How To Fix Your Over-The-Top Golf Swing

An over-the-top golf swing often leads to frustrating slices, pulls, and a loss of power, making it a common hurdle for many golfers.

To fix it, focus on proper weight transfer, downswing sequencing, and positioning drills that reinforce the correct inside-out path.

Keep reading to discover detailed strategies and practical drills to get your swing back on track!

Key Principles to Correct the Swing Path

A well-executed swing path is essential to achieving consistent and accurate golf shots.

Mastering the correct path requires understanding the fundamentals of club direction and honing specific techniques that ensure balance and timing.

The Fundamentals of an Ideal Club Path (Inside-Out vs. Outside-In)

The club path refers to the direction the clubhead travels relative to the intended target line.

An inside-out path means the clubhead approaches the ball from inside the target line and then moves outward through impact, creating a desirable draw or straight shot.

Conversely, an outside-in path starts with the clubhead outside the target line, often leading to slices and pulls due to excessive sidespin or improper face alignment.

For an optimal club path, focus on setting up with your feet, hips, and shoulders square to the target.

As you begin your downswing, initiate by rotating your hips and allowing your arms to follow naturally.

This sequence encourages the club to swing from the inside, delivering a powerful and controlled strike through the ball.

Visualizing the clubhead's movement from inside to out can be tricky at first.

You can aid your practice with alignment sticks placed parallel to the target line, helping you see the intended swing path.

Additionally, positioning a headcover outside the ball will help you avoid swinging outside-in.

The goal is to find the slot during the downswing, where the club approaches the ball from the inside and creates a natural arc for solid contact.

The Importance of Balance, Weight Transfer, and Sequencing

Achieving an ideal swing path relies heavily on balance, weight transfer, and sequencing.

Balance is fundamental because an unstable stance leads to erratic swings, while solid footing allows you to rotate smoothly.

Ensure your weight is evenly distributed on the balls of your feet at address and moves progressively to your front foot through impact.

Weight transfer, or shifting weight forward during the downswing, is crucial for maintaining balance and power.

Start by loading weight onto your back foot during the backswing, then smoothly shift to the front foot as your hips rotate toward the target.

This shift ensures your weight is forward at impact, giving you stability and a consistent path.

Optimizing Weight Transfer

Mastering weight transfer is key to developing a strong, accurate golf swing.

When done correctly, shifting weight ensures your downswing has both power and control, providing balance and consistency.

Shifting Weight from the Back Foot to the Arch/Heel for a Balanced Downswing

During the backswing, load weight onto your back foot to prepare for the powerful forward motion that drives the club through impact.

It's crucial that this weight isn't just held but balanced correctly to allow a smooth transition.

As you begin the downswing, initiate the movement with your hips while shifting weight toward your front foot.

The goal is to move the weight not just forward but specifically toward the arch or heel to encourage a more grounded, balanced stance.

When the weight shifts forward in this manner, it stabilizes your body, preventing excessive lateral movement and maintaining an inside-out club path.

Practice this movement by exaggerating the forward hip shift while keeping your shoulders quiet.

Gradually, your body will learn to synchronize hip rotation with the weight shift, making this movement second nature.

Tips for Ensuring Weight Is Forward at Impact

To make sure your weight is forward at impact, focus on specific checkpoints throughout the downswing.

First, keep your back knee flexed and driving toward the target as the hips rotate.

This helps keep the lower body engaged, leading the swing while allowing your upper body to follow naturally.

The rotation will draw your weight forward, letting the arms and club fall into the ideal slot for striking the ball.

Another useful tip is to practice the follow-through position.

At the end of the swing, most of your weight should be firmly on your front foot, with your back heel off the ground.

This finishing position helps reinforce the feeling of weight being forward, making it easier to repeat the process.

Additionally, practice drills like hitting shots off your front foot only or swinging without a club to enhance muscle memory.

These exercises encourage your body to initiate the downswing with proper weight transfer.

Proper Downswing Sequencing

A proper downswing sequence is essential for creating a powerful and accurate golf swing.

By leading with the hips while keeping the upper body in check, you can achieve a fluid and synchronized motion that naturally drops the club into the ideal inside-out path.

Understanding how to time this sequence can significantly reduce casting and other common errors that result in an over-the-top swing.

How to Lead with Hip Rotation Toward the Target

The key to a strong downswing is initiating movement with the lower body.

Once you reach the top of your backswing, start the downswing by rotating your hips toward the target.

This initial rotation of the hips creates a chain reaction where the torso, shoulders, and arms follow in sequence.

By prioritizing hip movement, you’re setting up the upper body and arms to naturally fall into an inside-out swing path.

The hips should begin to uncoil first, and as they rotate, they will pull the torso and shoulders, allowing the club to lag behind and creating a whipping effect for extra speed and power.

To practice leading with hip rotation, focus on drills that isolate this movement.

For instance, practice the lower body turn while holding a club across your shoulders to feel how the hips should initiate the motion without excessive upper-body involvement.

Developing a rhythmic hip rotation can lead to a repeatable downswing that consistently delivers a square clubface to the ball.

Tips for Maintaining a Slight Shoulder Rotation Delay to Avoid Casting

Casting is when the shoulders or arms rotate too early in the downswing, causing the club to approach the ball on an outside-in path, leading to slices or pulls.

To prevent this, maintain a slight delay in shoulder rotation by keeping your back facing the target a fraction longer as your hips rotate forward.

This delay creates the proper separation between lower and upper body movement, preventing the shoulders from overtaking and maintaining the club on the correct path.

Practice this separation by performing drills like the “pump drill,” where you take several partial swings from the top of your backswing to the halfway point of the downswing, focusing on hip rotation first while holding back the shoulder turn.

Another useful tip is to practice keeping your lead shoulder under your chin as long as possible.

This encourages your hips to lead and allows the arms to drop into the correct position before the shoulders engage fully.

Developing this timing will help you achieve a coordinated downswing sequence that improves accuracy and eliminates casting, allowing you to maximize distance and control.

Maintaining Proper Wrist Hinge

The proper wrist hinge during the golf swing is a critical factor for generating power, controlling the club path, and avoiding the dreaded over-the-top swing.

Keeping the wrists hinged until the last moment helps create the ideal lag and acceleration through impact, ensuring a powerful strike with minimal effort.

The Significance of Keeping Wrists Hinged Throughout the Downswing

A solid wrist hinge during the downswing means maintaining the angle formed between the forearm and the club shaft.

As the hips initiate rotation and the arms follow, the wrists should remain cocked until just before impact.

This hinge creates a lag, where the clubhead trails behind the hands, generating a buildup of energy that releases powerfully through the ball.

A well-maintained wrist hinge also aids in keeping the club on an inside-out path, helping to square the face at impact and deliver a consistent shot trajectory.

How Premature Release or Casting Causes an Over-the-Top Swing

When the wrists release too early in the downswing—a mistake known as casting—the clubhead moves forward, overtaking the hands prematurely.

This movement robs the swing of power by eliminating lag and forces the club to approach the ball on an outside-in path.

The result is an over-the-top swing that leads to slices, pulls, and a loss of distance.

Casting often happens when golfers are overly reliant on their upper body, starting the downswing with their shoulders rather than their hips.

This early rotation leaves little room for the arms to drop naturally, forcing the wrists to straighten before impact.

Training to Increase Wrist Flexion and Shallow the Club Path

Training the wrists to remain hinged requires drills that focus on increasing wrist flexion (cocking the wrists) and reinforcing the club path.

Practice swings where you exaggerate the wrist hinge and actively hold it longer into the downswing can build muscle memory.

The “pump drill” is particularly useful, where you bring the club back and forth from the top of the swing to halfway down repeatedly, emphasizing the wrist hinge and focusing on a smooth, shallow path.

Another helpful drill is the “lag drill,” where you hold the club at the top of your backswing and swing down slowly, pausing to feel your hips lead and wrists remain cocked.

Doing this at half speed will help you become aware of the proper sequencing and teach you to naturally release the hinge at the right moment.

Back Elbow and Shoulder Positioning

Achieving the proper positioning of the back elbow and front shoulder during your swing can significantly improve accuracy and consistency.

By keeping the back elbow tucked close to your side and positioning the front shoulder under your chin, you encourage an inside-out swing path and a more controlled release of the clubhead through impact.

How Keeping the Back Elbow Close to Your Side Affects the Downswing

Maintaining a tucked back elbow close to your side during the downswing is essential for achieving a strong, inside-out club path.

When the back elbow flares outward, it causes the club to swing outside the target line, leading to an over-the-top path that results in slices and loss of power.

By keeping the elbow tight to your ribcage as your hips rotate, the arms can drop into a natural slot, allowing the clubhead to follow an inside path toward the ball.

This positioning also reduces tension in the arms, letting them follow the hips smoothly through impact while ensuring that the clubface remains square.

Practicing drills like the “glove under arm” drill, where a glove or towel is placed under the back armpit, will reinforce the feeling of a tucked elbow.

If the glove falls out during your downswing, it means the elbow has strayed from your side.

Over time, this drill builds muscle memory for maintaining the correct positioning throughout your swing.

The Role of the Front Shoulder in Dropping Arms into the Correct Slot

The front shoulder plays a pivotal role in guiding the arms into the right slot.

As you begin the downswing, the front shoulder should remain under your chin, delaying shoulder rotation until the hips have initiated movement.

This slight delay in shoulder rotation ensures that the arms drop vertically into position rather than sweeping across the body, promoting an inside-out club path.

Additionally, keeping the front shoulder down and under the chin helps retain the spine angle established during the setup.

This angle stabilizes your head position, making it easier to track the ball and maintain focus during impact.

By keeping your front shoulder low and resisting the urge to open up too soon, your arms can fall naturally into the downswing slot, which encourages the clubhead to approach from a shallower, more desirable angle.

Drills and Tools for Developing a Proper Swing Path

Developing a reliable swing path requires consistent practice and an understanding of the drills and tools that reinforce the correct inside-out motion.

Using specific aids like alignment sticks and headcovers, and incorporating drills like the glove under arm technique, you can easily train your body to find the right path.

These exercises help ensure your clubface remains square at impact, providing the powerful and accurate strikes you desire.

Alignment Sticks: Laying Down Guides to Visualize the Inside-Out Swing Path

Alignment sticks are simple yet effective tools that help you visualize and align your swing path.

By laying the sticks parallel to your target line, you can clearly see the direction your club should travel to achieve the correct inside-out path.

Position one stick to represent the ball's target line and the other just outside it to form a visual track that helps guide your swing.

As you practice your shots, use the alignment sticks to check the direction of your clubhead and make adjustments as needed.

If your clubhead approaches from too far outside or inside, you will see a deviation from the parallel lines.

Over time, this practice reinforces the muscle memory needed for a consistent and straight swing path.

Glove Under Arm Drill: Using a Glove to Maintain the Correct Elbow Position

The glove under arm drill involves placing a glove or small towel under your back armpit while swinging.

The goal is to keep the glove securely in place by maintaining a tucked back elbow throughout the swing.

If the glove falls out during the downswing, it's a clear sign that the elbow is flaring outward, leading to an outside-in swing path.

Practicing this drill repeatedly encourages your back elbow to stay close to your body, which promotes an inside-out swing path.

Keeping the elbow tucked helps the arms naturally drop into the downswing slot, preventing the club from going over the top.

Impact Tape: Gauging Clubface Impact for Sweet Spot Consistency

Impact tape is an adhesive strip that golfers can place on their clubface to analyze where the ball makes contact.

Striking the ball on the sweet spot is critical for power and accuracy, and using impact tape shows you exactly where your shots are hitting.

Apply a strip of impact tape on your clubface before practice swings and examine the markings afterward to see the point of contact.

If your hits are consistently off-center, adjust your stance, ball position, or swing mechanics.

By practicing with impact tape regularly, you'll be able to improve the precision of your swing path and achieve better consistency.

Headcover Drill: Placing a Headcover Outside the Ball to Discourage Outside-In Swings

The headcover drill is designed to prevent the club from swinging outside-in during the downswing.

Place a headcover or other small object just outside the ball at address, ensuring that there's enough room to hit the ball cleanly but not enough space to allow an over-the-top swing.

When you take your backswing and initiate the downswing, keep the clubhead inside the headcover, striking the ball from the inside-out.

If your club hits the headcover, it's a sign that you are still swinging outside-in.

Practicing this drill helps train your body to approach the ball on the proper path, resulting in straighter, more controlled shots.

Shortening Your Backswing

A more compact backswing is key to preventing an over-the-top swing.

By shortening the swing, you create a controlled and efficient motion that maintains the club's path, leading to more accurate and consistent shots.

How a More Compact Backswing Reduces the Likelihood of Swinging Over the Top

When a golfer takes an overly long backswing, it becomes challenging to maintain control of the club’s path.

The excessive movement often leads to poor weight distribution and a misalignment of the club shaft, causing the golfer to compensate during the downswing.

This compensation frequently manifests as an over-the-top move, where the club approaches the ball from outside the intended swing path and leads to a slice or pull.

A compact backswing, on the other hand, limits excessive motion, keeping the club on a more efficient path.

When the club reaches only three-quarters of the way back or less, it’s easier to start the downswing with hip rotation and initiate the movement in the proper sequence.

This allows the club to drop into the inside-out slot without the golfer having to fight against misalignment.

The shorter backswing also improves weight transfer, ensuring that the golfer's weight is firmly on their front foot during impact, which provides a solid base for a square clubface.

Moreover, shortening the backswing helps golfers maintain a consistent tempo and rhythm.

By simplifying the swing motion, it becomes easier to develop repeatable timing, allowing the club to accelerate through the ball with speed and accuracy.

This not only prevents swinging over the top but also promotes better ball striking.

To practice a more compact backswing, try drills like the “half-swing” or “three-quarter swing” where you deliberately limit your backswing length.

Focus on maintaining a steady head position and ensure that your arms remain connected with your body throughout the motion.

Visualizing a shorter swing arc and swinging with intent but not overexertion will help engrain the movement, eventually becoming a natural part of your swing.


Correcting your over-the-top golf swing requires mastering proper weight transfer, downswing sequencing, and wrist hinge, along with maintaining the right elbow and shoulder positions.

Practice these drills consistently to develop a more compact and efficient swing path that promotes powerful, accurate strikes.

With patience and regular training, you'll soon see improvement in your control and overall golf game.