September 7, 2023

person grass sport outdoors

One of the main problems that most golfers struggle with is making consistent contact, which means that the clubface won't come in contact with the golf ball. One popular error that golfers make is catching too much turf at first, and they up hitting the ball too high, known as a heavy or fat shot.

Our main focus on this article is another miss that is referred to as a topped or thin shot. This is where the clubface makes contact with the ball but not the ground and is very low on the clubface. Topping the golf ball makes it stay close to the ground after striking. Although some topped shots don't go very far, there are others that can go a long distance.

Striking these shots can create an uncomfortable vibration through the grip and shaft to the golfer's hands. This is a very common miss however, it is easy to fix. If you're tired of striking this embarrassing shot, then keep on reading to find out how to stop topping the golf ball.

Reasons Why You're Topping the Golf Ball

There are a lot of things that can cause a topped shot. Here are some of the common reasons;

1. The Club is too Short

A golf player who is too far from the ball is forced to reach a long distance to get the ball, which is a challenging position to maintain throughout the swing. A stance that is too far from the ball and a short club are very similar, which might cause topping the golf ball.

It is crucial to note that you need to have the right equipment for you to achieve a good golf swing and stop topping the golf ball. Ensure that your clubs are helping and not spoiling your chances of hitting lower scores.

2. Reverse Pivot

With the reverse pivot, you don't get the weight to the back foot, but you instead pivot off the lead foot, which may lead to your weight not shifting back. This means that you won't be able to get the right weight movement on the downswing. You will leave most of your weight on the backside and hit up the golf ball, which leads to a dreaded miss.

To fix this, you need to ensure you have a good base at the address position, your feet are wide, and your knees in a flexed position. It will allow the correct swing arc into the ball as well as help you get the majority of your weight back.

3. Fear of Hitting the Ground

Wondering how the fear of hitting the ground can cause a topped shot? For instance, when you've been hitting a lot of heavy shots where you catch too much of the ground, and this can cause overcompensation. This makes people overcorrect, which may lead to hitting the top of the ball.

4. Posture

Posture is an essential factor when it comes to getting the right swing arc for every shot. If you experience fat or thin shots, there is a high chance that your spine angle and posture change throughout your swing. To ensure you make consistent contact, you need to maintain a proper posture throughout the swing. You should;

  • Maintain a straight back
  • Bend at the waist area
  • Your arms should hang loose
  • Your knees should be flexed in an athletic position, not bent.

5. Ground Condition

When a player hits the ball uphill, it can cause a topped golf shot because they often lean or fall down the hill after hitting the ball. Since the momentum is going downhill, the player gets a swing that has a lot of upward arcs. An upward swing arc with the weight leaning backward instead of forwarding can cause a topped shot.

Ball Skills to Help Stop Topping the Ball

1. Move the ball back in your stance

Sometimes the ball might be too far forward, such that when your club head comes to the impact zone, the ball often is on its way up and never gets a chance to hit the middle of the clubface. It hits either the bottom edge or the bottom half of the club. Moving the ball back in your stance involves understanding the correct ball position and adjusting the ball position to affect ball flight.

2. Deliver your club on the right Swing arc into the ball

This is an issue with fairway woods and long irons. It comes from having an angle that is too steep, making the contact zone shrink making it difficult to get the right spot onto the golf ball. Flatten the impact on your swing arc and ensure the ball lies in the middle of that area.

With the fair woods and long irons, you need to have a sweeping motion, whereas, with the shorter irons, you should hit the golf ball downswing. To deliver the right swing arc to the ball, move slightly from a steeper swing to one that is not so steep. This will help stop topping the golf ball.

3. Don’t hit the ball too hard

It is common to overdo things when our adrenaline gets pumping. However, controlling your adrenaline is not easy because we have the feeling of anticipation with the opportunity to succeed. It can also be a hindrance to your success and can lead to topping the golf ball.

There is no specific way or drill you can use to control your adrenaline because it all happens in the head or mentally. Even professional golfers on many tours hire sports psychologists to help them manage their adrenaline. Always keep your emotions in check to ensure you don't hit the ball too hard, and it will help to stop topping the golf ball.

4. Keep your eyes on the ball

Although this may sound cliche, it is common for golfers to focus too much on the results rather than the process to help stop topping the golf ball. The main issue is that it happens in a millisecond and may cause a topped shot and a complete whiff. It is important to train your mind on the ball by staring at the ball intently.


1. Maintaining the correct posture

If you're hoping to stop topping the golf ball, then maintaining the right posture is crucial. An incorrect posture could be the root of the posture. One way to have the right posture is to practice. It would be best if you did it over and over again but ensure you maintain a proper posture throughout the swing.

To do this, you can try to keep the left shoulder down through the impact as your shoulders start the downswing. Then, let the right shoulder pivot under your chin but ensure it stays below the level of the left one. Also, your knees should be flexed and not bent, have a bend at the waist with the back straight, and the arms should be hanging loose.

2. Fixing Improper weight transfer to Stop topping the Golf Ball

An incorrect weight shift is the cause of a lot of swing issues. A common weight transfer mistake is the reverse pilot which is when your weight is on the front foot, and it is supposed to be on the back foot and vice versa. This causes you to top the ball when you are transitioning from a backswing to a downswing. During this transition, your weight should come from the back to front, and in turn, makes your body move towards the ball.

You need to start out at address neutral, which means your weight is distributed evenly on each foot. When you begin the backswing, your weight should gradually shift to your back foot. While at the top of the backswing, your weight needs to be all on your back foot, and as you transition to downswing, your weight shifts to your front foot. Your weight needs to be almost all on your front foot at follow-through.

3. Maintain your spine angle

If you lose your spine angle during your golf swing, chances are terrible things can happen, including topping the golf ball. The main issue with a spine angle breakdown is that this becomes a progression of other problems. If you bend at the waist, keep your back straight and maintain the correct spine angle, you control the planes that determine if you contact the ball with the middle of the clubface or the bottom edge of the club in case of a cold top.

4. Straighten your left arm

Some people are physically unable to attain some of the aspects of a golf swing, for example, keeping the left arm straightened, which in turn causes topping the ball. Stretching your arm will help gain the range of motion needed to stop topping the golf ball, and this is why you need to do the best you can.

When your left arm is not straight, you need to be extra careful about how much further you should take the club back. This is because if you take it too far, it collapses the left elbow and may also take the spring out of the swing.

5. Don’t drive your legs too much forward

The main issue about driving your legs forward is the timing. It is important to coordinate driving your legs to happen when it is supposed to happen. This is because in the case the leg drive happens too early, there is a probability that your arms will lag behind the ball, which may make you slide through the impact zone.

There is also a probability of a recoil effect happening because of the sliding. This will shift your weight back instead of going forward, and it will make it impossible to hit the ball on the club face's center. Every golfer needs to pay attention to the timing, and they shouldn't drive their legs too much forward.

6. Get a friend to help you stop topping the ball

As much as golf can be a challenging sport, it can also be a very lonely game. The only measurement of how good we are in golf is the scorecard which is not always accurate. A good score could be because of a number of reasons, like a couple of lucky bounces or a shot putter. Meaningful feedback about how our swing is progressing is what we really need.

Having a friend is a better option if you can't have a golf professional to give you feedback. This should be someone you trust to watch you and provide input on the swing. Feedback is a vital step to self-evaluation. There are also some drills that can't be possible without additional hands, and this is why you should have a friend to help you out.

7. Ensure to keep your knees flexed

This posture is crucial to start your swing, especially if you're hoping to stop topping the golf ball. In golf, all the parts of your body have to work together, for example, the arms, shoulders, hands, wrists, legs, and feet. When you stand straight and swing the club, the weight transfer you will get is only from swaying towards the golf ball.

As much as it is essential to begin with, your knees flexed, it is also crucial to maintain the flex throughout the swing. If you happen to straighten the legs before an impact, there is a possibility of topping the golf ball. If you want to start the swing in the right way, then it is vital to keep your knees flexed.

Swing Tips to Stop Topping the Golf ball

1. Think of your swing as a pendulum

In a golf swing, your head is the fixed point in the pendulum, and the golf club is the swinging arm. This means that if you keep your head at the same point throughout the entire swing, then the club should return to where the golf swing started.

2. Initiate your swing starting down

Allow your downswing to start in a natural way, and the rest of your body should react to that natural motion. The problem with allowing your shoulders and arms to dictate the motion is that you can get anxious at any point of your swing, leading to topping the ball.

3. Keep your head and shoulders level to stop topping the golf ball

One way you can fix this is to imagine a smooth marble tabletop is under your chin at the address. Then, you want to keep your chin on this tabletop all the way through your swing. Keep your head from going up because it's obvious it can't go down.


I hope this article helps you stop topping the golf ball. However, if you do, you should never be embarrassed and know you're not alone. Hopefully, the above golf tips help you stop topping the ball. While it feels like a lot of things to evaluate, it is most likely that you're doing most of them correctly, and the issue is caused by only one mistake. Find and correct the issue, and in no time, you will stop topping the golf ball.

About the author 

Andrew Robertson

My name is Andrew and I have been playing golf since I was 5! I currently play on HCP 2 and I have been working as both PRO for many years where I have been instructing both junior golfers and more established and experienced golfers. I have been working part-time at a large Golf Shop where I have been in charge of purchasing and custom fitting. My favorite item in the bag at the moment? My TaylorMade Spider X Putter, for sure. I hope you enjoy my guides here at Pine Club Golf. Leave a comment or send me an e-mail at if there is something you want to ask!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}