Stop Topping the Ball

Stop Topping the Ball



You envision a high towering bomb that splits the fairway. But what you get is a weak dribbler after your club contacts only the top half of the ball.


There’s more than one reason for a topped shot. The big three are:

  • You swing on a steep, inside-out plane and the sole of the club bounces off the ground well behind the ball (a dropkick).
  • You lift up at impact, and the sole of your driver contacts the top of the ball in a “nearwhiff” attempt. The ball barely topples forward off the tee.
  • You swing on a steep, outside-in plane, resulting in a “thin skim” of the top of the ball that sends it scurrying along the ground.

DROPKICK Your swing is steep and too inside-out

An inside-out swing plane in and of itself can be a good thing. It promotes a draw, which will help you add distance. It’s when you overdo it that you create the dropkick. On your downswing, strive to contact the inside lower quadrant of the ball, but rotate your hands so that the club exits the hitting area on a line that parallels your target line. Try to “throw” the clubhead at your target.

NEAR WHIFF: You raise up at impact

To ensure that you stay down and through the ball, keep your knees flexed — but relaxed — throughout your swing, and keep your right heel on the ground for as long as possible. Resist the urge to “slap” at the ball, and instead focus on swinging through the ball, with your right shoulder turning under your chin. You don’t need to help the ball into the air — the club will do that for you.

THIN SKIM: Your swing is steep and too outside-in

To keep your right shoulder from pulling your clubhead across the top of the ball, take your address with your right shoulder lower than your left. Also, bend your right elbow so that it sits closer to your torso than your left. These fixes will help you make the correct turn (as opposed to a dip) and will keep your shoulder movement in check. Your club will remain on plane and create solid, centered contact.