Josh’s Tips & Tricks: Stop Topping Your Irons

Golf | 14 July, 2021


Hi everyone, I hope you’re all safe and well and enjoying some of the Great British summertime. If you have been following my weekly tips & tricks and have been on the golf course regularly you should slowly be seeing your scores come down. This week we’re going to cover something that I see very regularly, especially amongst golfers that are newer to the game. This problem is topping the ball. It can be very frustrating and can cause lots of wasted shots on the course.


So why do people top the ball? There are numerous causes for topping the golf ball. One of the most common golfing clichés is “lifting your head up” but this is not necessarily true. When people “lift up their head” they are actually losing their dynamic posture and changing the angle of their spine lifting them away from the ball. This usually happens because the body is not moving correctly and lacks weight transference and rotation.

I often see people finish with their back foot planted to the floor and spine leaning away from the target because they are trying to “get under the ball” and “lift it in the air”. Golf clubs are all built in a specific way to do a specific job and irons help you get that ball in the air with the amount of loft they have. This means we want to be hitting down and through the back of the ball to get it in the air and not hitting up on it. Trackman suggests that the angle of attack for irons should be roughly between -2* and -5*. This obviously depends on lots of factors but demonstrates how the club should be moving towards the floor at impact, not away from it.

How to improve it

The following video first shows an example of what I see when people try to lift the ball into the air leaning their body away from the target and consequently topping the ball.

The next clip shows a shot being hit from the back foot (ball position back). This can help get the feeling of striking the ball first because the low point of the swing arc is much sooner creating a steeper angle of attack. Making sure the chest is ahead of the ball through impact and that the right foot is pushing off the floor are important to note here. Hitting shots from your back foot without encouraging these movements will just mask a problem with ball striking and send the ball lots lower than desired due to a lack of dynamic loft. When you have that feeling you can try and move the ball position central again and recreate the feeling of pushing off the right foot to getting the chest ahead of the ball through impact.

The final clip shows a way that you can encourage and improve weight transference. As you take a backswing move the lead foot away from the target to touch the back foot. Then as you start the downswing step the front foot towards the target and unwind the body to finish facing the target. This drill will really help people that get stuck on the back foot through impact. Its not easy and takes some practice but give them a go and see if you can get a ball first and ground after contact.


On the golf course you can tell a lot from your divot (or lack of). We want to see a divot starting at or just after the ball for good ball striking. If you don’t often get a divot or struggle to get your ball out of the rough it’s likely that your angle of attack is shallow and could do with improving.

Ball striking is crucial for good golf and without it golf can become very frustrating. Trust me I know because I have been there and experienced it myself. If any of these symptoms sound familiar and the drills don’t help you, get yourself booked in for a lesson using Trackman and we can get it sorted.

See you soon,