How to avoid topping the ball?
This is the beginner golfer‘s nightmare: a ball that hardly gets airborne and cannot reach 100 yards. This is called topping the ball. How can you avoid it?
First of all, to be successful, you must hit the ball under its equator against the center of the blade or clubhead. Since the blade is pointing to the sky (from 10 to 64 degrees of loft depending on the club), the launch angle of a successful golf shot is towards the sky as well.
However, many novice golfers mistakenly believe they must strive to lift the ball for it to fly. The harder they try, the higher the point of contact is on the ball, and the lower the ball flies. This is how beginner golfers get stuck in a vicious circle of bad habits. This is the very nature of this counterintuitive sport: to lift the ball, you have to hit down on it while turning, after having properly shifted your weight on the lead foot (left foot for right-handed golfers). This will let the angle of the blade (called loft) lift the ball. Otherwise, you are likely to hit the ball with the leading edge (the lower edge of the blade or clubhead) against the equator of the ball, or on the top of it. The two photos below speak for themselves.
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Clumsy strategies to try and lift the ball
The strategies used to try and lift the ball are numerous. Here are three of them:
- Some golfers try to scoop the ball with an upward movement of the wrists.
- Others bend their elbows to carry their hands to the sky at the moment of impact.
- Finally, others violently push forward their pelvis in the impact zone.
Obviously, none of these clumsy strategies works. They all lead to a more or less severe loss of balance. Moreover, all these strategies quickly become bad habits. But then, how do you avoid these bad habits and avoid topping the ball?
A few drills will train you to hit down on the ball. You will be transformed forever. In fact, the positive results will become embedded in your intuitive brain, and you will never want to lift the ball again.