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.
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?
How to get rid of the top
It is simply a matter of performing the correct corrective exercices (drills) over a period of time to learn how to attack the ball in a downward rotational motion, preceded by a good weight transfer to the lead foot (the left foot for right handed players). This will allow the angle of the blade to send the ball into the air. This will change your golfing life forever. In fact, the positive results will become ingrained in your intuitive brain, and you’ll never want to lift the ball again.
Training on uphill and downhill slopes
If possible, train on up and down slopes. To do this, adopt a posture that allows the shoulders to be parallel to the slope (push the pelvis up the slope while pushing the head down the slope).
- The downhill slopes will teach you to strike the ball in a downhill motion without scooping with either the wrists, elbows, or body. Failure to do so will result in you scraping the ground behind the ball or going over it altogether.
- The upward slopes, on the other hand, will force you to better transfer your weight to the lead leg (the one on the target side) during the downswing, i.e., well before you make contact with the ball.