Welcome to GOLF’s Top 100 Teacher roundtable, where some of the best instructors in the business answer the game’s most perplexing questions. The goal? To help your game and lower your scores ASAP.
One of the most common misses for the beginning golfer is topping the ball. Just as they come through the impact zone, the clubhead does not bottom out properly and they only catch the top half of the ball. The result is a disappointing dribbler that barely gets out of their shadow.
It seems like it should be simple to stop topping the ball, but that is rarely the case. Tops are something that can seem to stick around for a while once they start.
But what’s the best way to cure this miss? We had some GOLF Top 100 Teachers share their best tips.
1. Bounce the club off the turf
A topped ball simply means the club was too high when it got to the ball. (You didn’t pick your head up for goodness sake!) Make sure your practice swings make the club head bounce off the turf, not just brush it. Better yet, make sure when the ball is in the way that you still bounce the club off the turf. We are looking for ball then turf contact after all. The ball will just get in the way as your club travels down to bounce off the turf. Bounce the club every time, even if it’s too far behind the ball, then you can tune in the bounce point so you always hit the ball first. – John Dunigan, White Manor C.C., Malvern, Pa.
2. Practice on sidehill lies
Most topped shots are caused by pulling the arms up at impact or coming out of your posture on the downswing. To help with this, try practicing hitting shots on a sidehill lie with the ball below your feet. This will teach you to stay in your posture at impact and eliminate the top. – Keith Lyford, Golf Academy at Old Greenwood Truckee, Calif.
3. Steepen your swing
A good way to stop the tops is to steepen your swing. To do this, try practicing on downhill lies. This will train you to keep the shoulders and hips on the downhill plane promote the correct impact position and the correct transfer of weight. – Tina Tombs, Arizona Biltmore G.C., Phoenix, Ariz.
4. Shift weight to lead side
If you are topping the ball, you might not be getting to your lead side properly. Try to make an effort to shift more of your weight to your lead side when you swing and it should get you hitting down on the ball more. – V.J. Trolio, Old Waverly G.C., West Point, Miss.