Faults & Fixes: Topped Shots

When the club head hits the top half of the ball, the shot never gets airborne and the result is a “thin” or “topped” shot. The club head must contact the ball at the low point of the downswing in order for the ball to fly in the air.

Weight Shift

When you stay on your back foot (right side for right-handed golfers) on the downswing, the club head rises through impact, hitting the top of the ball. Practice lifting your right foot and tapping your toe at the end of the swing to ensure you transfer your weight to your left side.


If you slide your body toward the target on the downswing, you will be ahead of the ball at impact and the club head can catch the top of the ball before it reaches the bottom of the swing. Practice keeping your head slightly behind the ball at impact.

Lifting the Ball

In an effort to try to help the ball in the air, some golfers actually swing up at the ball, hitting the top portion and creating the opposite of the desired result. Put a penny in front of the ball and try to hit the ball and sweep the penny away.

Fear of the Ground

To avoid slamming the club into the ground on the downswing or “hurting” the grass, some golfers tense up and the club never makes contact with the grass. Relax your shoulders and make practice swings, clipping the grass and even taking a small divot.

Flipping the Wrists

Beginning golfers sometime flip their wrists through impact, rather than let their arms swing. When the wrists flip, the club head rises and the ball does not. Practice posing in the correct impact position, with the hands slightly ahead of the club head, the left wrist firm and the weight on your left foot.

Poor Ball Position

If you play the ball too far forward in your stance, the club head will be rising by the time it gets to the ball. Position the ball in the center of your stance for irons and off the inside of your left heel (right-handed golfers) for tee shots. Play fairway woods and hybrids just left of center.