Last week was a really tough round for me.
I shot 86 but was really not happy with the way I hit the ball. The front 9 was 46 followed by a 40 coming in.
My course is only 9 holes so a 6 shot discrepancy between the front and back bothers me.
My issue was that I was hitting every ball fat for a while. Completely digging the club into the ground and I really felt like I would never hit the thing in the air again.
The self diagnosed problem: coming over the top. When I work with my coach and I hit the ball fat it is because of over the top or hanging back. I was getting to my front foot Ok but couldn’t hit the ball.
I tried to focus on swinging out on the ball and I turned in a respectable round.
What is Over the Top?
This is something I have struggled with and used to lead to massive slicing. I was able to clean it up but now the result is hitting shots fat.
Coming over the top results in a out to in swing path. This can be used to your advantage if the result is a slight cut or fade. My results stray far from that so it is a bad thing for me.
A golf coach can use multiple drills to help you get your swing plane more in to out. You should definitely work with someone on that one because not everyone slices the ball because they are over the top, etc. Go to the pros in this scenario.
From a training perspective, we can look at two main areas for addressing the over the top swing characteristic.
The shoulder is a funny joint because the arm is supposed to be mobile and the shoulder blades are supposed to be stable. So the shoulders need to be mobile and stable. That can get kind of confusing so the differentiation is important.
The shoulder blades and posterior shoulder musculature need to be strong to allow the arm to move freely. The ball and socket portion of the shoulder will become stable in the absence of scap stability.
To build good scap stability there are a few different types of exercises to use. One of the best is the pushup. This allows the scapula to do its job while also training upper body strength. Use it as a strength exercise performing 6-12 reps and not as a punishment of hundreds.
Any type of rowing/pulling exercise is also a good choice. Adding pushups and rows to programs are often times good enough to help improve stability.
There are a few other scap stability favorites to implement below.
Shoulder mobility for an over the top swing is affected by rotation, scap stability, and core stability.
To address shoulder mobility I like using wall slides. These are very difficult to perform and very effective.
We can also put it together in an external rotation pattern. This requires mobility and shoulder stability to work together.
We also cannot forget about core stability. A stable core allows the shoulder blades to be stable while the arm moves.
Different carry variations are good ways to promote shoulder and core stability together. I personally like the OH carry for that task.
The over the top swing characteristic is going to be closely related between your swing path and your movement. Addressing one without the other may not paint the whole picture it is always best to join forces when possible.