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Topped Shots

Topped Shots are shots where the golf club catches the very top of the golf ball. As a result the ball flies extremely low or doesn't even get off of the ground. There is a considerable loss of distance when one tops a golf shot, although fortunately they often stay straight. Raising up, short arming it or falling back onto the back foot are common causes of topped shots.

Topped Shots Drills

Topped Shots Tips

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  • Your Pivot is Your Engine

    Allow your hips to keep pivoting towards the target. Think of your pivot as the engine for your swing. It's where you get your power and acceleration. The faster you pivot, the faster the clubhead will come through the ball. If your pivot stops or slows too soon, your hands will take over. This forces an early release of the clubhead. Loss of power and control result.

  • Don't Practice Swinging at Air

    Don't practice swinging at air. You will get really good at it! Practice hitting something...the ground. When you are on the driving range try taking a divot and then start your next swing at the front of that divot and take another one going forward. Pretty soon you will have made a nice straight line of divots across the range. The superintendent will love you! This way, you will get comfortable with hitting the ground on every swing and hitting it at the right spot; in front of where the ball lies.

  • Lag the Clubhead

    For all full swings keep the club head behind your hands as long as possible to make sure that you hit the ball first, then the ground. When you lag the club and let it release at the last possible moment you are storing your energy and maintaining control. Remember, as soon as the club catches up to your hands and starts to pass them you are no longer descending and no longer in control of the face.

  • Keep Your Rear End Out

    Keep your rear end out and back to help keep you down through the shot. When your rear end comes in it forces your spine to straighten up. This is called a pelvic push or early extension. The result is usually a topped shot, thin shot or a push. When your rear end stays out, it helps you to maintain the posture that you established at address. This is critical for making pure and consistent contact.

  • To Strike Down Move Your Weight Forward

    Make sure to have your weight over the ball at impact so you can hit the ball first and then the ground. If your head and sternum are leaning back too much your weight will be on your rear foot and you will strike the ball with an upward blow. This will usually result in a thin shot and no divot. To hit down on the ball and compress it, you need to be more on top of it.

  • Hit Down to Pop it Up

    Make sure to hit down on your pitch shots. Hitting down allows the ball to pop back up. Just let the club go down by allowing it to use gravity and drop to the ground. You don't have to feel like you push it or help it down. When you push the club you will often release it early causing it to bottom out too soon and then you catch the ball on an upswing instead of with a downward strike.

  • Don't Stop Your Hands

    Make sure to keep your hands accelerating towards the target. Stopping the hands too soon or decelerating in a short game shot can be detrimental resulting in chunked or skulled shots among other things. Remember to keep your pivot moving. Inconsistent strikes and an early release of the hands are often a result of a player's pivot stopping. Keep your pivot moving to keep your hands moving.

  • Shift Your Weight Through the Strike

    Make sure your head does not hang back or back up too much in the swing. It will cause you to swing on too much of an inside-out angle and push shots. To trap the ball and keep your swing on plane (on an arc) make sure that you are moving through the ball as you strike it and shifting your weight to your front foot. After impact your swing should come around on an arc rather than moving down the target line.

  • Stay Relaxed to Release

    One reason why the arms don't extend is because the player doesn't let them release or roll over. Make sure that your rear arm rolls over your front arm as you come through impact. As you pivot through the shot and create rotational speed the centrifugal force will throw your arms out and extend them through impact. As long as your arms are relaxed and you aren't trying to control or force the swing, they will return straight just like they were at address.

  • Make Sure to Hit the Ground With Practice Swings

    Practice hitting the ground without a ball. Swing down and take a divot about the size of a dollar bill. If you hit the ground, then hit your shot. If you don't make contact with the ground keep trying to take a divot on your practice swing until you get one. Don't hold up play though!

  • Keep Your Cheek Parallel to the Ground After Impact

    To learn to stay down try watching the ball fly with your right cheek still facing the ground (for a right hander). This will help you retain your posture and keep your spine tilted forward throughout the swing. Skilled ball strikers will stay in this position all the way until the very end of the swing. If you find yourself watching your ball fly by standing up straight with your shoulders level to the ground, chances are you are coming out of the shot too soon.

  • Extend Your Arms Through Impact

    To make sure your arms aren't getting shorter through impact, try extending them through the shot and making them longer as you hit the ball. After impact they should be fully stretched out. It is important to keep rotating and pivoting through the shot so that your arms have room to extend. If you stop your pivot your body will get in your way and your arms will buckle.

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