TOPPINGThe topped shot is the result of hitting the top half of the ball, causing it to roll or bounce it's way down the fairway. Topping is one of those ils that can make you want to give up golf and try your luck at bowling. Embarrassing and a round killer, even occasional topping can destroy your confidence and in turn affect other parts of your game. The good new is that topping can be relatively easy to fix once you know why it's happening and how to correct it!
WHY WE TOP
The majority of golfers who top shots do so because they are hitting the ball on the upswing, rather than on the downswing. Fairway woods and long irons are the most likely clubs to be topped, as the average golfer feels the need to "help" the ball get airborne due to the low loft of these clubs.
HERES WHAT TO DO
1. Take the club back low to the ground for the first 18" of your backswing. By doing so you create a nice wide arc which you should naturally follow on the downswing. Start with your left arm comfortably straight on the backswing and maintain that same position throughout the downswing. Collapsing your left arm and wrist is a major factor in topped shots.
2. Feel as though your wrists are leading the way on the downswing. Make an effort to keep that left wrist firm through impact and beyond. (Yes, you can still turn your hands over without collapsing that wrist!) Practice this move with some very short pitch or flop shots. Keep your wrists firm well past impact. Try to get the feeling that your hands and wrists are ahead of the club head. (because they are!!) You'll make more consistent contact in the center of the club and you can't "scoop" the ball this way.
3. Take a divot after the ball...even with your fairway woods! We're not talking about a sod you'll need to replace, but you should be able to see where the club at least brushed the ground in front of the ball's original position. Even your fairway wood shots are hit with an ever so slight descending blow. Don't worry about getting the ball up, the loft of the club will do that for you.
4. Watch your ball position! It's not uncommon for players who top shots to be play the ball too far forward. (and sometimes even too far back.) If the ball is even with or in front of your left instep even a proper swing can result in a topped shot. Ask a friend to look at your stance and make sure the ball is no further forward than your left heel, and no further back than say 3-4" from your left heel. (away from the target.) You'll be surprised to find that you may be playing the ball in front of your left foot and have no idea you are doing it! (if you have no friends you can also lay two clubs perpendicular to each other on the ground and take your stance this way. Once you stop topping you'll once again be able to meet people who'll want to play with you and possibly become friends with them.)
While there are a number of things that can cause a topped shot, following these tips should help regardless of the exact cause in your case. If you try these tips and are still topping, check out our tip on the proper address. You may be crouching over the ball too much and in turn pulling up and out of the shot. (whenever you set up in an improper fashion you have to compensate in some way during the swing just to make contact.) Following the correct address tips, with your head and chin "up", you back comfortably bent but not hunched over, and your shoulders "back" will cure a lot of woes immediately!
If you're still topping after all this ask any of our experts for some help. It's free and they're here to help you.