Do you swing “over the top? If you don’t know what it is, it is a move that is common among the majority of amateur golfers, and the result is usually a slice or a dead pull depending on your clubface position at impact.
Learning how to stop the over the top golf swing is critical to your enjoyment of golf.
This swing fault is a premature movement of the upper body before the lower body in the downswing. The upper body actually gets ahead of the lower body causing an “outside to in” golf swing. This path is the least desirable in golf.
Take a look at the picture and you get a real clear idea of what’s happening in a correct golf swing and an incorrect one. Look at the top (incorrect) one. The golfers has pulled his club wat too far inside on the take-away, and how to compensate by coming over the top in the downswing .
There are many causes of this swing fault, some of which are physical and can be easily corrrected, and some that are mechanical and with the right swing thoughts can be fixed.
1) Drop your arms. I used to swing over the top years ago, and I tried everything to correct it, including lessons with no success. Then I was watching one of my taped videos of Nick Price and saw how his arms seemed to drop in place in the downswing.
I ran to the range and tried it. My first move from the top of my swing was a dropping of my arms, the rotating. It worked! I couldn’t believe it! I just cured that dreaded swing fault with one swing thought. Give it a try!
2) Rotate down. Here’s another swing thought I’ve used if this swing fault creeps into my swing during a round. I think of rotating down toe the ball. Not out! Down. I maintain my spine angle, so I’m not literally dropping down, but I focus on rotating through that golf ball.
3) Improve rotational flexibility. One very obvious physical limitation that could be causing you to get your upper body ahead of your lower body is a restricted backswing. If you cannot make a full backswing, you will stop short and your mind will tell you, you have to turn down with your arms.
Improve your flexibility from a rotational standpoint, and you can drive your legs all day long and stay back with your upper body creating power and leverage.
4) Strong core muscles. If you have weak core muscles, you cannot maintain the adequate separation needed in your downswing. Where the upperbody stays behind for a split second, as the lower body starts to rotate. Your weak core will send a message to your brain that it cannot keep that separation, and the brain will send a message back to the body to bail out, and come over the top with your upper body. Makes sense?
5) Left shoulder down and out. Another very effective tip is if you’re right-handed, the first move down is my lead shoulder going down, then rotating. I use this one a lot. Ernie Els does this. The key is to watch how close your chin is to your left shoulder at the top of the swing, then starting down get that left shoulder away from you chin right now! That is the same as getting your left shoulder to do down and away during the initial part of your downswing.
6) Left arm close. Here’s a great tip. Notice how close your left arm (if you’re a right-handed golfer) is to your body throughout your swing? If you come over the top it goes away from your body. Try to get a feeling of your left arm staying fairly close to your body on your downswing. Don’t jam it in there, but have a sense it is in close on the downswing.
It is virtually impossible to come over the top with your left arm staying close to your body. Just try it and you’ll see what I mean. I have used and do many of these tips regularly to help me stay clear of the “over the top golf swing!” Give them a try, or if you have other tips, let us know by commenting to this post
A really cool training device that will give you instant feedback while hitting balls is the golf swing plane trainer.