Avoid Topping the Ball

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Coming over the top of the ball or “topping” it is probably the most common mistake made on the golf course. It can be extremely frustrating to be stricken with this golfing malady and even more frustrating trying to cure it. Unfortunately topping the ball is a symptom that can’t be fixed without addressing the root problem causing it. Once this foundational problem is addressed, the downswing will be corrected. The four main causes of coming over the top are: Placing the majority of your weight on your forward leg at the top of the backswing, a flat takeaway, an open club-face at the top, and a narrow swing arc. Let’s address the first two causes.

Placing too much weight on your forward leg is a common cause of topping the ball. In doing so, many golfers lean or fall backwards as they downswing. This is a natural motion for a person to transfer weight from where it is at the top of the swing to where it isn’t at the bottom. Unfortunately this transfer will allow centrifugal force to move the club up over the top of the ball. To properly pull the club from the inside centrifugally, you need to transfer your weight to your forward leg when starting your downswing.

So how do we correct this problem? Well, the transfer from the front foot to the rear is causing the hips to move away from the ball while the upper body falls towards it. To avoid this, the hips must be kept in check as the coiled torso executes the swing. Try applying some pressure to your rear leg by pushing it slightly towards the ball during the backswing. This will allow the natural shift of weight during the swing but it will also keep those hips in check.

A backswing with the club taken back too flat is another common cause of coming over the top. The problem usually starts with poor posture such as bending with the shoulders and neck. This causes the takeaway to be flat. To create proper posture, you must keep your shoulders, neck, and chin up and bend at your hips. The resulting backswing will ensure the club will come back down to the target on plane.

Don’t get too frustrated if find yourself topping the ball out on the golf course. Take a deep breath, relax, and analyze what you are doing. A deliberate and systematic approach to correcting your swing with these techniques will ensure your return to form. If you still need assistance, give us a call and make an appointment. We’re always happy to help.

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Putting Tips for Beginners

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If you’re new to golf, you may find your short game is the most frustrating aspect of your game. A good drive can be wasted with repeated attempts to sink a putt only to overshoot the hole. Here are some tips to help you hone your putting skills.

  • Start with Short Putts – It sounds like common sense but too many beginners infuriate themselves attempting to sink highlight shots on the green. Start close and don’t move to a greater distance until you master the shorter one. Putting to a coin will help you improve your control and make sinking the ball into a large hole a breeze. Start with the coin a foot away until you can consistently put the ball on it. Then move back to two feet, three feet, and so on.
  • Don’t Move Your Head – Keep you head still while putting for consistency. If you move your head your shoulders will follow and you will pull the shot. Try to keep it still even after you’ve contacted the ball to ensure repeatability. Many beginners tend to move their head earlier and earlier in a shot until they’re moving before they even strike the ball.
  • Ball Position – When lining up for a putt, remember that you are striking the back of the ball and not the center. Keep the back of the ball centered in your stance to make sure you hit it square.
  • Bull’s-eye Method – When setting up for your putt, envision a bull’s-eye at the end of the line you want to hit. In the case of a short put this may be the back of the cup. It is important to visualize the bull’s-eye because it gives you an exact location to aim for and not a general area.

Keep these tips in mind when you’re on the green and you’re sure to take some strokes off of your game. Of course if you’d really like to see an improvement in your golf game, give us a call.

Categories Appleton Golf, Golf Tips
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