How to Stop Topping the Ball: Practical Golf Swing Drills For You

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Even experienced golfers occasionally top the golf ball, making contact with only the top dimple! If this is you, this guide will show you how to stop topping the ball.

i’ll go over some key reasons why you top the ball and drills that you can perform to improve your golf swing.

If you want to play better golf, these are key things you should know. If you need more help, you can purchase golf training aids like the alignment sticks below to help you out even more.

If you have any other questions, comment down below and let me know!

Use the link below to pick up some alignment sticks today.

What is Topping the Ball in Golf?

Topping the ball in golf is one of the most common mistakes that amateur golfers tend to make. This is because making solid, consistent contact on the ball is extremely difficult when first starting out the sport.

When you top the golf ball, the club face only makes contact with the ball and not the ground. It could also mean that you hit up on the ball instead of a down at impact.

Topping the golf ball will cause the ball to stay extremely low to the ground, either bounce a few feet in front of you or roll a far distance along the ground due to the topspin created.

Below we will go over different things that might be causing you to top the golf ball. Most mistakes beginners make can easily be fixed with a few tweaks to your stance and golf swing.

We will also go over a few drills to help improve your swing arc and stop topping the ball.

Want to see how even PGA tour professionals sometimes top the ball too? Check out this video:

Worst golf shots of the year | 2021

Why Do You Top the Ball?

Standing Too Far Away

One of the big reasons you are topping the golf ball is your stance. If you stand too far at address, you will most likely top the ball at impact.

This is because standing too far from the ball will have you reaching to make contact. This throws your arms into a diagonal position and will have you topping the ball if you make any contact.

You must ensure your hands are directly under your shoulders at address. This should ensure that your golf club head is lined up perfectly with the ball. You shouldn’t feel like your hands are too far from your body.

how to stop topping the ball standing too far away

The image above is from our friends at Me and My Golf.

Standing Up Too High

Another reason for topping the ball with an improper stance is standing up too high during your swing. Any beginner golfer knows to bend at the hips and flex your knees slightly.

If you stand up too high in your stance, you are distancing yourself from the golf ball. If you put too much distance between yourself and the golf ball, there is a higher likelihood you will only hit the top of the ball, hence topping it.

Bend your knees throughout your swing to ensure you are not too far from the ball. You want your spine angle to be perpendicular to your club shaft.

how to stop topping the ball too upright

Bad Golf Posture

A solid posture throughout your entire golf swing is key to making reliable, solid contact on the golf ball. If your knees are too bent or squatted forward, you will find it incredibly difficult to get the ball into the air with a proper swing arc.

A bad posture can also lead to poor balance throughout your swing. Even if you were to correct the bad posture before your swing, the slightest loss of balance could throw your swing and the impact of the ball completely off whack.

Make sure your posture is good and your balance is solid before making your swing. You don’t want your spine angle to change at all.

Trying to Lift the Ball

Most beginner golfers believe that the key to hitting the ball solid nto the air is to try and sweep and lift it themselves. Once you fully understand how to get good launch, you will realize that your club head needs to dig into the ground to get the most consistent contact on the ball.

If you try and lift the ball up into the air yourself, you will most likely either top the ball or completely miss it on your downswing. You have to feel your trail arm straighten and dig the club into the ground at the ball to get the most compression on the ball.

This is what will launch the ball into the air!

Head Position

There are a few different things to go over here regarding your head position and where your eyes should be throughout the swing.

First, a big reason you may be topping the ball is keeping your head down too long. The big issue with this is that you are always told to keep your head steady and down throughout your swing as a beginner golfer. The problem with keeping your head down too long is that it limits your body from performing a nice pendulum swinging motion. You will not rotate properly to get the club into the ground.

Try taking a few practice swings with your head in the same position looking at the ball, and you will find yourself very restricted in your swing, and this will cause you to top the ball.

Eye Contact

Regarding your eyes, you want to ensure you are watching your impact through and then shift your head after contact. Many beginner golfers struggle with swinging too hard and take their eye contact off the ball.

Try hitting a golf ball with your eyes closed the entire time, and you will have trouble making contact. If your eyes look up before impact, you will struggle with contact on the ball and either top it or completely miss it.

Flat-Footed During Downswing

A big part of the golf swing is ensuring you rotate through with your trail heel naturally coming up off the ground onto the toe. If you keep the back foot down too long or stay flat-footed during the swing, you will not maintain momentum on your forward swing,

This will cause mishits and topped golf shots.

How to Stop Topping the Golf Ball

Proper Weight Transfer

One of the main things to remember during your swing is properly transferring your weight throughout the entire swing.

As you start your backswing, you need to keep your front foot on the ground but transfer your weight towards your back foot. You also need to rotate your hips. Once you hit the top of your swing, you must remember to shift your weight towards the front foot and throughout the ball’s impact.

Think of it as you thrust your hips back to the front leg and rotate through impact.

If done correctly, you will compress the ball on the ground with a slight divot, and it will launch into the air. If you do not shift your weight and keep it on the back foot, you will be leaning back and not significantly impact the ball, most likely topping it.

how to stop topping the ball shift weight

Extending Arms Through Impact

We went over this slightly above, but you must remember to have your trail arm extended down on the ball’s impact. You want to feel like you are throwing the club head directly at the ground with your trail arm.

Having full extended arms through impact means crisp contact on the ball. If either of your arms is bent or “chicken-winged,” you will not hit the ball very well.

Watch Your Ball and Not the Shot

Quite a few beginner golfers tend to lift their head before impact and watch the shot before it has even been made. The issue with this is you haven’t made contact yet.

If you lift your head before contact, you will be lucky to make contact with the top dimple on the ball. This, of course, causes you to top the ball.

You may even miss the ball completely.

You must keep your head down and your eye on the ball through impact before following the ball into the air. This will ensure the best contact possible on the ball.

Stance and Ball Setup

The setup on the ball is essential to ensuring you do not top the golf ball and make a crisp shot. Make sure that the ball is in the correct position in your stance.

It usually sits right in the middle of your stance, but you can shift it forwards or backward depending on the club you use. It would help if you also ensured that the ball was not too far away or close to you.

Set up as you usually would, have your hands dangling under your chin in an athletic position, and you should be set up perfectly to execute your shot.

how to stop topping the ball proper ball setup and stance

Golf Drills to Stop Topping the Ball

Tee Drill

The tee drill is one of my favorite drills to practice ball-striking and ensuring you make the best contact possible.

  1. Set up on the ball as you normally would for a tee shot.
  2. Take a tee and place it into the ground about 2-3 inches in front of your golf ball so just the top of the tee is sticking out of the ground.
  3. Take a second tee and place it about 2-3 inches behind the golf ball.
  4. When hitting your shots, focus on hitting the golf ball first and then the tee in front second. The reason is that your divot should happen after the impact happens. This means that you compressed the golf ball properly.

If you hit the back tee first, your club path is not online, and you are trying to sweep and lift the ball yourself. You should always have it in your head to hit the ball first and the turf second, not the other way around. If you are not taking a divot, you need to be more swinging down more towards the ground.

Still-Head Drill

This drill requires another person with you to maximize its benefits fully.

  1. Set up your shot as you normally would.
  2. Have your partner stand away from you but look directly at you. They will also need a golf club and extend it so that the grip touches the top of your head.
  3. Have them keep the club touching your head during the entire swing.
  4. Take your swings on the ball and ensure that their club keeps your head in the same position until right after impact.

This drill helps to ensure that your head stays in the correct position throughout your swing arc and that you do not lift too early. Moving your head or lifting it too early will cause you to over-swing or completely miss the ball. You ensure sold contact with the ball with your head in the proper position through impact.

Need some guidance on keeping your head still? Check out the video below:


Buying some good golf alignment sticks can help you setup for these and other drills. Practice is the best way to increase your skill level and reduce common misses in your swing.


Topping the golf ball is a common problem for beginners and it can be due to a few different things:

  • Bad spine angle
  • Incorrect impact position
  • Swing plane

By practicing a few of the drills above, you can learn how to stop topping the ball on the golf course today. Practice is key to improving your swing!

If you want to hear about any other golf swing tips, comment below and let me know!

Ryan William
Ryan William

With over 25 years hands-on experience in the golfing world, Ryan is not just an avid golfer but a topical authority. His journey has had him delve deep into the nuances of the sport, from mastering the swing to understanding new golf technology. As an entrepreneur, Ryan is at the forefront of the latest golf trends, reviewing all new clubs, accessories, and training aids. His insights and expertise are backed by a prolific writing career, with over 1000 articles published across various platforms. Ryan's commitment is clear: to guide and inform the golf community with unparalleled knowledge and passion.

Last update on 2024-05-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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