We’ve all been there. You’re playing a brilliant round of golf, hitting long and straight drives, your short game is going great, and you’re dropping putts left right and centre.
Until, you start topping the golf ball.
Maybe it was the dreaded golf yips, maybe your nerves got the better of you after a great day for your scorecard, maybe there’s too much tension in your swing, but whatever happened, you hit an awful shot that requires a great recovery shot afterwards.
You can practice at home or on the course as much as you want, but if you don’t know how to properly combat topping the golf ball, it’s just going to keep happening, and it’s going to drastically affect your overall game.
And that’s just the problem with topping the golf ball. There are so many different factors that can be the reason as to why you are topping the golf ball.
So, keep reading as we get into how to stop topping the golf ball.
Let’s get started!
How to Stop topping the golf ball
1. Knee Flexion
As with the foundation of all sports, what you do with your legs is incredibly important in golf.
One of the first things you’ll learn if you take golf lessons is to keep your knees bent, but not too much.
You want a strong foundation to build from, so you don’t want to bend too far, but you also don’t want to stand straight up. Standing up straight in the golf swing can lead to a lack of control in the golf swing and a lack of power.
There’s not really a perfect amount of knee flexion for every golfer as every golfer will have a stance that suits them better than it would others.
That being said, a good rule of thumb is that you want to have your knees bent between a 90 and 180 degree angle, a 180 degree angle being stood up straight.
You don’t want to look like you’re sat down in the golf swing and you definitely don’t want to stand up straight.
A good way to find the natural knee flexion for your swing is to take a video of your swing from behind and inspect your stance. You might find that your knees are either bent too far or not enough!
2. Bend at the waist
The way that you bend at the waist in your golf swing can also be one of the reasons that you are topping the golf ball, and it also ties in to the the way that you bend your knees in your swing.
To have a proper golf swing, you want to bend at the waist at around a 45 degree angle.
This position will ensure that you can create a proper pendulum motion with your swing.
Think about it, if there’s no room for your arms to hang with your club properly lined up next to the ball, then how are you going to complete a full swing?
Bending properly at the waist can be an issue for some beginner golfers as it requires some goof core strength to hold that position. Holding that position for too long can also lead to the build-up of tension in your swing, which can be another reason why you are topping the golf ball.
A good way to think about it, albeit somewhat gross, is to imagine spitting down in your swing position. If done properly, your spit should land right in between your feet.
3. Spine angle
Your spine angle in golf is so important in completing a proper and consistent golf swing, though many golfers either overlook it or are unaware of its importance.
When you set up your golf swing, you want to set up a strong spine angle that you ideally want to stay the same throughout your swing.
This is so that you can achieve a proper connection through the golf ball.
One swing thought you can use to fix your spine angle in your swing is ‘don’t hunch’. You want to stand tall with your shoulders strong and not rolled over your chest.
You also want to angle your back slightly away from the direction you are aiming, shifting your weight to your back leg, but we’ll get into that a bit more later in this article.
If you have problems maintaining your spine angle in your swing, try standing with your back against a wall with both shoulder blades touching the wall. This is how you should keep your spine throughout your swing.
4. Loose Arms
Many people think that hitting a great shot in golf is about having strong arms, but that’s just not true.
You actually want to have loose arms as you set up for a shot. This will ensure that your swing plane is on the right path, and ensure that you don’t top the golf ball.
If you have problems keeping your arms loose during your swing, you can try a shorter backswing, or you can work on your follow-through with your swing.
You can also try getting into your position, with your knees flexed, your waist bent, and your spine angled correctly, and just let your arms hang down in front of you without your club.
Most of the work in your backswing and downswing comes through your pivot and your shoulders. Your arms shouldn’t be doing the majority of the work, and that could be one of the big reasons why you are topping the golf ball.
5. Wrist set
Getting your wrist set just right can be a tricky beast to conquer, but it can also be one of the reasons why you are topping the golf ball.
Finding a good example of a proper wrist set can be tricky as it can happen so quickly in the backswing, and this is one of the reasons why many golfers may not have a proper wrist set.
If coupled with a poor stance or any of the other issues we’ve already picked out in this article, an improper wrist set can lead to an early extension in your swing, which can alter your swing path and cause you to top the golf ball.
If you want to create lag in your golf swing, you must first master the wrist set, and keep your wrists in position throughout your swing.
In short: a good wrist set ensures a proper swing path and can make sure you stop topping the golf ball!
6. Club Size
There’s a good reason why professional golfers are so particular about the clubs they play with, and that’s because of the massive effect an improperly sized club can have on your game.
Your golf club size should be proportionate to you, and you alone. If you keep topping the golf ball, it could be because your clubs are too short.
If you’re just practicing putting at home, you might not notice the size of your clubs and the effect they have right away, but as soon as you get out on the course, it can become very quickly apparent.
Buying a full set of golf clubs properly sized and arranged for gapping on the course can be a big investment. You want to make sure your clubs are properly maintained, along with your golf balls, and that these clubs will last you a long time.
Don’t skimp or cut corners – if you want to play great golf, you will need to invest in the right clubs for you.
Getting the right clubs can be quite a difficult process, with unexpected questions like ‘cavity back vs blade irons‘ arising, so make sure you do your research before you commit!
7. Weight Distribution In The Swing
Weight distribution in your swing is another often overlooked aspect of the golf swing that can have some huge detrimental effects if not done properly.
Many beginners find it difficult to properly shift their weight through their legs in the swing, and if that’s the case for you, addressing this problem could be the change that gets you playing more like Tiger Woods.
You essentially want to load all of your weight onto your back leg as you begin your downswing, and shift that weight through to your other leg as you squat down and stand up through your golf swing.
This can feel like an incredibly technical movement for some, and while it’s one of the main reasons for topping the golf ball, it can take quite a while before the movement finally clicks.
One thing you can make sure you are doing while you struggle to perfect this movement is getting your feet in the right position for your swing, which is roughly about a shoulder width apart, but that can also change depending on what kind of shot you are making.
So that’s our guide on how to stop topping the golf ball!
If you find that you have fixed one of these problems in your swing and are still topping the golf ball, it could be that you’ve started doing another one of these problems!
Golf is a tough sport to master, but that’s just part of the fun! Golf is fundamentally a great way to stay social and exercise, so don’t let a problem like topping the golf ball ruin your day, as the more frustrated you get, the worse you play!