Solutions for Swinging Over The Top

From Dave Phillips On January 29, 2024
The dreaded "Over-the-Top" move is one of the more common problems to afflict golfers and something that golf instructors address every day on the lesson tee. Over-the-top refers to a downswing pattern... where the club is swung above the shaft plane line established at set-up, as observed from behind the golfer. This results in an attack angle that is steeper than ideal and a swing path that moves from outside the golf ball to inside, cutting across the ball and producing either a pull or a slice. The over-the-top motion is frustrating because its steepness leaves little room for error. Thin and fat shots can be common and even when you make ball-first contact, you often deliver a glancing blow that results in weak, high shots that curve excessively.

Titleist staff member and TPI co-founder Dave Phillips has seen his share of over-the-top moves and in this video he shares the main cause - not dissociating the hips and the shoulders during the downswing. In an ideal kinematic motion, the downswing is initiated by the lower body, but in an over-the-top swing, the shoulders and hips turn back to the ball together. To fix it, Dave has two solutions.

1. For players who are physically able to turn their hips independent of their shoulders, place a head cover directly behind the ball and use it as a visual barrier. As you start your backswing, try to make the club head work over the head cover as you move the club away from the ball. As you shift and start the downswing, feel like your shoulders remain closed, chest facing behind the ball as your arms drop. This will promote more of an inside-to-out path and shots that draw.

2. For players who have difficulty dissociating the movement of the pelvis and torso, try a one-plane swing. Bend from the hips a little more at address. At the top of the backswing, feel like your lead arm is below the line of your shoulders. This flatter backswing will get your arms swinging deeper, further behind your body. From this position, although your shoulders and hips still turn back to the ball together, you'll swing the club on a flatter, more shallow plane that will approach the ball from an inside path and promote shots that draw.
The dreaded "Over-the-Top" move is one of the more common problems to afflict golfers ... and something that golf instructors address every day on the lesson tee. Over-the-top refers to a downswing pattern where the club is swung above the shaft plane line established at set-up, as observed from behind the golfer. This results in an attack angle that is steeper than ideal and a swing path that moves from outside the golf ball to inside, cutting across the ball and producing either a pull or a slice. The over-the-top motion is frustrating because its steepness leaves little room for error. Thin and fat shots can be common and even when you make ball-first contact, you often deliver a glancing blow that results in weak, high shots that curve excessively.

Titleist staff member and TPI co-founder Dave Phillips has seen his share of over-the-top moves and in this video he shares the main cause - not dissociating the hips and the shoulders during the downswing. In an ideal kinematic motion, the downswing is initiated by the lower body, but in an over-the-top swing, the shoulders and hips turn back to the ball together. To fix it, Dave has two solutions.

1. For players who are physically able to turn their hips independent of their shoulders, place a head cover directly behind the ball and use it as a visual barrier. As you start your backswing, try to make the club head work over the head cover as you move the club away from the ball. As you shift and start the downswing, feel like your shoulders remain closed, chest facing behind the ball as your arms drop. This will promote more of an inside-to-out path and shots that draw.

2. For players who have difficulty dissociating the movement of the pelvis and torso, try a one-plane swing. Bend from the hips a little more at address. At the top of the backswing, feel like your lead arm is below the line of your shoulders. This flatter backswing will get your arms swinging deeper, further behind your body. From this position, although your shoulders and hips still turn back to the ball together, you'll swing the club on a flatter, more shallow plane that will approach the ball from an inside path and promote shots that draw.
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