I believe that anyone who's slicing the ball or pulling the ball is probably swinging over the top. We've discussed this previously, however, I think it's worth revisiting it from a different perspective.
Since there's several reasons for swinging over the top, I wanted to talk about one particular thing that seems to be more common than one would think. That is, swinging scared or holding onto the club too long.
If you don't have confidence in your swing, anything can happen. Maybe there's water on the left or out of bounds on the right. It could even be the first tee jitters. Whatever the reason, if you're scared to swing, it can be extremely difficult to swing the club fluidly. You get to the top of the swing and freeze. I don't think I have to tell you that tension in the golf swing ruins everything. Even if you're not scared or nervous about a particular thing, that doesn't mean you're not scared. It could be as simple as not knowing where the ball is going. If you don't know where the ball is going you can't help but try to steer it or do something out of the ordinary.
So, what does all this mean? Well, if you are swinging scared you will hold on to the club too long on the way down. If you do that, guess what happens? Since you're holding on and scared to release the club, your shoulders will come around in a classic over the top move leaving the club way too high. The club finally swings down outside the ideal path and cuts across the ball ending up with a pull or slice depending on the face of the club. More often than not you will most likely slice the ball. Sensing that, the next time you swing, you'll still hold on, but this time you'll release the wrists quickly through the ball and pull it. Sound familiar?
Ok, here's a solution or swing thought that may help. In Jack Nicklaus's book I remember him mentioning that you can not release the club too fast, as long as you are moving onto your left side, coming down. Let me repeat, you can't release the club too fast as long as you have moved to your left side. Keep that thought in mind when you're out on the course. As soon as your lower body starts the down swing, your arms must pull the club down and under your head while your hands release the club, but this has to happen before your shoulders turn past the address position. If your shoulders turn past the point of where they were in the address position before the ball is struck, you have swung over the top, period. This is not a cure all, but it will get you moving in the right direction.
Mulligan's Corner: New Smyrna Municipal Golf Course has some great rates for May. All rates include cart & tax. From 7 a.m. to noon $35, walk $23. After noon to 3 p.m. $25, walk $23. After 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. $17, walk $14. After 5 p.m.-until dark $15, walk $10. Call for tee times (386) 424-2192.
Sal Martignetti is an independent golf instructor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (603) 986-3376. His free e-book is available at elusivegolfswing.weebly.com.