Golf Tip: Over the top

Published 8:42 am Wednesday, February 24, 2021

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From:  Chris Dixon, PGA Tour Coach

How to stop coming over the top

An over the top swing is also known as having an outside in swing path or swinging to the left. Whether they realize it or not, the vast majority of golfers out there have this type of swing path (some golfers may not realize it because they tend to aim their body way out to the right in order to counter- act the shots that start to the left).

You can tell if you’re someone who’s coming over the top by watching your shots. If you pull, pull hook or slice the ball then you have an over the top golf swing.

Hitting with your arms instead of rotating the body

Throughout the years, I’ve been able to fix my students over the top move by simply having them stop hitting so hard with their arms and totally focus on turning their body first in the downswing. If you hit it hard with your arms your upper body will get out ahead of the lower body causing the clubshaft to come in too steep. If your main goal is to unwind the lower body first, the upper body will stay behind the ball throughout the downswing and the clubshaft will flatten instead of coming over the top.

The Problem

In a golf swing, you have approximately ¼ of a second from the top of the backswing to impact. In life, your body moves slower than your arms. So, at the very moment you are to start down you have very little time to move your body before your arms. In the backswing your hips should rotate 45 degrees (half of your upper body rotation of 90). At impact your hips should be rotated open 45 degrees. This means that your hips have rotated a total of 90 degrees.

So, ask yourself this… if you’re just thinking about whacking at the ball with your arms, how do you plan on having your hips rotated a minimum of 90 degrees by the time you get to impact like the pros do?

My Favorite drill

Simply do your set up then lift the club off the ground to approx. knee high. With the club elevated off the ground do practice swings. The reason I like this drill so much is that once you lift the club in the air there is no ball to hit (it is also very similar to the side hill drill with the ball above your feet to help flatten out the clubshaft). You will also be able to feel your body making the club swing.

The more you keep using your body to make the club swing, the less you use your arms.

This move seems impossible but if you have played baseball, basketball, or even tennis you have done a similar move. Baseball; step then throw. Basketball; step then pass, or jump then shoot. Tennis; unwind the body and the racket is pulled by the rotation of the body. Just feel your weight move from your right foot into your left.

HINT: Think of your belt buckle pointing to your right knee in the backswing and then pointing to your left knee at impact.