The hack shot, coming over the top, rushing the downswing… all of these sayings are used to describe the same out to in downswing path that affects millions of golfers. This dreaded fault has many causes, which makes curing it difficult as drills will help some players but not others. I highly recommend video taping and analyzing your swing on a weekly basis. Most faults even beginners can spot. Here are the top 5 causes of the over-the-top move… each is coupled with an appropriate drill. Let’s get to it…
5) Standing too closely to the ball – Most commonly seen in women; standing too upright forces your swing to become upright. This makes it especially easy to come into impact slightly steeper then intended, resulting in the over-the-top swing path. Furthermore, in this position, there is a tendency to subconsciously lift up at impact… this is caused by the fear of hitting it fat or missing it completely. Lifting up will immediately make your downswing steeper and result in a swing path that is over-the-top and out to in. After checking your basic setup fundamentals, use the 45 Degree Ball Drill to help cure this fault.
4) Swinging too far inside – “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction”… Newton’s law applies in golf too. Swinging too flat or far to the inside on the backswing tends to force a loop at the top which comes down way outside on the downswing (over-the-top). The problem here is the motion begins to feel natural… and even if you do fix your backswing, the over-the-top follow-through remains.
3) Laying the club off at the top – Please excuse the golf lingo on this one. Laying the club off at the top basically means the club points well left of the target at the top (right-handers). This is usually caused by a cupped left wrist; in this position, your clubface should face downwards. The clubface in this position is very open, and when coming into impact leads to a pull slice. Ideally, the club should be pointing parallel to your target line. This would change the position of the left wrist and point it more towards your head. A quick tip to check to see if you’re in the proper position is to look at your thumbs… they should be under the shaft at the top.
2) Reverse weight transfer – A proper backswing creates torque and loads a lot of power in your core and on the right side of your body. Much like a baseball pitcher… when transitioning into impact, your body weight transfers to your lead leg as your body uncoils. When you perform a reverse weight shift, your body weight at the top of your backswing is on your front leg and transitions to the back leg into impact. In the process, subconsciously, your body straightens up, and your wrists release early in order to ensure you make contact with the ball. This move, coupled with your body weight moving to your rear foot as your body uncoils, forces your arms to travel on an out to in swing path into the ball. To fix the reverse weight-shift there is nothing better than the Two-Step Rhythm Drill. It clearly shows how to properly shift your weight throughout your swing.
1) Rushing from the top – The number one cause of swing over-the-top is a rhythm and timing problem. For many of you… you reach the top of your backswing and you are in such a rush to start the downswing that you totally screw up your spine angle. From the top, your shoulders should simply be rotating on your stationary spine. On the downswing, your lead shoulder should rotate up as your trailing one goes down. It’s that simple. What happens when you ‘rush from the top’? Your lead shoulder moves backwards as it moves up. This extra movement forces the trailing shoulder forward, forcing the arms and club horizontally away from the body. Unfortunately, as you continue into impact, the club is already travelling on the dreaded over-the-top swing path. The best drill for this fault would be the Double Shaft Drill, but unfortunately it is very difficult to perform properly. , but specifically focus on keeping your shoulders rotating perpendicular to your spine angle. I hope this helps you guys out!
Note – This was edited to correct a mistake regarding the “laying the club off at the top” portion of this post.