Enduring the misery off topped golf shots? It could be your setup. Probably half of all first-tee jitters ever experienced by golfers can be blamed on one dreaded shot–the cold-topped tee ball. Just thinking of it brings winces, especially to players who periodically suffer this fate. Steve Cramer, pro at Crofton C.C. in Crofton, Md., traces topping troubles to incorrect posture. The original pose of the body is incorrect, and gets worse instead of better as the golf swing unfolds.
“What I see most as the root cause of topping and thin shots is the chin tucked too far into the chest at address,” explains Cramer. “The likely reason for this is that old keep-your-head-down idea, which tends to cause problems.” As the golfer with his chin tucked toward the chest makes a backswing, relates Cramer, the left shoulder bumps the chin and causes an upward movement of the head. Now the golfer is straightened up and his hand-eye coordination is thrown off. He has to dip back down to set things right and can’t. The club comes through an inch or two due north of the golf ball, and only a slight contact is made.
“Eye contact with the ball is what you basically need,” Cramer says, “not literally having your head pulled down toward the ball.” To banish the topped shot from your repertoire, assume an athletic address position with plenty of space between your chin and your chest.