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Golf

The 7 Sins That Lead to Topping the Golf Ball, And How You Can Avoid Them

Golf club tapping a golf ball with tees

Golf is one of the most rewarding yet frustrating sports; while a stellar day on the course leaves you feeling like you’re on cloud 9, something as small as the tilt of your head can ruin the weekend. 

Hitting the top of the golf ball is a common mistake for most amateurs. Even the best of us come out on top sometimes. The obvious goal is to prevent such mistakes in the first place, but if you have a bad habit you can’t shake not to fear. We’ll help you identify where you’re going wrong and provide you with some awesome tips to eliminate the problems for good. 

Coming Out On Top? Find Out Why

Inconsistencies in your swing can cause anything from minute errors to just outright embarrassing episodes with teammates, friends and colleagues. Gears touts the most powerful, precise, golf swing motion capture system in the world and our users are frequently awestruck by the clarity and practicality of our analytics. With our system you can not only compare your motions with a pro’s, but you can enjoy a glorious 3D rendering of every angle and speed of your body movement so you know exactly where you should be improving. Find out why you’re hitting the top of the ball, and unlock your full golf potential.

Sin #1: Watching Your Shot Too Early

Ever heard the phrase your hands follow your eyes? This is 100% true, especially in golf. Trying to see your shot take shape before you hit it isn’t a bad thing. In fact some pros recommend mentally going through the hole to calm your nerves. 

The problem is that many of us jump the gun and bring our head up too soon. As you look up, your body rises a few inches, just enough to hit the top of the ball rather than the center. 

Sin #2: Not Letting the Club Work For You

Many golfers end up topping the ball because they try to lift it rather than letting their momentum and the club work for them. 

When you try to lift the ball you actually create an upwards motion that causes you to miss the center of the ball. 

Listen, we get it. You want to hit a booming shot that leaves your fellow golfers speechless. But you’re not gonna get anywhere if you try and force it. Let the club do its work.

Sin #3: Sliding Instead of Turning 

golfer ini checkered pants hitting golf ball

A relatively common mistake is to move your body, and rotate side to side or slide during your swing. Technically speaking, your spine shouldn’t move when swing. It’s the pivot point that your body should rotate around. 

Sliding during the backswing makes it especially difficult to slide back on the downswing. 

This complicates the timing and consistency of your swing and leaves you feeling pretty stumped as to why your golf game isn’t progressing. 

Sin #4: Using Poor Posture

Posture is one of the most basic yet fundamental and commonly overlooked pieces of your golf swing. Slight adjustments in posture can affect where you make contact with the ball, the power behind your shot, and your attack angle. 

Good posture is the basis for solid contact. Lean forward from the hips, let your hands hang below the shoulders, and get the club down to the ground. 

Try to avoid flexing the knees too much or slouching. This only lengthens the distance between the club and ground and makes it difficult to put any power behind your shot. 

A good rule of thumb is that if you feel like you’re having to reach out to make contact with the ball, you’re probably too far away. 

Do yourself a favor and avoid the classic advice to ‘keep your head down.’ While well intentioned, this advice can do damage if you’re not careful. 

When most golfers keep their head down, they fill their body with tension, disqualifying them from a smooth rotation and actually pulling their arms up a bit. 

Relax at the setup and more often than not you’ll hit the center of the ball. 

Sin #5: Being Too Narrow at the Backswing

Another common mistake is bringing the hands too close to the body on the backswing. Extend your arms out straight, away from the sternum. It’s possible to have a proper path in your backswing without sacrificing width. 

Sin #6: Not Straightening Out During The Downswing

During the backswing, your left elbow bends slightly. Ideally when you make your downswing, the left arm straightens, allowing you to extend the club to strike the ball. If you’re doing things correctly, you should feel like you’re literally throwing the club to the ground. 

This produces two key outcomes. Most importantly it helps you make contact with the center of the ball. Secondly, it allows for a more dynamic swing motion. Many golfers swing “flat footed” meaning that feet and lower extremities mostly stay still during the downswing. By implementing the “throwing motion” and staying relaxed and loose throughout the swing, your back foot should naturally lift into the follow through. 

Sin #7: Being a Wimp

exhausted golfer laying down in grass

Sometimes hitting the top of the ball is nothing technical, it’s just a matter of committing to hit hard, even if that means kicking up a chunk of turf on occasion. Use proper technique, and let her rip! Don’t be shy.

How To Fix Bad Habits

Despite their best efforts to improve their technique, some golfers may still struggle with hitting the top of technique. Remember that fixing bad habits takes time. In the meantime, take a look at these drills and give them a try. 

Drill #1: One Armed Wide Backswing 

Hold your lead wrist with your trail hand. Take a swing, but without a club. You’ll feel your trail arm pull your lead arm wide in the swing path. Be sure you stay connected throughout the swing. 

Drill #2: Throw Your Arms

Place a ball in your right hand. Setup as if you were about to hit. Do a backswing, allowing the elbow to fold. Aggressively throw the ball to the ground. This will help you get a sense of how much the lead arm should straighten at impact.

Drill #3: Swing Circuit

You’ll need plenty of balls for this drill. Setup at the range, preferably with an iron. Start with little chips and work your way up to a full swing, doing 10 of each length(1/4, 1/2 , 3/4 , Full). Once you’ve reached a full swing go back down. Repeat the circuit 3 times total. 

Throughout the circuit you should feel how a downward contact with the ball enables you to consistently strike the center with confidence. 

Final Words

Topping the golf ball can be extremely frustrating. Use the tips above and practice often, and you can feel confident that you’ll get it in no time. Good luck!

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