How to stop topping shots
True story: A teaching pro was trying to get one of his students to stop hitting shots where the club made contact with the top half of the ball. This golfer either topped or chunked just about every shot during the lesson. Out of frustration, the teacher went into his office, got a big heavy coat stand and brought it out to the range. He put it behind the golfer and took the back of the golfer's shirt and looped it over one of the hooks. He then asked him to make some slow swings. Then he put a golf ball down and told the golfer to hit it.
With only an abbreviated swing while hanging from a coat rack, the golfer rocketed one off the face. The second ball was even better. This continued for about five more shots until, as you might have guessed, the golfer tried to swing harder and left half his shirt still clinging to the hook.
What the pro and his coat rack were successful in doing was getting the golfer to maintain the posture he created at address throughout the swing—this is key to avoiding tops and chunks.
Golfers who have weak or stiff muscles on the back side of their legs (hamstrings) or issues with their butt and hip muscles will struggle to maintain their address posture when they swing. Another problem stems from poor muscular function in the mid-back region—especially the obliques, which provide a good bit of the power needed to properly rotate the trunk back and through during the golf swing.
So before you get a golf lesson to fix your tops and chunks, you probably should get in the gym and train these areas of the body so you know you're capable of staying in posture when you swing. Even if you are physically fit enough to handle the task, exercises that focus on the hamstrings, hips, glutes and mid-back are never a bad idea for golfers.
Click on the video to see a demonstrate of two such exercises.
Ron Kaspriske is the fitness editor of Golf Digest.