How to Stop Topping the Golf Ball

Last updated: February 18, 2021

The topped shot or topping the golf ball is one of the most embarrassing moments in any golfer’s life. Most of the time, the ball will take a horrible bounce from the ground or travel very close to the ground and go nowhere near where it was intended to.

Other times the ball travels some distance, but the trajectory is much flatter than desired. 

You might find the ball ending up slightly behind from where it was played due to the top spin on the rarest of occasions.

Topping the ball sometimes creates an uncomfortable vibration throughout the club, particularly in the shaft, causing the player to feel a sharp sting, almost like an electric shock. 

Nevertheless, topping the ball is a moment that every golfer would want to forget and eliminate from his game as soon as possible.

If you are one of those players who have a tendency to top the golf ball more often than not, this article might be of tremendous help for you. 

Here, we’ll discuss what exactly is topping the golf ball, what causes it, and the easiest and most effective ways to fix it.

Furthermore, we’ll explore different reasons why some players tend to top the ball more than others, among several other interesting talking points. So, without further ado, let’s get started. 

What Causes the Golf Ball to Top

Before fixing any problem, one must figure out why the problem occurs in the first place, and that’s what we’ll do in this section. The primary reason you top the golf ball is the lack of proper contact between the clubface and the golf ball. 

In an ideal scenario, the middle of the clubface should strike the center of the golf ball for a perfect shot. The more the strike position is farther from the middle points of the two, the poorer the shot quality. 

In a topped shot, the bottom of the clubface strikes the top of the golf ball, or in some cases, the clubface strikes the ball on its way up rather than down.

In either case, the bulk of the energy from the impact is focused in the downward direction, causing the ball to have a horrible and awkward topspin and a flat or sometimes even bouncy trajectory. 

Here are a few possible reasons you might be topping the ball more often than others. 

1. Poor posture and stance

The stance and posture go a long way when it comes to hitting the golf ball. You might be bending your back too much or too little depending on your height that could cause the ball to top.

Some people squat too much or flex their knees more than necessary, which puts them in an awkward position to hit the ball cleanly.

2. Playing with a short club

As we mentioned before, the club’s center should hit the ball’s center for a perfect shot. If you use a short club, the chances of the clubface not hitting the middle and hitting the top of the ball increase manifold.

In other words, a shorter club increases the distance of the clubface and the ground, thus increasing the likelihood of a topped shot. 

3. Placing the ball too far ahead or too far behind

If you imagine your swing (including the follow-through) as a pendulum, then the ball should be placed in the middle of its oscillation trajectory.

However, many players place their golf balls too far ahead or behind this middle spot, which causes the ball to top horribly. 

How to Stop Topping The Golf Ball

As embarrassing as it may be, fixing the topped ball in golf is not hard to accomplish. However, you must be aware of the saying “Rome wasn’t built in a day” which perfectly describes the situation.

You’ll have to practice regularly if you want to stop topping the golf ball. Below we have mentioned some of the best ways to fix the topped golf shot. 

Tip 1. Maintain your posture

We have already mentioned earlier that a good posture and stance are critical for avoiding the topped shot. Poor posture is the biggest culprit when you’re topping the shot quite a lot. Here’s a simple method that you should practice that will help you maintain an adequate posture while you take a shot.

  • Without holding a club, imagine you’re about to take a shot and get in position. 
  • Now cross your arms in front of your chest and bend your back like you would if you were taking a shot. 
  • Then rotate your torso from right to left (for a right-hander) as if you’re taking a golf shot. Now do this while imagining you’re actually taking a shot. 
  • The key is to keep your spine angle uniform throughout the rotation. Essentially, your goal is to ensure that your back doesn’t bend down or up while you’re rotating. 
  • Most importantly, notice if you’re back is getting straighter or more upright just as the moment arrives when you would strike the ball. 
  • It would help if you recorded yourself or looked in the mirror so you can check if your back is bending or not. 
  • Repeat this procedure until your spine angle remains steady. When you feel you’re getting better, practice while holding a club and playing an imaginary shot.
  • You can also practice hitting a ball while incorporating this technique, and you’ll notice a stark difference. 

There’s another way to ensure that your spine angle remains consistent throughout the swing, but you’ll need a friend and a different club for this.

  • Get in position to take the shot.
  • Before striking the ball, ask your friend to rest the club’s grip end gently on your head.
  • Now take the shot.
  • The goal is to ensure that your head touches the grip end for the entire duration of the shot, especially when you strike the ball.
  • If your head moves during the shot, it means your posture is causing you to top the ball.

Tip 2. Understand the strike location

The strike location of the clubface and the golf ball is incredibly important to avoid topping the ball. Ideally, the middle parts of both the clubface and the golf ball should have a clean contact for a perfect shot. Here’s another brilliant way you ensure a more central strike location.

  • Before taking a shot, place a small object like a tee just on the right (for a right-handed golfer) of the ball.
  • The goal is to take the shot without hitting the placed object.
  • If you’re hitting the object, it means your strike location is not central. 
  • You can increase the distance between the object and the ball if you find it difficult at first.
  • As you get better, bring the object and the ball closer to one another to make it more challenging.
  • Keep practicing until the distance between the two is almost negligible, and you’re able to avoid the object.

Tip 3. Keeping the ball in the right position

Earlier, we asked you to imagine the path of your golf swing to be a pendulum, or similar to a semicircle. This technique helps ensure that the ball is in the correct position and ultimately stops topping the golf ball. 

  • Prepare yourself to take a shot while imagining your golf swing’s path to be a semicircle.
  • The ball should in the middle of this circle’s circumference. 
  • The best way to ensure this is by placing the ball in the middle of your feet or slightly forward.
  • If the ball is behind the imaginary line between your feet, then it’s in the wrong position.
  • Change your position to bring the ball in the middle of that imaginary line.
  • Use the previous tips here as well and take the shot. You’ll notice a dramatic improvement. 

Final Thoughts

Topping the golf ball is arguably the most frustrating and embarrassing moments for a golfer. However, you can eliminate this aspect from your game if you follow our easy tips and techniques to stop topping the golf ball.

But doing them only once or twice won’t make a considerable difference, you’ll have to practice regularly. You might get frustrated as it will take some time to show some improvement, but if you remain consistent, you’ll surely fix your topped ball. 

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