Over the Top Golf Swing
Coming over the top is a common problem for many golf players. Both beginners and seasoned players suffer from this issue. While many of them try to fix it by changing the golf swing, the problems lie even deeper.
Golf is not just the act of hitting the golf ball with the club. It requires precise body movements to achieve the perfect drive or a successful putt.
In this post, we’re going to look at the reasons behind you might be hitting over the top shots and how you can fix it.
What is An Over the Top Golf Swing?
So, before we get to the drills to fix your problem, let’s find out what we mean by over the top shots.
When your golf club comes too much from right to left during your downswing, it’s known as an over the top shot. It causes the club face to close more than necessary. You even instinctively open the club face a little to cause the ball to curve.
The ideal move for a downswing is to control your shoulders, arms, and wrists to hit the ball from the inside. When you hit the ball from inside, the natural ball flight becomes right to left and it lands on the fairway without any hiccups.
The problem arises when you cannot control the movement of the aforementioned body parts. When you let your trail elbow go higher than the lead elbow, it causes an over the top shot. Hitting the inside of the golf ball is not natural to many players we know.
There are plenty more reasons why you may be hitting the unwanted shots and we’ll get to them shortly.
The Result of Coming Over the Top
Over the top shot is deemed as an embarrassment for golfers. And there are good reasons for that. An over the top shot causes the ball to curve unnaturally which often results in a lost ball or the ball ending up in the rough.
Also known as a big slice, it happens due to the extra spin generated on the ball. You may also pull the ball unintentionally with an over the top shot.
So, if you’ve been suffering from both slices and pulls, the culprit is most likely your over the top downswings. The results may seem drastically different from one another, but the root of the problems is the same.
Reasons Behind an Over the Top Golf Swing
So, why do you think you’re hitting the ball from outside? According to experts, there may be various reasons. It varies from player to player. In this section, we’re going to isolate some of the common problems that the majority of golf players face.
The Wrist Position
When you’re initiating the backswing, every part of your upper body plays a vital role. To be more precise, your wrist positions. At the top of your backswing, you need to focus on your wrists. The angle of both your lead wrist and trail wrist is important.
If you’re not sure about what we mean by these, the wrist with the glove on is the lead wrist. And the other hand is considered the trail wrist.
At the top of your backswing, if you see that your lead wrist is bent at an angle and your trail wrist is flat, it’s causing the club face to open too much.
When you know that your club face is open, you subconsciously try to mitigate the effects by coming over the top.
However, your instinct should be to fix your wrist position rather than trying to fix the swing.
When your lead wrist remains flat and your trail wrist is slightly bent, you close the club face at the top of the backswing. So, you don’t need to come from over the top to compensate for the club face anymore.
The Elbow Position
Just like your lead wrist and trail wrist, both of your elbows have an important role in fixing the issue.
When we analyze an over the top golf swing, 9 out of 10 cases turn out to be an elbow problem. When you come over the top, your trail elbow goes higher than your lead elbow. It automatically causes your body to pivot forward and bring the club down from the outside.
To fix this issue, you need to consciously keep your trail elbow below the lead elbow. When you try to maintain a position throughout the swing, you won’t need to go over the top to compensate for the elbow movement.
Backward Hip Movement
It’s a very common yet problem that goes unnoticed by many rookie golfers. Just like the upper body, your lower body also has a very important position to fill. Namely, your hips.
For an ideal downswing, your hips should move forward toward the target. At the same time, your shoulders should move backward, away from the target. It should cause what is known in golf as a side bend.
If you often come over the top on your shots with drivers or long irons, you need to consciously monitor the movement of your hips. We’ve seen players move their hips backward instead of forward. The opposite movement regarding the shoulders is also prominent.
When it happens, your arms automatically make space for your hip movement, causing your trail elbow to move farther away from the body. As a result, you come from over the top with your shot.
To simply fix this issue, you must notice how you’re moving your hips. As you initiate the downswing, push your hips toward the target while bending your shoulders in the opposite direction. The introduction of this new movement will force you to hit the ball from inside, eliminating any chances for an over the top swing.
Trying Too Hard
Believe it or not, it’s a viable reason behind the problem. In most cases, when we’re at the tee, our target is to hit the ball as far as we can. The added stress and the pressure cause our muscles to tense up. It becomes hard for you to control your movements when your muscles are already tense.
The results are prominent throughout your swing. Your backswing will be stiff as well as your downswing will force your arms to move away from the body. In 99% of cases, you’ll create an over the top swing.
Hitting the Ball Down
It’s common knowledge among veteran golfers that if you want to send the ball flying, you need to hit it down. While it’s true to a great extent, it doesn’t mean you should come over the top to cover the ball.
This tiny misinterpretation causes a lot of players to ruin their golf swings. Instead of creating ball spin for the flight, they try to shove the ball down with the club face.
Keep in mind that you can still hit the ball down by hitting it from the inside or keeping the club straight.
Fixing an Over the Top Golf Swing
To help you fix the problem, we’ve designed a few drills that specifically targets the over the top swing issue. You have the freedom to play around with these drills and fit them into your routine.
Remember, you need to keep practicing regularly to see any changes in your swing. The longer you’ve been struggling with over the top shots, the longer it will take to overcome.
The Golf Tee Secret Drill
Created by Paul Wilson, director of the Paul Wilson Golf School, this drill has helped hundreds of players over the years. You won’t see this drill listed in many tutorials on the internet. But it’s one of the most effective drills to fix an over the top swing in our opinion.
The perform it, you’re going to need two golf tees, one alignment stick, and your favorite driver or long iron.
- Tee the ball up as you’d normally do.
- Place an alignment stick between the ball and yourself pointing toward the target.
- Take the 2nd tee and put it all the way in the ground about 6 inches behind the ball. Make sure you place it a little inside the ball.
- So, the teen in the ground will work as your visual reference point. When you address the ball, your target will be the ball on the tee.
- When you start your backswing, you need to shift your focus to the tee in the ground. Your instinct should be to hit the ball by touching the tee from the inside.
When performing this drill, many players struggle with the problem of hitting the ground instead of the ball. Paul has created an easy fix to this problem as well.
When you’re down swinging the club, you need to feel the heel of your right foot to shift the weight to the left.
As you lift your right heel slightly off the ground, your golf club will clear and you’ll hit the ball, dead straight.
Glove Under the Arm
It’s a quite common golf drill designed to target a lot of beginner issues at once. For your over the top swings, it will help you to keep the trail elbow below the lead elbow.
To perform this drill, you’ll need an old glove. If you don’t have one nearby, you can simply use a small towel.
- Roll up the towel or the glove and tuck in under your armpits.
- Start hitting your usual shots. You’ll notice that the glove falls to the ground every time. It means that you’re coming over the top.
- Now, you need to actively try to hold the towel or the glove in place.
You need to hold your elbow close to your ribcage to let the glove be in place. Keep practicing until you start hitting the ball from the inside naturally.
The Hip Drill
This drill is destined to fix your hip issue as we’ve discussed earlier. You’ll need just one alignment stick for this drill to work. Once you master it, you’ll naturally push your hips forward to create the downward movement on your shoulders.
- Stick the alignment stick into the ground so that it stands vertically.
- The height of the alignment stick should be low enough so that you can swing your arms freely yet high enough to reach your hips.
- Now, you need to set your front foot against the stick before you take your shots.
- As you’re taking the swings, try and hit the stick with your hips intentionally. You can call it bumping the hip against the alignment stick.
After practicing this drill with the alignment stick for a few weeks, you need to eliminate it from the equation and swing freely. You’ll notice that you’re not coming over the top anymore.
The impact Tape Drill
This is not an isolated drill like the previous ones on our list. Rather, it’s an overall performance drill to evaluate your swing quality and speed.
Before you head to the driving range or the golf course, you need to get your hands on an impact tape. You can either order it online or grab it from your nearest golf supply store.
- Get to the driving range or the golf course.
- Put impact tape on a few of your club faces. Make sure to include at least one driver and one long iron.
- Now, take your shots as you would normally do.
- You can try by both incorporating other drills we’ve talked about or without them. You’ll notice a clear difference in the areas you’re hitting the ball with.
- You need to fluctuate the speed of your swing to see which shots you take the best.
Upon close inspection, you’ll notice that the slow and steady shots have a better impact on the sweet spot. If you measure the distances, you’ll also notice that the shots you hit with the sweet spot have traveled the longest distances.
The result indicates that you need to take it slow and focus on the quality of the swing rather than coming down as hard as you can.
Coming too much over the top is a very common struggle for many golfers. Different players may be suffering from different form issues but the ultimate result is the same.
You can conveniently practice the drills we’ve discussed in this post to attempt to fix the problem. Also, you need to keep the facts about your shoulders, hips, elbows, and wrists in mind to maximize the efficiency of your practice.