Topping the golf ball is a very common and frustrating miss for golfers.
When you top a ball, it will not go very far, and it will end up costing you some strokes in your game.
Learning how to stop topping the golf ball will be a huge step towards your future in the game of golf.
Here are our twenty best tips for learning how to stop topping the golf ball.
How to Stop Topping the Golf Ball (20 Tips)
1. Use a golf ball with a logo.
Our first tip is an effortless but effective way to stop topping the ball.
Sometimes golfers will top just because they have lost focus on the golf ball.
If you play with a ball that has a logo or a mark on it, you can learn to focus on that particular spot.
If you can train yourself to focus the entire time you swing and all the way through impact, you will make some large strides towards fixing the ball-topping problem.
Some companies realize how much a picture or a logo on a golf ball can help, and they are creating standard golf balls with this technology.
The TaylorMade Pix golf balls are a great example and perfect choice to consider.
Simply focus on the spot you can see on the ball and keep your eyes glued there throughout your swing.
2. Check ball position: Move back in stance.
A prevalent reason for topping the ball is the ball being too far forward in a golfer’s stance.
When the ball is too far forward, the club will catch the ball on the upswing instead of the downswing.
This is a problem because the golf ball will not compress properly or get the proper spin on it.
This is one of the easiest ways to fix the topping problem as all you need to do is move the ball back in your stance.
Ball position can be a bit tricky in golf.
You should practice your positions and make sure you know where they are for each individual club, as trying to play the ball in the same spot for all clubs is not smart.
3. What and where is impact?
Some golfers don’t understand what happens in a golf swing.
If you are new to the game, you should consider this and try and study the swing a bit.
Knowing that the ball is hit at the bottom of the arc of the swing is a key factor in making sure your body and brain can perform this way.
Try and watch some videos of professional golfers and see what they are doing at impact.
Practice these things in slow motion and learn the way the golf swing works.
4. Maintain tempo.
Golfers have a very strong tendency to get too fast in their swing.
This is usually caused by a natural desire to hit the ball further.
The reason you top the ball could be that you are just too quick that day.
This is especially true when golfers are playing in a tournament or an event, and they are nervous about their ability to play well.
One of the best ways to fix this problem is to slow things down and take a few controlled practice swings.
If you are on the driving range, sometimes practicing your chipping can help to settle down your tempo.
On the golf course, try and get an excellent swing, though, and calmly use it to get your swing back to its proper tempo.
5. Maintain eye contact.
You know that old saying, “Don’t take your eye off the ball.”
This is precisely what we mean with this tip, but we like to say, “Maintain eye contact.”
Maintain eye contact refers to the time period from when you set up to hit to when you finish your golf swing.
This allows players to rotate through their shot even after impact.
The most important part of this is to make sure you are always looking at the golf ball.
6. Create and maintain perfect posture.
Posture and setup are two of the things golfers hate to work on.
These seem like boring fundamentals, and most people like to skip over these and get to the concept of hitting 250-yard drives.
Unfortunately, until your posture and setup are perfect, you will not get very far in golf.
When your posture changes during your swing, chances are your center of gravity will change, and the clubhead could come down at several different angles.
If your posture becomes a bit more upright than it is normally, you might not be able to return the club to that same position right behind the golf ball.
7. Extend arms at impact.
People like to say that golfers should keep their left arm straight.
This can be a misleading fact, and some people will get confused by how exactly to do this.
Luckily, there is another way to think about this which will significantly help you get a better impact position.
You should think of both of your arms being extended at impact.
When both arms are extended, they should return to the position they started from at setup.
This is a critical factor because we know that it will be the same position directly behind the ball.
If the arms and elbows start to bend, the club will lift up, and it will hit the top of the golf ball.
8. Keep knees flexed.
When you set up to hit your golf shot, you should focus on maintaining that amount of knee flex until you finish your golf swing.
If your knees straighten up during your backswing, when you get back to impact, the club will again be over the top of the golf ball.
Keeping the knees flexed helps to maintain your posture throughout your shot and decrease the likelihood of your spine angle changing as you get through impact.
9. Don’t bring your legs to impact too long before the arms.
This is more of a timing issue than anything else.
When your legs are sliding through impact, sometimes they can get ahead of your arms.
When this happens, the club will potentially lag, and you may end up with the clubhead topping the golf ball.
Although it is excellent to start your downswing with your legs, the arms can’t be too far behind.
When they lag, they may not have the body working to pull them down and through, and they could end up coming in over the top of the golf ball.
Although you may have head to start your downswing with your legs, please don’t take it too far and have them out race your arms to the ball.
10. Video your golf swing.
This seems like such a simple fix, and it is!
Many golfers have no idea what their golf swing looks like.
When they see their golf swing, they notice there are flaws they were not previously aware of.
This can help to give you some ideas for working on your game, but it enables you to see why you may be topping the golf ball.
Sometimes merely seeing this can be enough to fix it.
Visual learners will need feedback like this to be able to make the proper changes in their golf game.
11. Work on top down (backswing to impact).
Golfers like to work on their takeaway, and many work on their finish as well.
One area of the game that sometimes lacks attention is that move from the top of the backswing down.
When the club reaches the parallel position at the top, what should initiate the downswing?
If your timing is off and things are not initiated as they should be, then you will probably end up topping the ball.
There are a few things golfers should know about this part of their game.
At the very top of the swing, your lower body should start the initial move into the golf ball.
The arms follow slightly behind, but the turning of your body is what will allow everything to pull through and finish properly.
12. Keep your head in place.
If you watch professional golfers, you will see that their heads stay relatively still throughout their entire swing.
Amateur golfers tend to move their heads as they turn back and then pick their heads up as they move into the impact position.
Keeping your head in place means it should not move up and down, and it should not move all that much from side to side, either.
When your head dips down or lifts up, this is when you will see the greatest chance of a top.
Lifting your head up will throw off your spine angle, and then it will cause you to hit the top of the golf ball.
There are a few drills you can use to keep your head in place while you swing.
One of them is to practice using a mirror.
When you use the mirror, you can mark a line on the mirror where your head starts and then take practice swings that return you to impact.
When you return to impact, see where your head is in relation to where it started.
The same can be accomplished using video technology as well.
Many golfers have the idea that the head stays in place throughout the entire swing, but this is not the case.
As you go through impact, you should use that right shoulder to help you lift your head and watch your golf ball.
At this point, the impact has been completed, and you will be able to watch where your shot went.
Golfers get into trouble when they pick their heads up before they hit the golf ball.
This usually happens for a reason, and most of the time, it happens well before the impact position.
13. Perfect a new and improved takeaway.
It may be hard to imagine your takeaway could be what is causing you to top the ball, but it absolutely can be.
Taking the club away in the proper way will allow you to start your swing off correctly.
Once your swing is started like this, you are on track to reach all of the other milestones necessary to hit solid golf shots.
The best takeaway for a golfer who is struggling with topping the ball is the low and slow takeaway.
If you take the club back slowly and along the ground, you have the best chance to hit the ball properly.
When golfers are quick to take back the club, their hands will be working independently of the body.
When this happens with the hands and arms, and nothing is pulling them down and through at impact, they have a tendency to hit the top half of the golf ball.
This is a common mistake, and the truth is that a great takeaway is a perfect way to fix it.
Golfers should think about taking the club back low and slow.
This low and slow concept allows the body to turn and work together with the arms on both the backswing and the downswing.
We love the simplicity of this concept and how it can work for almost all golfers.
14. Horizontal vs. vertical shoulder movement.
When you look at your shoulders during a golf swing, they must turn.
They will turn on an angle based on your original posture and spine angle.
If you watch closely, you will notice that the shoulders are not going to move vertically.
One shoulder will not drop down or lift independently; they will just turn and rotate on their axis.
Most of the motion in the golf swing is going to be more horizontal than vertical.
If you think your shoulders are dropping down or lifting up, it could be that they are causing you to top the golf ball.
15. Don’t just keep the head down.
Everybody loves to tell golfers to keep their heads down.
There is no reason to just keep the head down; golfers should maintain their angles and keep everything down through impact.
When the body starts rotating past impact, then you can turn and rotate towards your target.
Thinking about keeping only the head down is not going to help if you are topping the ball.
Start thinking about keeping your body still and focusing on that spot on the ball that we mentioned in a few of our other tips.
These are much more actionable moves which will help you accomplish your goal of hitting the ball solid instead of topping it.
16. Check distance from the ball.
Here is another simple way to stop topping the golf ball.
Many golfers stand too far from the golf ball, and they reach for it when they swing.
Reaching for the golf ball does a few things which will negatively impact your swing.
It will change your spine angle and give you some trouble with balance as well.
If you feel like your topping the ball came on all of a sudden, it could be that your setup is just off that day, and you are standing further from the golf ball.
Make sure your arms hang down naturally, and they are not stretching to reach the ball.
17. Check the length of your clubs: Are they too short?
If this happens to be your reason for topping the ball, you are in luck.
Sometimes in golf, the problem does come down to equipment.
If you are not using the right equipment, you are going to struggle with distance, forgiveness, and especially consistency.
Take a look at the length of your clubs and make sure they are the proper fit for you.
If you are taller than six feet, you may need to look into a set of extended irons.
If you are less than six feet and playing with standard clubs, chances are this is not your reason for topping the golf ball.
18. Look for vision/glare problems.
Here is another issue that is not necessary related to the golf swing.
Sometimes topping the ball can happen because of a vision problem.
If you have a hard time seeing the golf ball or focusing on what you need to do, you may notice that you top the ball.
It’s essential to check for vision issues and then eliminate any glare that could be causing sight issues.
Golf clubs are now made with anti-glare features, and you can even get colored matte finish golf balls as well.
Some golfers find that sunglasses can also help them see better on the golf course.
If you have a vision issue and it causes you not to be able to maintain eye contact with the golf ball, it will undoubtedly cause you to top the ball from time to time.
19. Understand what it takes to get a ball in the air.
Some golfers top the ball because they are trying to get it in the air.
A golf ball does not get in the air by you lifting it into the air.
If you want a golf ball to fly into the air, then you must hit down and through the shot and compress the golf ball.
Compressing the golf ball is what propels the ball into the air.
If you don’t understand this concept and you haven’t seen it in action, then you will very likely struggle with topping the ball.
Lifting the ball into the air with a club is not a consistent or dependable method to play golf.
20. Balance is key
Last but certainly not least on our list is balance.
Sometimes golfers will top the ball just because they are not in balance.
Most balance issues are caused by a poor setup, but sometimes they are a result of poor physical condition as well.
If you spend some time working on your body and your overall physical strength, you will see a large increase in your ability to balance.
One of our favorite ways to practice balance is to make golf swings while holding a medicine ball in your hands.
This allows you to build up some muscles you can then use when you have the lightweight club in your hand.
Balance is also something which may need to come in time.
Beginning golfers struggle with balance because they are trying to put all parts of their swing together and get things to work.
Be patient with yourself, and if you need to shorten or slow your swing until you become more balanced, that is entirely understandable.
Topping the golf ball is a miss which can be corrected easily.
By following one of our twenty tips, you are sure to find the reason you top and a quick way to fix it as well.