My Golf Instructor
Sign up for the Ask Maria Featured Question of the Day
By clicking Sign Up, you agree to our Terms of Use and our Privacy Policy.

Question on Pre-Swing Fundamentals:

More often than not, other than from the tee, I'm topping ball. Any suggestions?
--Stan W. from Leawood, KS

Hi Stan. Thanks for writing MyGolfInstructor.com. I'm looking forward to helping you with your game.

There are a number of things that can cause you to top the ball including some posture and ball position issues. The 3 most common culprits in the swing are:

1) Changing your posture
2) Short arming it
3) Falling back or hanging back

The easiest thing to check/fix is your weight shift. Check to make sure first that when you finish 100% of your weight is on your front foot. If it is at the finish then at least we know you are getting through the shot at some point. The next question is...are you transferring before or after you strike the ball? We need to make sure you are on your front foot at impact. To test this try hitting balls standing on your front foot only. Take your right foot and put it behind you resting only on the toe so you can't put any weight on it. Focus on staying on your front foot from address through the finish. This will feel a little odd to anyone, but if it is particularly difficult for you chances are you've been hanging back.

Next, check to make sure that your arms are fully extended throughout the entire swing. Think of a nice wide arc with long arms. Don't let them pull back into your body through impact, but rather feel like you are throwing them at the target and lengthening them through impact. If after impact at waist high your arms are fully outstretched, then you are doing a pretty good job with them.

Last, once you establish your posture you need to make sure that you are staying in it throughout the swing. Whatever the distance from the center of your chest to the ball at address, this distance should remain the same even after the ball has left the club face.

I would star by checking these 3 things in your swing and see if one of them stands out as the cause. The other thing I'd like you to do is check your ball position and posture at address to make sure there aren't any problems there. These 2 articles will cover everything you need to know for that:

Ball Position: Ball Placement:
www.mygolfinstructor.com/instruction/pre-swing-fundamentals/ball-position-ball-placement/

Posture: Establishing Good Posture is One Thing, Maintaining it is Another:
www.mygolfinstructor.com/instruction/pre-swing-fundamentals/posture-establishing-good-posture-is-one-thing-maintaining-it-is-another/

By:

Other Related Tips on Pre-Swing Fundamentals
Who is Maria Palozola?
- Top 50 LPGA Instructors in the World
- A Golf Digest Top 10 Teacher in Illinois
- A Golf Magazine Top Teacher in the Midwest
Who is Maria Palozola?
- Top 50 LPGA Instructors in the World
- A Golf Digest Top 10 Teacher in Illinois
- A Golf Magazine Top Teacher in the Midwest
- More about Maria
- Golf Questions
Golf instruction made simple
Golf Overview
Overall Game
- Getting Started
- Equipment
- Golf Fitness
- Junior Golf
- Mental Game
- Practice
- Rules of Golf
Short Game
- Bunkers
- Chipping
- Pitching
- Putting
Full Swing
- Pre-Swing Fundamentals
- Shot Making
- Diagnosing Problems
- Driving
- Hybrids and Woods
- Irons
Playing Golf
Ball Striking
- Fitness (78)
Basics
- Course Management (82)
- Getting Started in Golf (75)
- Practice (66)
Course Management
- Club Selection (66)
- Equipment (107)
Driving
- Driving (68)
Putting
- Putting (127)
Rules
- Golf Rules (69)
Short Game
- Bump and Run (72)
- Chipping (82)
Problems
Ball Striking
- Chunking (79)
- Distance Control (86)
- Fat Shots (92)
- Flipping (48)
- Poor Accuracy (118)
- Slicing (48)
- Thin Shots (85)
- Topped Shots (52)
Distance
- Lack of Distance (108)
Putting
- Putting Accuracy (72)
Swing Plane
- Blocking (50)
- Inside Out (56)
- Outside In (59)
- Over the Top (49)
- Pulling (54)
- Pushing (66)
- Releasing Early (47)
The Swing
Grip
- Grip (65)
Setup
- Alignment (55)
- Balance (50)
- Ball Position (80)
- Posture (77)
- Setup (117)
Swing Plane
- Backswing (84)
- Controlling Trajectory (47)
- Divot (48)
- Downswing (67)
- Impact (103)
- On Plane (85)
- Path (84)
- Power (71)
- Shaft Plane (63)
- Swing Plane (112)
- Weight Shift (79)