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  • Writer's pictureDan

Why "Coming Over The Top" is the Most Unhelpful Phrase in Golf Instruction

Here's a conversation we've all heard or been a part of to many times:

  • Instructor: "ah yes, you're coming over the top there in your swing, that's why your slicing"

  • Student: "umm ok, what does that mean?"

  • Instructor: "it just means in your downswing your bringing the club down above the plan upon which you brought the club up in your backswing"

  • Student: "ummm ok, and why is that bad?"

  • Instructor: "well you really want to be coming from the inside when you swing"

  • Student: "and why do I want to do that?"

  • Instructor: "that's how you'll start hitting a draw"

  • Student: "ok..."

The problem with the phrase "coming over the top" and the conversation that results is that it leaves you as a student with little understanding of what's wrong, why it's wrong, or how to fix it.

In addition, as you know by now if you follow the Golf Like An Athlete approach, it's not a phrase we ever hear cited in other sports, which is always a red flag. The Golf Swing is no different then other common athletic movements, so why is this phrase used just in the Golf Swing?

A Better Way

A much simpler way to understand the "coming over the top phenomenon" is to reframe it as a question....what part of your body is initiating the downswing?

  • If it's your upper body (i.e. you start your downswing by rotating your arms, shoulders, and/or chest), you're going to "come over the top" and slice the ball.

  • If it's your lower body that's starting the downswing (i.e. your feet, quads, hamstrings, glutes, and hips), you're going to "come from the inside", generate a ton of lag, and develop a natural draw.

Just like we reviewed in The Swing Lesson, when you use your lower body to drive the movement of your upper body, you move in line with basic athletic principles (and you can even cut a run on a dance floor better).

When you use your upper body to drive the movement of your lower body, you move contrary to other athletic pursuits that involve the movement of your body to generate horizontal force on an object (and look terrible on a dance floor).

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