Imagine it is your first day in the garden. Highlights of Tiger Woods’ best performances have attracted you to try out golfing. As a result, you make your way to the tee and look into the distance. The hole feels like it is a mile away.
You know that if you want to get any work done, you are going to have to cover a lot of distance. In this regard, you place your golf ball onto the tee, take your favorite club and position yourself.
Hold your club and place it high above your shoulders and swing it with all your might. However, the result you see that all you accomplished was removing a patch of grass next to the tee.
Where have you gone wrong? The answer lies within your swing. By lifting the club and swinging as hard as you could, you have performed the most common error made by beginner golfers, the over the top golf swing.
What is an Over the Top Golf Swing?
Over the top golf swing is the result of using too much upper-body strength when performing a downward swing. Due to the level of strength used on the downswing, your golf club deviates from the intended swing plane. Hence, it misses the ball or makes an incredibly inaccurate shot.
For the beginners, the swing plane is the fixed angle at which you will be swinging your club to make the perfect and most accurate shot. Deviation from that results a sloppy and inaccurate shot. If you are the victim of such swings, this guide will help you overcome this hurdle to your golfing destiny.
The Causes of Over the Top Golf Swings
Your swings becoming over the top is not itself the problem. The problem is caused by a host of multiple pre-existing problems that are plaguing you. The results stem from a particular cause after all. To fix your over the top tendencies, you must first know what kind of characteristics contribute to the over the top swing in the first place.
The Backswing is Too Flat
It is a common misconception that the more flat or closer you keep the golf club with you when you make your backswings, the more accurate your swings become. That is merely a misconception as mentioned.
The truth is, you have to find the perfect sweet spot to keep your club. That sweet spot happens to be the proper swing plane. However, this misconception is deadly.It leads the players who are aware of their flaws, to bring their clubs closer inside making their swings even worse.
By keeping your club too flat, you are losing swing distance. As such, your body automatically has to compensate by rotating more than it should. That will cause your swing to become massively over the top. This is possibly the most frequent cause for over the top swing amongst beginners.
Bad Body-Arm Coordination
To make the perfect swing, all parts of your body must be properly coordinated and working efficiently. Each part relies heavily upon each other to work towards the perfect motions for the perfect swing. However, that cannot happen if your arms and body are not properly cooperating.
It is common among the beginners to get excited over their shots. So they tend to swing their arms faster than their body has time to turn. What this does is, it traps your arms behind your torso. As a result, it forces you to compensate by making your swing over the top.
It should be known to all beginners that to make a proper swing, you have to move your arms and shoulder together, not separately. It is vital that you do so. Otherwise, you are merely asking for an ill-timed and ill-performed shot.
Poor Body Weight Allocation During Swings
Weight plays an immense role in the performance of your swing. At the end of the day, every sport about hitting things requires you to allocate some proportionate degree of weight into your swings or kicks. Without placing the proper weight, your swings can become ineffective at best and inaccurate at worst.
In golf, there is a common error where people tend to allocate their weight on the forward leg during a backswing. Consequently, your weight will fall back when you make the final downswing getting away from where you want the weight to go.
This itself removes the effect of the downswing. Your body reacts in kind and tries to adjust for the lack of effectiveness by coming over the top.
If you experience this problem, it is because your lower body is not still. Your lower body does not cooperate with the upper body the way it should. Hence,sways, causing imbalances, poorer posture, and ultimately delivering over the top swings.
Your club should be held properly. If not, you will experience open clubface. The open clubface is when the head of the club and the clubface points to the right of the golf ball. Naturally, as the face is not square and the head of the club cannot properly hit the ball, it drastically decreases the effectiveness of the shot.
An open clubface is caused when you do not have a proper hold over your club. When performing your backswing, if you see that your club head is facing directly down towards the ground, your shot will end up open-faced.
Accordingly, in golfing you always want the clubface to on square during impact. A square clubface ensures the most precise strikes and the best performance. On other hand, if your grip is too loose, you lose control of where the clubhead is facing.
Make sure your club runs through your fingers and the left thumb pad sit above the grip. This lets you perform your downswing on the plane and allows you to hit square.
If you want to cover a distance, you have to make a wide arc for your shorts. Likewise, if you make a narrow arc, the likelihood for your body to adapt for the club’s lack of travel distance is to rotate more and come over the top.
You must understand how critical it is to position your right arm when making a swing. Therefore, if you fold your arm too early or stiff, it pulls the club closer to the body. Then your arms have to throw the club outwards to try and hit the ball.
Drills to Fix the Over the Top Golf Swing
Believe it or not, the best way to ensure that you never make the over the top swing is to maintain a regular practice. Practice is the key to building muscle memory. It helps to develop the mind to be prepared to act appropriately to the swings you have in the future.
Practice and preparation are important to everything. Golf is no different. Here are some exercises and drills you should practice regularly to ensure total immunity to the over the top swing mistake.
Drill 1 – Practicing Your Posture
Swinging is all about the posture. If your body is not properly aligned and balanced, you simply cannot be expected to make an accurate shot. You must have a proper stance when making your swings. Therefore, the key to maintain the posture by holding yourself in the proper swinging position for a few minutes in the garden. You can utilize some of your free time to do that.
The posture to maintain for this drill requires you to face the direction you want the ball to go. You need to bend your torso slightly towards the ball and keep your legs planted. The over the top posture is caused by under utilizing the lower body and focusing primarily on the upper body.
As a result, keeping your legs firmly planted and having them contribute to the motion of your swing is crucial to rid yourself of the over the top swing. Moreover, keep your shoulders squared, relax, and let go your tense.
Whenever you find yourself with some spare time while waiting for the bus, sitting through advertisements on TV or right before or after an exercise, stand up and maintain the proper posture continuously for a few minutes. This will acclimate your body into adapting the posture. Keep this up, and your body will think on its own and turn to the posture right before your swings.
Drill 2 – Maintaining the Swing Plane
The over the top golf swing is the excess upper body strength. It causes you to deviate from the proper angle of your swing. To combat this, you have to practice swinging without deviating from the angle.
By doing so, you will be building more dexterity and finesse in your swings. Then you can begin making beautiful and accurate shots.
To practice this, head back into the posture you have learned from the first dill. The key here is consistency. Take your golf club or a stick of equal length and begin making slow swings along the swing plane. Make sure the club does not move away from the swing plane.
As you keep making swings, gradually increase your speed but always make sure your swings are along the swing plane. It is better to practice with 10 accurate swings than with 100 inaccurate swings. In fact, the more inaccurate swings you make, the more your body will get used to performing that way by making it even harder for you in the long run.
You cannot become Tiger Woods overnight. On that account, take it slow with this step. Keep your mind steady, your posture still and relaxed, and keep your swings accurate. The more you practice, the better your finesse and hand-eye coordination will become.
Drill 3 – Building up Strength Control
Golf is not about strength. It has never been about power. Golf has always been a sport of finesse and precision. Subsequently, this sport requires you to rely less on strength but more on your abilities to control your swings.
To do so, you must control the strength of your swings. In this regard, go to an empty garden with several golf balls at first. Lay each one down and make a few swings with a set distance in mind.
Each shot you make should have a variety of set distances to help improve your muscle memory. That will depend on how much strength you have to input to make the most appropriate shot. It will conform your body to maintain the swing plane at different levels of strength.
Drill 4 – Fix Your Rotation
When performing any swing, you will notice that your body rotates to a degree along with the swing. Imperfections and flaws in the rotation contribute heavily to making your swings over the top. To counter this, you must learn and adapt.
When your shots are over the top, your body rotates more than it usually should. The key here is to study this rotation. To understand how flawed these motions are and trying out different motions to find the perfect one to make the perfect shot.
The technique to master your rotation is a simple one. What you need to do is to hold up your golf ball on your non-lead hand and swing it like you would swing your golf club. At the climax, when you would hit the golf ball, let the ball go by making an underhand throw.
You would aim to send the ball away from you to the right. If it’s done correctly, the ball should move towards the right. Learn the rotations you made to achieve that throw. That is the proper rotation and arm movement you need to make a good shot.
On the other hand, if the ball travels straight or to the left, try experimenting different arm movements and rotations to fix the problem and get a feel for the degree of rotation.
Drill 5 – Miscellaneous Exercises
To develop a separation between your upper and lower body, you can adopt a few exercises that can help you boost your performance. Moreover, that can get rid you of your tendencies to swing over the top.
For this exercise, you must kick your left leg back and keep your hands folded in front of you. Then you must lean in forward and backward. This helps you to build stability to your glutes and eliminates hip sways from your swings.
The Step Change
In this exercise, you practice changing steps by keeping your legs closed while keeping your golf club forward. When making the backswing, open your legs up to the proper golf posture and finally, make your swing. This builds a separation of your upper and lower body.
Side Arm Throw
The sidearm throw is when you throw out your non- lead arm in a similar fashion to the method described in Drill 4. This exercise helps you to build a feel how you should rotate your body and arms when making the shot.
Place a few balls next to each other. Let’s say you kept three balls together in relative proximity. They have to be just far away enough to be swing without hitting the other balls.
Your goal is to make a shot without touching any of the other balls besides your target ball. This stupendously increases accuracy and prevents your shots from becoming over the top.
Stork Turns Supported
First, hold your club like a cane and use it as light support. Then, lift one of your legs and fold it along your other leg. Once folded, turn your folded leg along with your other leg. This helps to disassociate your upper body from your lower body and helps to build independence.
However, if you are experiencing difficulties in making a proper swing, do not be discouraged. The beginnings have always been about practice.
That rings true for any sport. Follow the instructions, study the causes and work your way to fix them. Surely you will become a top tier golfer in absolutely no time.