The Best Way to Stop Coming Over the Top in Your Swing
Online Golf Instruction By: Chuck Quinton, Master Instructor • FULL BIO •
One thing that makes golf so difficult is that it's predominantly a left-arm, left-sided dominant game, and of course most players are right handed.
That's not to say the right side and the right arm don't play a huge part in the golf swing. They absolutely do; if you've watched the other videos, you know that.
But it's still the left arm that does a lot of the heavy lifting in terms of controlling the club face and angle, the swing plane, etc. If you don't know how to use the left arm correctly, that's where you run into trouble.
Today you're going to learn one simple trick with the left arm that, if you do it correctly, will immediately change your swing plane and path, making it almost impossible for you to come over the top.
First, let's look at what tends to happen with right handed golfers. Right-dominant golfers often way over-use the right side when it comes to the downswing. We'll take a look at what that causes in the golf swing.
Stop the Right from Dominating the Downswing
A lot of the material on the website talks about pushing versus pulling, and that's what we're going to go back over right now.
We'll see what happens when you push with the right arm in an effort to get power from the swing, instead of learning the proper mechanics for building speed.
One of the problems of pushing with the right is that it changes the pitch of the shaft, which steepens the plane and causes you to come over the top.
If you go to the top of the swing with your right arm only, as Chuck demonstrates in the photos below, you'll find that your right arm and the musculature you have available to you in this position is very adept at rotating forward.
Your right arm wants to make that over the top motion because it's a natural movement for that part of your body at that point in the swing. What's more, this movement feels very powerful.
Your goal is to get the club moving very, very fast, and rotating the right arm feels powerful at the top of the swing. The problem is, that motion will steepen the pitch of the shaft, bringing you over the top and causing a chicken wing and all kinds of problems.
The same thing happens if you start to over-use the right shoulder. Again, it feels very powerful, but it's going to cause you to come out over the top of the swing plane, come across it, and run into all the same problems.
Over-use of the right arm and shoulder is the biggest cause of coming over the top.
Pull With the Left
Now let's look at the other arm.
If you go to the top with your left arm only and try to swing really hard with your left arm, what happens? The shaft shallows out automatically!
If you actually try to heave the club over the top or throw it into a steeper pitch using just your left arm, you'll find it very difficult. It's a weak, awkward feeling and you would never do it in your golf swing.
When you pull with the left arm, the club naturally shallows out. Of course if you overdo it you'll start coming too far from the inside but, if you're an over-the-topper, coming too much from the inside is a dream come true. You'd probably love to hit a big snap hook, which terrifies a lot of golfers.
Using the left arm correctly will allow you to shallow out your swing.
You can't do it by retraining the right arm. It's very hard to get your right arm to come from the inside on its own, unless drop your right shoulder down and under, and you don't want to do that either.
You just need to learn to use the left arm correctly, especially at the top of the swing. That will allow you to shallow out.
The Second Key: Weight Transfer
Getting a proper weight transfer is the second key to taming your slice.
A good weight transfer shallows out the swing plane - the pitch of the shaft. It's as simple as being loaded up on the right side, and then shifting your weight back to the left.
This simple little move, of just shifting your pelvis from your right leg to your left, shallows out the shaft. Chuck demonstrates this move; it's easy to see from face on.
This move also pulls the arm down. You're not just going to the top and ripping your left arm down by itself. You're using your body mass, your weight, to change the direction of the club.
You build up a lot of momentum going back, so you need to use your big muscle mass to change the direction of the club. Once you do, the club will drop down into its delivery position and that's when you go ahead and fire with the arms and everything else in the downswing.
If you don't shift your weight first, you'll run into a lot of other swing problems, so it's critical that you put the two things together. Shift your weight and pull with the left arm.
Know How to Use the Website
The videos on the website cover all kinds of issues for all kinds of golfers. Make sure you're watching the ones that apply to you!
- If you struggle with the issues covered in this lesson - plane and path and swinging over the top - then you'll want to work on using the left arm and perfecting your weight shift. These two issues are especially common to higher handicap golfers, who tend to get less weight shift and haven't yet learned to use the left arm correctly.
- If you don't struggle with these issues - say you use the left arm and transfer your weight really well, but struggle to get more speed in your swing - then you'll want to focus on the right side movement lessons for speed and energy transfer.
The higher handicapper is going to tend to hang back on the right side and throw the arms at the top, getting stuck back on the right because they've created a lot of force with the arms early, trapping the body weight back there.
Lower handicap players may be focusing a little bit more on getting some speed back into their swings once they've gotten these fundamentals down. Find the lessons that are right for you.
Again, for coming over the top there are two simple keys: weight shift, and left arm. Master those and you'll never be able to come over the top again.
Checkpoints for Practice
- The slice is a common fault in golf, but is easily fixed with weight shift and using the left arm correctly
- Many right handers allow the right arm to dominate the downswing, causing the club to come over the top
- Pull with the left to naturally shallow out the swing plane
- Getting a proper weight transfer also shallows out the path