Topping the Golf Ball

By Steve Silverman

Learning the basics of the golf swing is something that takes most golfers at least a couple of years. Some outstanding athletes with great hand-eye coordination can learn the basics in a few months, while many golfers struggle for years. One of the most basic problems for beginners is a mis-hit called topping the ball. When the golfer steps up to the tee or the fairway with dreams of sending the ball deep down the middle of the fairway, they hit the top of the ball and it dribbles off the tee. This is a problem that golfers can overcome by practicing concentration on each shot.


Difficulty: Moderate
Step 1
Hit the ball squarely by addressing the ball properly. When standing on the tee, make sure your left shoulder (right-handed golfer) is facing the green or the target in the fairway. Your left foot needs to be under your left shoulder and your feet should be shoulder-width apart.
Step 2
Grip the golf club correctly. Don't choke it too tightly, but it should be firm enough that it will not slip or wiggle when you make contact with the ball. Your grip strength should be about a 5 on a scale of 1 to 10.
Step 3
Do not try to overpower the ball when you swing the club. One of the primary reasons for topping the ball is that the golfer speeds up his swing in order to add more power. This results in poor contact with the ball because the golfer lifts his head prior to contact. If this happens to you, know that you are not alone and virtually all golfers have done this at one time or another. Instead of swinging hard, think about a smooth and controlled swing and concentrate on making contact.
Step 4
Focus your eyes on the back-center portion of the ball. This is where you should be looking as you address the ball and get ready to swing. Try to keep your eyes on that portion of the ball throughout your swing and don't pick your head up until well after impact. Ideally, your eyes will be locked on that spot until your club has started its follow-through at around waist level.
Step 5
Go to the driving range regularly to work on building a steady and repeatable swing. Topping the ball is a nasty problem but it can be fixed with good form and patience as you hit the ball. Accuracy and consistency are far more important than hitting the ball far, so work on the fundamentals of your swing and don't try to kill the ball at the practice range.

Tips & Warnings

Focus on the back-center portion of the ball when swinging.

About The Author

Steve Silverman is an award-winning writer, covering sports since 1980. Silverman authored The Minnesota Vikings: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and Who's Better, Who's Best in Football -- The Top 60 Players of All-Time, among others, and placed in the Pro Football Writers of America awards three times. Silverman holds a Master of Science in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism.


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