That dreaded topped shot seems to always rear its ugly head at the worst time. Like when you need to hit a shot over a sand bunker or over a creek. Or what’s even worse is when you’re on the first tee with a crowd of golfers waiting in line behind you. Ouch.
Not only is the score affected, but your ego gets crushed as well. When I see this happen it is usually followed quickly with “I know what I did. I looked up.” or “I lifted my head.” I’m telling you right now that 99% of the time it couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s your spine lifting not your head. And if your spine is stable than it’s likely that your arms did not stay extended through impact.
There are several reasons why your spine would move and some are mental while others are physical. And when I say physical, I mean that your flexibility or setup simply does not allow for you to move through the ball and maintain your spine angle. This is a common flaw with elderly golfers as they begin to lose flexibility. And most golfers have built in some type of compensation for this move. Some stand closer, some dip through impact and others fall off balance while lunging toward the ball.
Any of these moves will be cause for inconsistent contact, which is a killer in golf especially when under pressure.
To “stay down” through impact, work on your spine angle at address and try to maintain that angle throughout the backswing. If your head is down at address, your shoulder turn will run into your chin and pull your spine up away from the original position. Get your head up at address with your eyes down and you’ll experience a free turn with minimal movement. For more help with this or other swing problems, see your local PGA Professional.
Jacques Panet-Raymond is a PGA Master Teaching Professional and the owner of The Vision Quest Golf Academy at the River Club. For more information, call 932-6090 or visit www.VQGolf.com.
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