How to Stop Topping the Golf Ball: A Comprehensive Guide

Topping the golf ball can be incredibly frustrating! In this article, I’m going to provide tips on how to stop topping the golf ball so you can get back to nailing greens!

Not only does topping the ball result in a loss of distance and accuracy, but it can also dent your confidence and lead to other swing issues. If you’re struggling with topping the ball, don’t worry: you’re not alone.

Fortunately, with a little bit of knowledge and practice, you can correct this problem and start hitting the ball more consistently.

What Causes Topping the golf ball?

At the most basic level, topping the golf ball occurs because the ball is either too far in front of your swing arc, or too far back in your swing arc.

Typically, when golfers top the ball, it is a result of the ball being in front of the swing arc.

Why your ball is in front of or behind your swing arc can be due to a few potential reasons.

  1. Ball position

  2. Weight transfer during your swing

  3. Overactive hands

How to stop topping the golf ball

If you want to make solid contact, we obviously need to make a good golf swing. Easier said than done. If you’re able to maintain correct posture throughout the entire swing, it’s probably a very simple fix – Item #1 above.

Let’s say you struggle to make a textbook golf swing, welcome to the club! Not even the pro’s make the same swing, they’re all different. You can make small changes, but in a lot of ways, you’re sometimes better off keeping most of what you’ve got. Learn to play within it.

Ball Position

The first item I would try to address is simply moving your ball position back in your stance.

Don’t just take my word for it, this is advice given by one of the best golfers of all time, Lee Trevino.

“Your arms are only so long”….“They’re coming up before they’re hitting the golf ball,”

Ball Position Reference
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No matter what club you are hitting, get yourself lined up as you normally would, then simply move your ball (assuming you’re on the range) back a half a ball width. Take a shot and if it’s still not enough, move it back a full ball width.

It’s important to keep everything else the same in the golf shot when you do this. Don’t change your club head or anything else in your golf swing. You’ll know within just a couple of swings.

Weight Transfer

So many golfers want to sway in their golf swing, I’ve been there! It’s important to rotate, but you need to be sure you’re not swaying. It can feel like a subtle difference, but here is a great video from Danny Maude on the topic.

If you start shifting backwards, you’ll get behind the ball too much and likely hit the ground behind the ball.

But that’s not a “topped shot”, right? Well, it can lead to it. You might be brushing the ground behind the ball, which means the bottom of your swing arc is behind the ball. This will cause you to catch it low on the club head.

Overactive Hands

Just as weight transfer can change the swing arc relative to ball location, getting too much of a “flip” in your hands prior to contact can result in topping golf shots. Chances are, if you have addressed the first two items on this list, you’ve probably corrected your overactive hands in the process!

Now What? How to Apply it

Chances are – Your topped shots problem is probably limited to certain golf clubs. Addressing your ball location is very simple, you can do that on the range or even while you’re playing.

Regardless of when you address position, I would highly recommend checking out Danny’s video and work on the weight distribution and rotation drill he talks about. You don’t even need a golf club or to swing in order to practice it.

If you get out on the range, you can also start with some half swings. This will help you get a good feel for the weight transfer and rotation. Then you can gradually move to taking a full swing.

After you have figured out what your problem was, make a mental note of it and think of one word that you can implement into your pre shot routine to help you on the golf course. Having a good pre shot routine can be very powerful, learn more about best practices at the link above.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, topping the golf ball can be a frustrating problem for golfers of all skill levels. Most amateur golfers experience it from time to time. However, by understanding the most common causes of the issue and following the tips provided in this article, you can improve your swing mechanics, ball positioning, and posture, and significantly reduce the occurrence of topping the golf ball.

Remember, practice and patience are key to improving your golf game.

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