confidence.
  • Trying to do too much from a poor lie. You always need to remember that the lie of the golf ball has a lot to do with the kinds of shots you can produce. If you have a poor lie in the rough somewhere around the green, do your best to play a safe shot in order to get back in play as soon as possible. Trying to hit a perfect shot from a bad lie is only asking for trouble.
  • Short backswing. A short backswing can easily lead to problems if you rush through toward the ball. Without enough time for the backswing to be completed properly, your hands may take over the forward swing – and the shot may be topped in the end. You don't need to make a long backswing to hit a standard chip shot, but you do need to take your time to create a smooth tempo and relaxed rhythm.

Topping the golf ball certainly isn't any fun. Making this mistake could cause you to receive a few friendly teases from your playing partners, and your scorecard will certainly be impacted, as well. However, you don't have to resign yourself to dealing with a topped shot for the rest of your time as a golfer. Get to work on correcting this problem, using the advice offered in this article, and you should get greater enjoyment out of your coming rounds. We hope our tips are just what you need to get back on track – good luck!