Golf Swing Drill: The 1 Unexpected Fix to Stop Topping the Golf Ball – Hitting the Sunken Tee

By | May 23, 2021

Symptom: You are topping, thinning, and scooping the golf ball despite all your best efforts to stop.  You try to stop topping the golf ball but can’t seem to get it done.

Your send another thin golf shot low and fast over the green.  Why can’t you stop topping and hit the ball in the graceful arc you had hoped for?

Overview:  At the range, or on the tee box at a par 3, put the ball on a tee and push the tee all the way into the ground.  It should be as if the ball is not teed up at all.  Now, focus on hitting the tee with the blade of your iron, not the ball, on the downswing.

Why it works:  If you are topping the ball it means you are not hitting down on the ball, with a descending blow.  You are certainly not taking a divot either.

You simply cannot hit a good iron shot without a descending blow.  Aiming at the tee instead of the ball gives you the descending blow you seek.  Once you get the feel of the descending blow you will say “ah, so that’s what it is supposed to feel like.”

Painless Visualization to Help You Stop Topping

Phil Mickelson hitting down on an iron shot off the tee ensures he will stop topping

Phil Mickelson hitting down on an iron shot, and taking a divot, off the tee. No topping here.

Fortunately, it is very easy to get the feel of the descending blow and the solid contact that comes with it.  Just make yourself hit the tee that you know lies beneath the ball.

This is not a strange or esoteric situation, of course.  You have several par threes per round where you get to hit the sunken tee.

And on the short par threes, you will be teeing your ball low.  Again, teeing the ball low is important, because it encourages a descending blow, which is what most Occasional Golfers struggle with.

Have a look at Phil Mickelson’s iron shot below, taking note of the descending blow he puts on the ball.  The ball is struck first, then the ground in front of the ball.

You can see the turf flying in the picture at the right. Note also how the clubhead is pointed skyward on the follow-through, indicating a full release down the line.  This was a well-struck iron, not a thin golf shot.

Have a look:

Banish the Thin Golf Shot

The “ball on sunken tee” trick works because you know that there is a tee underneath the ball (you just put it there, after all), and your mission is to hit the tee, not the ball!

In order to hit the tee, you will naturally hit the ball with a descending blow, which is the very thing you are after.  Do this, and you will have no trouble taking your divot in front of the ball, where it belongs.

Once you get the hang of this, test yourself with a ball on the ground.  It should look exactly the same as the ball you just hit off the (embedded) tee.  You can even set two balls side by side at the range, one with, and the other without a tee underneath.

Just imagine the tee is there even though it is not.  No problem!  You will no longer be hitting thin golf shots if you can clip that imaginary tee beneath the ball.

Did you like this article? Think you can stop sculling those expensive ProV1x balls and start landing them on the green now?  Then tell your friends!  Like, Tweet, Pin, or Email, below!

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