Simple Steps to Stop Topping the Golf Ball

There is nothing more frustrating than topping a golf ball on the course. This affects your tee shot or approach shot distance, and can even send the ball skidding across the fairway. Fix your swing fundamentals if you’re tired of hitting major grass before the ball and losing strokes.

You can achieve consistent ball contact by adjusting your setup, posture, and downswing. You will learn what it means to top the ball and how to eliminate tops and make solid contact. By using the right techniques, you can compress the ball for maximum carry distance and accuracy.

What is Topping a Golf Ball?

Topping the ball simply means the lowest portion of the clubhead hits the ground before the ball. This occurs when the angle of attack is too steep coming into impact. The clubhead reaches the turf first and sweeps across the ground into the ball. This improper angle of attack eliminates the loft on the clubface so that the ball doesn’t get airborne.

Here are some common causes of topping the ball:

  • Swaying back during the downswing- Swaying the body back away from the target during the downswing moves the low point behind the ball leading to tops. Proper weight shift left is needed.
  • Striking down too steeply with an overly vertical swing- An overly vertical downswing plane that comes too much from the inside causes the club to strike the ground first. Shallowing the shaft is needed.
  • Hitting too far behind the ball- Making contact with the turf several inches behind the ball seals the fate for a top. Ensure you are making contact with the ball first.
  • Ball position too far back- If the ball is positioned too far back in your stance, the club will hit the ground first before reaching the ball. Move it forward.
  • Standing up or straightening your posture before impact- Standing up out of your posture during the downswing raises the low point and makes the bottom of the arc occur before the ball. Maintain posture.

Setup to Avoid Topping a Golf Ball

  • Keep your knees slightly flexed and maintain a slight bend at the waist 
  • Avoid locking your legs straight or swaying during the swing 
  • Position the ball forward in your stance, closer to your front foot 
  • Maintain the spine angle established at address throughout the swing 
  • Keep your head still and resist lifting up on your swing

How To Stop Topping the Golf Ball: 5 Simple Steps

  1. Weight Transfer: Proper weight transfer is key for clean contact. Start the downswing by shifting your weight onto your left side. Time it so your torso clears out of the way before impact. Avoid swaying back away from the target on the downswing. Stay centered over the shot and keep your head still. Clearing your hips early shallows the swing plane for solid ball striking.
  2. Swing Plane: A too-steep swing plane leads to topping the ball. Make a full shoulder turn on the backswing to create width. Allow your back to arch slightly and keep the clubhead outside your hands. Fully hinge your wrists at the top to increase depth. Initiate the downswing with your lower body, not your hands. Feel the clubhead drop into the proper slot on the downswing.
  3. Ball Contact: When you make contact, the clubhead should be moving down and out towards your target. Maintain clubhead speed going into the ball rather than decelerating. Release your wrists fully just after impact to ensure solid contact. Stay balanced and resist swaying back. You should feel the clubhead brush the grass slightly after hitting the ball.
  4. Clubhead Lag: On the downswing, keep the clubhead behind your hands as long as possible. The delayed release adds power and prevents topping the ball. Time your wrist release to occur right after impact, not before. Feel the clubhead overtake your hands and pass them on the way to the ball.
  5. Practice: Groove the proper setup, swing motions, weight transfer, and impact positions by spending quality time practicing on the range. Ingrain the correct techniques until they become second nature. Monitor your divots to ensure effective ball-turf contact. Don’t settle for rushed practice sessions. Take the time needed to shape shots properly.

Best Clubs to Stop Topping the Golf Ball

  • Fairway Woods – The shallower face and rounded sole glide through turf for crisp contact.
  • Hybrids – The part-iron, part-wood design lifts the ball out of the turf. The wider sole prevents digging.
  • Irons with Wider Soles – Cavity back irons with wide soles and beveled leading edges can prevent digging. Go for game improvement irons.
  • Higher Lofted Drivers – Drivers with 10.5-12 degrees loft can sweep the ball cleanly off the tee. The extra loft helps lift shots.
  • Chippers/Wedges – For topped chips, a higher lofted wedge like 60 degrees can lift the ball easily on delicate shots.

Conclusion

Your shots aren’t getting airborne and your scores are suffering because you are topping the ball. With the right adjustments to your stance, alignment, swing plane, and downswing, fat shots can be eliminated. Consistency comes from repetition and focus ingrained in proper techniques. Take time to work on each step outlined above to shallow your attack angle and take crisp divots. Soon you’ll be compressing the ball with confidence for increased carry and accuracy off the tee or fairway. Say goodbye to topped shots and enjoy watching your ball sail high and straight down the fairway. 

FAQs

Why am I topping my tee shots?

Topping tee shots is often caused by swaying back in the downswing and losing posture. This leads to hitting down too steeply with an overly vertical club plane. Ensure proper weight transfer and maintain spine angle throughout your swing to make crisp contact with tee shots.

How do I stop my golf ball from chunking and topping?

Chunking and topping can be fixed by shallowing your downswing plane and maintaining posture and weight transfer. Set up with proper knee flex and spine tilt then retain angles on the swing. Transfer weight left while keeping the clubhead outside the hands to sweep the ball cleanly.

How do I stop topping my iron shots?

To stop topping irons, focus on forward weight shift in the downswing, brushing the turf just after impact, and taking divots in front of the ball. This will shallow your angle of attack for solid contact.

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