Coming Over the Top?

Mark Oswald
General Manager
The Highlands at Dove Mountain in Marana, AZ.
Marana, AZ

More Information

Are you coming over the top on your downswing? For the right handed golfer, this swing path results in a shot pulled left of your target that can turn into a pull hook, straight pull, or pull slice depending on the clubface angle at impact.

1.  The pull hook shot is the result of a right to left club path (outside-in swing path) that starts the ball left and a closed club face makes the ball hook further left.

2.  The straight pull shot starts left and stays left, this club face is square to the path, both pointing left of your target.

3.  The final option with the outside-in swing path is the pull slice; this ball starts left and slices right due to the open club face.

While hitting irons shots you can determine your club path by looking at the divot you have just taken. Your divot should be going directly at the target to have a square path. If the divot is pointing left of your target you have the most common path, the outside-in path. If the divot is pointing right of the target you have the inside/out path.  

Your path can get outside of your target line right from the start of the swing if you take the club back with your hands and break or bow the wrists too much thus pushing the club away from your body and over or outside of the target line. Try taking the golf club away with your left shoulder and left arm rotating around your body; continue taking the club back with a full shoulder turn until positioning the club over your right shoulder at the top of the backswing. This position with the club over your right shoulder pointing down the target line is the desired position at the top of your swing.

You have now completed the backswing and reached the point where most golfers get off line, starting the downswing. The first major problem in getting the club outside of the target line or over the top, is starting the club down with the hands first. For the right handed golfer you will find the right hand taking over and starting the club down by casting the club over the target line. The term casting is similar with casting a fishing line with your right hand.  This flipping of the wrists puts the club out of position for the way down. The second major problem is allowing the right elbow to push your hands over the line. If the right elbow is too far out, not pointing to the ground at the top but pointing too much behind the golfer, leverage will take over and you will force the hands toward the ball and not allow them to drop down into the desired plane.

To correct these two problems start the downswing with your lower body, shifting your weight from the right foot to the left foot. This will increase your power as well as help you to get the club on the correct path towards the target. As you start this weight shift, drop your right elbow to your side. This will also drop the club down into the correct downswing plane.

This correct swing plane will keep your club traveling down the line of the target with greater consistency and power and keep your club on path and your ball beginning towards your target. 

For more help with your golf game, contact Mark Oswald at