1) What is coming over the top in the golf swing?
‘Coming over the top’ is a commonly used phrase, but what does it really mean? When people swing a golf club well, they take it back on a slightly inside path, it’s square at the top and should then work back down on an inside to square to inside path.
When people ‘come over the top’, the club strays outside the line very early on in the downswing, coming over the ball-to-target line and attacking the ball on an out-to-in swing path. From here, you could hit a pull, a pull hook or, if you hold the club off, quite a big slice – a common outcome for many.
2) Watch that left hip
There are many clichés in golf teaching, and one thing many golfers misunderstand is ‘clearing the left hip’. They’ll get to a decent position at the top, but then start pulling the left hip back on the downswing, throwing their weight on to their right side.
This brings the right shoulder forward, and again, you have that classic ‘over the top’ movement. To remedy this, swing to the top, then feel a lateral rather than backward movement of the left hip. An alignment stick in the ground as I have here will help. You can then get through the ball and finish your swing properly.
3) A proper weight transfer
One of the biggest causes of an ‘over the top’ swing is to leave your weight on your left leg as you take the club away, creating a classic reverse pivot.
To remedy this, take your set-up without a club and place your hands across your shoulders. Then feel yourself moving your left shoulder across to your right knee, then your right shoulder across to your left knee. It is this latter movement that will bring the club back to the ball on the right line.
4) Seve’s solution
Even the great Seve had problems coming ‘over the top’ at times, but he had a great drill to set him on the right swing path again.
He would take his set-up, then lift the club up so the head was perhaps just below his knees and swing around his body on that elevated plane.
This got him attacking the back of the imaginary ball on the right path – almost like a baseball shot. Try it! With a couple of backswings like that, you’ll feel the club releasing nicely through the ball.
* Make sure you transfer weight on the way back
* Move left hip laterally on the downswing
* Take practice swings at knee height to feel a proper release