Category: Golf Tips
On the Practice Tee
with Joe Giles
PGA Professional and
Southern Ohio PGA Teacher of the Year
A banana split without toppings would just be ice cream and bananas. Legendary sports announcer Howard Cosell without his infamous topping would have just been another bald guy. And golf without topping would be… a much more enjoyable game.
You know the shot I’m talking about. When you take a mighty swing and just barely nip the top of the ball, sending that little white sphere just inches closer to the target, which is a very safe 400 yards away. I can’t think of any other situation that can deflate the ego quicker than topping a golf ball. You swing as hard as you can, but yet, with all of your muscular strength you only move the ball as far as you could have kicked it.
The topped shot can be prevented by following a few basic steps:
- Check your grip and make sure you are not holding the club too far in the palm of your right hand, it should be more in the fingers.
- Make sure the ball position in your stance is not too far forward (Short irons in middle, woods inside your left heel, etc.).
- Maybe stand a bit closer to the ball.
- Take a shorter backswing. Many times a long backswing will cause your body to lift up, making it difficult to reach the ball at the bottom of your swing.
- At the bottom of the swing, rotate the left thumb downward toward the ground rather than pointing it to the sky.
- Be sure to shift your weight to the right side at the top of your swing, then to the left side as you swing forward. If the weight is on the left at the top, you will have to reverse it to the right at impact causing you to fall away from the ball, guaranteeing a topped shot.
- Keep your swing center in line. Moving your center back and forth will make it difficult to locate the ball.
- Don’t scoop your hands at impact (right hand pushing the left hand upward). The hands should drop down and turn outward.
- Keep the left arm extended down at impact.
- Don’t play in high heels.
So follow these simple tips and you too will be playing at the “Top of Your Game”.
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