Topping the golf ball is mad embarrassing, especially if you’re in front of good golfers or professional players watching you.
After taking your sweet time to position your stance with a stern face and with all eyes on you, missing that ball shot is just painful, don’t you agree?
There’s no reason to panic because we’ll show you how to stop topping the ball perfectly. Trust us! These tips and tricks will help A LOT!
Lucky for you, this embarrassing shot problem of yours has an easy fix just in time for your next golf game – DRILLS!
Yes, don’t worry too much. The perfect swing arc is achievable.
This section will tackle some of the easy drills that you can do to train yourself and prevent all of the mistakes we mentioned above and so you can stop topping the golf ball in no time.
Starting off with the most basic, practice your stance with lines as guides. As we said, a perfect stance is useless if you’re not aligned with your ball.
Use lines that to determine where your ball and legs will go.
Usually, golf gyms will have these specifically for training purposes.
- Practice hitting the designated lines on the ground with the proper spine angle and position.
- Control your lower and upper body with knees flexed, and maintain correct posture all throughout.
- Swing repeatedly until you notice your body rotating correctly with every swing, then you can move to hit an actual golf ball.
- Master this drill until you commit less to no swing fault!
You can watch this helpful video by Eric Cogorno for more clarity and visual help!
We already know that as a chain reaction, not keeping your head steady translates to your bad swing arc, and therefore leading to the dreaded swing fault of topping the ball.
Ask a friend to hold your head steady as you do a full swing.
This can be either using a club or just simply holding your head still. If you’re alone, you can find a wall or just do your best to consciously keep a steady head positioning.
- As you do this, maintain correct posture and spine angle as much as you can. Fair warning, this isn’t as easy as it seems!
- Do this until you get a feel of your body’s better rotation and do a whole swing in this position.
Here are some videos to help you (specifically for those who will do the drill alone):
- GOLF DRILLS HOW TO KEEP YOUR HEAD STILL IN THE GOLF SWING by Scratch Golf Academy
- HOW TO KEEP YOUR HEAD STILL IN THE GOLF SWING by ChrisRyanGolf
- HOW TO KEEP YOUR HEAD STILL IN THE GOLF SWING by TruGolf Academy
As you can tell, many golf trainers use hula hoops as examples or guide in showing you the right swing for hitting the ball.
This is because the hula hoop already has a good arc, which is what you need to do a perfect swing shot.
What’s good about this is that a hoop is accessible and cheap. It’s a simple drill that you can do conveniently.
Wear the hula hoop on your arms for a proper pivot.
- This is pretty self-explanatory. Wear the hula hoop as you swing your arms, and it’ll guide you to do the perfect arc. That feeling of restriction helps you achieve the swing angle you want.
- Do this repeatedly without a ball first, then start hitting an actual ball once you familiarize yourself with the proper stance – until you no longer need the hoop.
Use it as a guide for ball direction.
- Similar to the first drill of hitting the lines, the hoop can likewise give you a visual aid in determining the angles of your swings.
- Place a pencil or any indicator in the center of your hoop, then align it with the ball in address. That’ll give you a good idea of where your ball will go if you hit a specific position.
- Practice the right stance with the hoop and get a feel of how your body moves. Make sure to come back to the center!
For people struggling with alignment, consider your proximity from the ball. You may be either too near or far from your ball, making your hits awkward and wrong.
It’s not easy to determine if you’re doing it correctly, especially if you’re the one standing there, as you can’t see yourself.
So especially as a beginner, it helps to use some training aids for your drills.
Place a club or any acting “barricade” between you and your ball. This is rather simple. We don’t have to explain this in detail, right?
But basically, aim not to overstep the barricade you’ve made for yourself.
Practice some stances and behind the club, and ask someone to check if you’re doing it right. If you’re alone, take a video and assess yourself!
You can even merge these tips, such as using a barricade plus doing the hula hoop drills. They’re easy enough!
Tee Drill 1: If you struggle with hitting the center of the clubface, which ends up topping the ball, you can do one kind of tee drill.
Position 2 tees vertically across each other, leaving a wide space in the middle.
- Swing your club and make sure not to hit the tees.
- This drill will help you see if you’re hitting the center (where the ball will be) with the center of your club face, which is very important for the right arc.
- Do this repeatedly until you get the hang of it, then place a ball in the middle and continue practicing with your swings!
Tee Drill 2: If your problem is with weight transfer, you can also use tees to get a grasp and later on apply this in your actual golf swing.
Try brushing your tee drill away.
We actually got this from Nick Faldo. You can watch his video in Golfing World here.
- It’s as simple as placing a tee drill on the floor in front of you, then with your posture, brush it away.
- If you’re unable to brush it away, it means you’re putting a lot of your weight on your left or back foot.
- What we want is an almost equal weight distribution for a beautiful swing arc.
You may hear it called a “cold top” or a “thin shot” in some instances, but these jargons all mean the same.
To avoid the dreaded topped shot, you need to zoom in and understand what it really is and why it happens.
It’s more than just an unlucky shot or an effect of a bad swing thought. Most of the time, it’s not just a cause of a bad day and hoping that tomorrow will be better.
There’s a proper golf posture, correct spine angle, and right stance that you need to pay attention to.
A bad day is possible, of course. But if you’re doing something wrong, it’s worth assessing that and change it!
Ball positions matter a lot too, even if it seems to be such a minor factor.
It’s when your golf club head hits either the upper part or top of the golf ball only – hence the term “topping the ball.”
Since it’s not a solid contact, the swing of the ball just jumps vertically towards you or rolls over.
Which isn’t exactly what you want. You want to make the ball soar with your swing!
There are multiple mistakes that are seemingly minor and unnoticeable, but physics just says no.
Some of these are:
- Incorrect or Bad Posture
- Poor Weight Shift and/or Reverse Pivot
- Wrong Ball Position
You probably already know this. Most bad shots are caused by the wrong posture that leads to all the wrong angles and some ugly swing.
- Legs: Stand with your legs spread apart and with your knees flexed – not totally bent.
- Arms: Don’t bend your arms towards you. Squeeze your elbows out, maintain your shoulders level and arm structure as you swing.
- Bent arms will make your club higher, hitting only the top part of the ball.
- Connected to this, you may also want to consider if the sizing of your club itself is shorter. For the same reason, this also contributes to topping the ball.
- Head: Keep your head steady throughout the entire swing. The shift of your head affects your balance. We know this isn’t easy, but there are some drills to help you master this. (See the drills section below).
How you manage your weight reflects on your golf swing arc. Proper weight transfer is also very crucial for a good golf swing.
One common mistake is the reverse pivot – putting all of the weight on your front leg and not shifting back immediately. You commonly see that awkwardly bent back leg during reverse pivots.
If you play golf for a while, you can imagine how wrong it feels to be edging forward. And yes, it will result in bad golf shots.
The Right Way:
- Have your weight distributed evenly among your left and right leg as much as possible, and ensure that you can shift the right amount of weight on either leg during the swing.
- REMEMBER: Put weight on your lead foot during the downswing. Your lower body leads during this part.
So, say you have the right position and stance, but you’re still topping the golf ball, and your swing is still off.
That’s because your distance and position from the ball matter a lot as well in terms of forming the right swing arc.
- Keep the address position of your golf ball at the center or, for the lack of a better term, in-between your feet.
- This way, you’re sure that your club face will directly hit the bottom point of your ball (even a divot if you can) and result in a beautiful golf shot as your ball flight takes the perfectly right arc.
- Why center?
- It’s actually simple. It’ll either be too near or too far from you, and either way means a higher potential of topping the golf ball.
Hang in there! We still have a few questions to answer. We’ve compiled them in this FAQs section for easier reference.
Honestly, what a good question.
If you don’t know, clubs come in different kinds.
Basically, the most usual one you see is the long iron with a longer head. The club head of the fairway woods is rounder and shorter.
But the differences are a whole different topic. You can watch this video for a more comprehensive explanation if you need a clearer distinction.
But you can probably conclude that because the heads are different in size and shape, the swing required for each is probably different.
And in a sense, you’re right.
Here are some differences you should watch out for:
- Since fairway woods have shorter shafts, their angles are also shallower. You shouldn’t hit it too hard and don’t kill your golf ball.
- Tempo is important, but it’s very, very important when using fairway woods.
- Here’s where a low and slow takeaway becomes beneficial.
- For long irons, a ball address position on the center is key. But for fairway woods, try to place it a little behind your front foot.
But overall, the golf postures are generally the same. There are just some techniques to tweak for the best golf swing.
Watch this video of Andrew Rice. It’s pretty helpful.
Of course not.
But we know what you’re thinking. The other extreme end of topping the ball is hitting all ground before you even hit your golf ball, or what we call the fat shot, which is equally embarrassing.
Neither of these swing faults is okay. But oftentimes, too much avoidance of the fat shot is one of the main causes for topping the ball.
Likewise, fat shots are caused by poor posture and wrong angles. But don’t worry, the drills we’ve mentioned should help!
You’d be happy to know that other than you, it’s also possible that external factors contribute to your missed ball shot.
So, you might perfect your stance and have the right position, but you still have bad shots.
Applying the same concept of bending your arms, if your club is SHORTER, you will miss the ball even if you have the correct posture.
There are all sorts of club sizes and lengths that work best for you.
Before you beat yourself up for missing multiple ball shots, check first if your ground is the problem.
As we said, it’s best to have the ball centered for a good arc. If the ground you’re standing on tips your ball to certain sides, you’ll know to adjust or move to another location if you can.
If it’s inevitable, you can shift your stance in a way that complements the position of your ball. As you probably know by now, golf doesn’t have strict “do this only” rules on how to hit the ball.
Just as long as you understand where and how to swing, you’ll be fine!
That depends on you and how quick you are to learn the proper stances and swing arcs.
Not to be too emotional or act as an inspirational guru, but if you’re new to golf, don’t be intimidated if you can’t pull off a lot of the techniques you see and hear from long-time players from the get-go.
How to stop topping the golf ball is only one of the many swing faults you’ll encounter, and that’s really okay.
All these great golfers took a lot of time to practice the right swing and the best way to hit the golf ball. You’ll get there!
It depends on your preference, honestly. And there are no strict rules on what to use and when.
Each kind of club has a specific kind of swing speed and swing stance that works better, and how these complement your skill sets or forte in playing golf.
If you’re playing outdoors, your golf ball might end up in certain nooks and crannies that will be better reached with certain kinds of clubs.
But if you happen to find yourself with a golf bag with different-looking clubs, we hope this quick rundown of the different kinds of clubs and when to use them best will be of help:
On the green grass. Next to the iron, it’s one of the most usual and basic clubs you see.
If you want to hit your ball farther. Keep in mind that are iron clubs have sizes (9,8,7,6…) that have different lengths. Naturally, the longest one (9) will help with greater distances.
Most likely, this is easy to determine as the longest one with the biggest head in your bag.
These are the ones with rounder heads, steering away from the usual look of clubs that you’re probably used to.
They help you hit far, but they’re shorter, so a golf swing is much easier to navigate than the driver. The fairway woods kind that we talked about earlier falls in this category,
This is especially useful when your golf ball gets stuck on some kind of obstacle, and you need a really high push to get it out of there.
Topping the ball can be frustrating, especially if you keep committing the same mistakes repeatedly.
But as to suddenly topping the ball, it’s just a matter of condition. Like many sports, playing golf requires skill sets and the right condition for you to ace your ball shots.
Perhaps you haven’t practiced for a long time, or you changed stances, or you’re using a new kind of club.
Whatever it is, there’s a remedy – which is to train and practice. You don’t have to worry! Once you grasp the right technique, you’ll be hitting that ball like a pro without sweat!
You’re probably thinking – wow, that’s a long read. If you’re just scrolling for a tl;dr, here it is.
1.) A topped shot can be caused by:
- Wrong stance
- Wrong weight transfer
- Wrong ball position
2.) There are a lot of easy drills you can do either by yourself or with someone else:
- Hitting the lines
- Still head drills
- Hula hoop drills
- Alignment drills
- Tee peg drills
Yep, that’s pretty much the gist of it!
But if you’re looking for more detailed tips and suggested videos, we do think you should go back and read the entire thing.
Trust us, it’s an easy read, and it’s worth it for your own improvement.
There really goes a lot of effort before you officially learn to stop topping the ball – and we mean really learning the proper techniques to do it, not just by chance.
As they say, practice makes perfect.
The right arc and the perfect swing are possible as long as you rehearse the drills, familiarize yourself with your golf ball, and commit to correcting your posture and stances.
And, of course, really understanding the concepts behind it is important to stop topping the ball.
Trust us, don’t depend on luck and actually grasp the basic science.
Golf isn’t as easy as it seems, but we’re confident that you’ll certainly enjoy it after fixing some minor faults!