Jim Suttie: How to stop hitting from the top

I live on a golf course, so this gives me the opportunity to watch golfers as they tee off. I was amazed when I looked out the window and saw almost every golfer "hitting from the top" and finishing with their weight on their back foot.

Of the 62 golfers I saw go through, 47 of them finished off-balance on their back foot at the finish of their swing. To me, it looked like each one of them was accelerating their swing from the top with their hands and shoulders.

This hard and fast motion from the top caused each one of them to finish on their back leg at the finish. When this happens, the ball can go anywhere, but usually weak to the right.

Most golfers hit from the top because they are trying to use their strong hand, arm and shoulder to power the ball. Instead of hitting hard right from the top of your swing, try to allow your arms to leisurely fall down to the inside.

Less tension in your hands is a good start in the right direction to cure this "hitting from the top" motion. Also, a simple thought like finishing in balance with 100 percent of your weight on your front leg often helps.

I will often tell golfers just to try to finish in balance with their head over the front leg. That's right. Don't try to keep your head back too long as it won't allow your weight to transfer to your front leg.

After all, your head weighs a lot, and your balance will be directly affected where it is at the finish of your swing. Your head only has to be behind the ball at impact. After that, just allow it to rotate and come up.

At the finish of your swing, your head should be facing where you want to go. Try to hold your finish for three seconds. If you can't do this, you are swinging too hard and are probably too fast from the top of your swing.

If you try to keep your head back too long, you will end up with your weight back on your back leg. Also, there's a good chance that you will injure you back.

If you are one of those 47 golfers I saw who fire and fall back, try these simple tips:

(1) Relax your grip at address and keep it relaxed at the top.

(2) Think of swinging through an area instead of hitting at the ball.

(3) Slow down your transition from the top of your swing.

(4) Only swing at 80 percent of your full power.

(5) Hold your finish for three seconds without falling off balance. Allow the club to swing and quit muscling the ball, and you will be surprised at the result.

Dr. Jim Suttie, 2000 National PGA Teacher of the Year, is available for lessons at Suttie Golf at the Club at Twin Eagles North Naples and Cog Hill Golf Club, Lemont, Ill. For lessons and program information call 800-765-3838 or Jmsuttie@aol.com

© 2012 Naples Daily News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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