How To Fix An Over The Top Swing

Adjust your weight shift, rotation, or downswing to control your over-the-top swing immediately. Narrowing it to one or a combination of these elements is the first step to improvement, and you can identify that right now with this guide.

However, recognizing the problem doesn’t cure it, so I included some of the most effective drills I’ve used with students of all ages with much success. These may seem simple, but their impact will be felt throughout your entire set.

Whether you struggle with over-the-top swings on your driver, woods, irons, or all three, use the information below to squash this issue and start shooting the scores you deserve.

Causes of Over The Top Golf Swing

Early Rotation

Over the top swing is caused by early rotation taken by clint mccormick

Twisting your body to create potential energy is a key component of any swing, but it will do more harm than good if not properly timed. An over-the-top swing is most commonly caused by rotating your upper body too early through impact. This starts at the top of the swing when a player’s first move is to turn their shoulders towards the ball before allowing their arms to drop.

Casting

Over the top swing is caused by casting taken by clint mccormick

Next to “shank,” this might be the most disliked golf term on the course. Casting your club is never a good thing and always leads to the club coming over the top across the impact zone.

Poor Weight Shift

Over the top swing can be caused by improper weight transfer taken by clint mccormick

Trying to hit the ball hard causes your body to shift towards the target. By shifting laterally, you reduce the chances your body has to return the club to the ball for solid impact. Yes, weight shifting happens, but not until after the ball is struck. Timing this weight shift is crucial to correct an over-the-top golf swing.

Improper Setup/Posture

Over the top swing is caused by improper setup and posture taken by clint mccormick

Sometimes, golfers can spoil a good swing even before they start their backswing. Setting up too upright or with knees bent too much are familiar causes of an over-the-top golf swing.

Overextended At The Top Of Your Backswing

Taking the club too far back separates your arms from your body and causes timing issues. When this happens, swing over the top is the only way for your arms to catch up to your body.

Immobile Lower Body

If your hips do not rotate, your arms have less room to swing in to out. If your hips are like a statue, then your arms can only swing from the outside to generate power.

Misplaced Grip

Over the top swing is caused by misplaced grip  taken by clint mccormick

Over the top swing is caused by misplaced grip  taken by clint mccormick

A good, fundamentally sound grip can still contribute to an over-the-top swing. The placement of your bottom hand greatly influences your right side and how it passes through the impact zone. Adjusting your grip could be all you need to stop your coming-over-the-top golf swing.

How To Stop Coming Over The Top

Use these steps to identify the source of your over-the-top issues and remedy them immediately.

1. Optimize Weight Transfer

Over the top swing can be fixed by proper posture taken by clint mccormick

Too many amateurs push off their back foot using their toes, which causes them to swing outside and over the top. Instead, focus on pushing off from the arch or heel of your back foot. This will encourage your body to operate more inside as it approaches the golf ball.

Take that feeling a step further and ensure the weight on your front foot is closer to the toes or ball of your foot. If you plan to end up there, your body must adjust to avoid weight transfer to the heel of your front foot. It might not be a natural move initially, but that’s what driving ranges are for.

2. Keep Your Back To The Target Longer

Our first instinct from the top of the swing is to speed up fast, including rotating our shoulders. You’ll have fewer over-the-top swings if you can fight this urge for a split second and keep your back turned to the target while your hands drop down into the slot.

As you practice this, you may hit a few chunk shots; this is normal. To make this change effective, you must adjust your swing tempo, which takes a few reps. Simplify it by thinking about keeping your left shoulder under your chin for as long as you can while your arms begin to drop.

3. Revise Your Pre-Shot Routine

Use this short time before each shot to create a confident feeling in your body before stepping up to the ball. These swings don’t have to be textbook; you only want to create a feeling representing a fundamentally sound movement. Sure, you can check your positioning briefly but always focus on the feeling more than the action.

This is why PGA pros have such different pre-shot routines. They each want a confident feeling that is unique to them, so they need a unique method to achieve it.

4. Maintain Wrist Hinge For As Long As Possible

Over the top swing can be fixed by maintaining wrist hinge taken by clint mccormick

If your swing timing is spot on, but you still swing over the top, ensure your wrists stay hinged through your downswing. Only at the last millisecond should your wrists unleash their power.

Extending your wrists early is called casting; when this happens, your club can only go outside or over the top. Set your wrists early in the backswing and keep them like that for as long as possible.

5. Focus On Your Follow Through

Over the top swing can be fixed by proper impact position taken by clint mccormick

To fight against over-the-top swings, you can distract your body by having it focus on achieving an action rather than preventing one. If you think of nothing else but following through down the target line and pointing your club at the target at impact, your body will have no choice but to swing from inside.

Those who swing over the top often have divots pointing to the target’s left, creating slices or pull hooks. To subconsciously prevent over-the-top swings, make a conscious decision to make divots that point at or to the right of the target.

Exercises & Drills To Fix An Over The Top Swing

Screenshot this section to have for your next practice session. If possible, grab your camera and create a video series documenting your swing change. This will tell you if you’re on the right track.

Use Alignment Sticks

Over the top swing can be fixed by alignment sticks drill taken by clint mccormick

You can also use two clubs. Lay two sticks or clubs parallel to each other on the turf. One should be on the outside of your ball, representing your target line and swing path. The other should be at your toes, representing your body line.

This is meant to help your body (rotation and weight shift) and your swing path as you approach the impact zone. Regularly using these will provide visual aids to help your body understand how you want to swing.

Towel Under Arm

Over the top swing can be fixed by towel under the arm drill taken by clint mccormick

Over the top swing can be fixed by towel under the arm drill taken by clint mccormick You don’t need any fancy training aids. A simple golf towel or head cover is all that’s required to prevent over-the-top swings in golf. Place it under your trailing armpit (right armpit for right-handed golfers) and ensure it doesn’t fall out until the very end of your follow-through. You know you’re swinging over the top if it falls out before you strike the ball.

Swing Path Headcover

Over the top swing can be fixed by swing path headcover drill taken by clint mccormick Over the top swing can be fixed by swing path headcover drill taken by clint mccormick

Use this drill if you are struggling with over-the-top swings and the alignment sticks did not work. Lay a headcover down just on the outside of your ball like an alignment stick would. However, place your headcover much closer to the ball. By doing this, your bad swings will make contact with the headcover, letting you know you were over the top.

FAQ

Can You Play Golf With An Over The Top Swing?

Yes, you can play golf with an over-the-top swing. However, if you want to increase distance, improve ball striking, and lower your scores, it’s highly recommended that you avoid swinging over the top and instead swing from the inside out.

Does Coming Over The Top Cause A Slice?

Yes, coming over the top does cause a slice, as well as other undesirable shots. A slice is the most common errant shot, but players can also pull, hook, or pull any ball struck with an over-the-top swing path.

Do Any Pro Golfers Have Over The Top Swings?

No, pros do not have over-the-top swings unless they want to. The vast majority of pro shots will not be over the top as this is not an effective way to swing the club. However, if they want to create a huge slice, they would force themselves to come over the top for that one swing.

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Clint is PGA-certified and was a Head Teaching Professional at one of Toronto's busiest golf academies. He was also featured on Canada's National Golf TV program, "Score Golf Canada," twice. He graduated with a degree in Golf Management from the College of the Desert in California and studied under Callaway's co-founder, Tony Manzoni.

He has a handicap index of 6.2 and spends the winters near Oaxaca, Mexico, where he plays twice a month at the Club de Golf Vista Hermosa. He's written over 100 articles at GolfSpan since 2021. You can connect with Clint at LinkedIn, FB, his website, or Clintcpga@gmail.com.

  • Best score: 68
  • Favorite club: Odyssey White Hot Two-Ball Center-Shafted Putter
  • Favorite ball: Titleist Pro V1x
  • Favorite food at the turn: Hot dog

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