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Golf Question: What Should I Focus On To Stop Topping The Golf Ball?Topping the ball is one of the most frustrating things which can happen to a golfer.
It occurs when the bottom edge of the club makes contact with the top half of the ball.

These impact factors cause the ball to shoot downward into the ground before popping up and trundling on a short distance. Its a shot which is very common with high handicappers and new golfers.

People who top the ball are often barracked for “not keeping their head down” and Im sure many golfers have received this pearl of wisdom from well-meaning playing partners. However, topping the ball is often caused by a poor extension of the arms through impact and trying to scoop the ball into the air. There has been untold damage caused across the globe from people shouting keep your head down! Golfers do need to maintain their posture when swinging the club and their head as still as possible but keeping the head down often leads to very stunted and awkward swings.

If you are struggling topping the ball, ensure first your arm extension is up to scratch. Coming into impact (with the irons) the hands should be slightly ahead of the ball and the arms straightening. At half way through the forward swing the club and arms should be pointing directly down the target line and extended away from the body. If after practicing this position you are still struggling with a topped shot, make sure these following swing fundamentals are in place.

  • Weight transfer – Another cause of the topped shot is shifting body weight on to the back foot during the down swing in an attempt to hit underneath the ball. If a player leans back through impact, the club reaches the bottom of its swing arc too early and is already rising upwards striking the top of the ball. To help stop this reverse pivot taking place, make sure the weight is transferring correctly on to the left side during the down swing.
  • Maintain posture – Another reason a golfer could top the ball is the tendency to lose posture during the swing. Again this is usually caused by the golfer attempting the lift the ball into the air. To try and fix this problem, the golfer should try to maintain their posture throughout the swing. Golfers should feel the hips stay back and turn at impact, not shunt forward towards the ball. It can also help to feel the chest is ‘on top of the ball throughout the swing and feel the right shoulder is driving down and through the shot.
  • Stay loose, dont 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 golfer must relax the hands at address and keep the tension in their hands to a minimum throughout the swing. The old maxims of having a grip pressure soft enough to hold a tube of toothpaste without spraying the contents or clutching a live bird are good feelings to have when holding and swinging the club.
  • Sorry Try Again! - See Explanation Below

    Its a shout that echoes across every driving range and golf course across the world every day! But remember most topped golf shots are caused by retracting the arms and forcing the head down could cause more problems than it solves.

    Sorry Try Again! - See Explanation Below

    When selecting clubs to play with, most people will benefit from getting custom fitted (matching the club to your physical attributes and capability). Playing with extra-long clubs could cause a number of issues.

    Sorry Try Again! - See Explanation Below

    This is another major cause of poor ball striking. Trying to lift the ball upwards will cause the club to bottom out in its arc too early and either catch the ground before the ball or miss the ground and skull the ball. With the irons, try to strike down and through the ball and dont lift it into the air. Check the arms first if you are topping the ball.