The most consistent shot hit by golfers today is the topped ball. When they make this error, the most consistent comments in golf follow: "You picked your head up" and "Keep your head down." This is all very well and good except that it doesn't quite explain to the golfer why it is he raises his head when he is concentrating for all he is worth on keeping it down.
Assuming the golfer is standing the correct distance from the ball at address, there are only two reasons for a topped ball: 1) hitting with the left arm bent; 2) straightening up from the waist before impact. In this latter connection, when a golfer straightens up too soon instead of staying down and over the ball as he hits through the ball, the head moves up along with the chest and shoulders.
To overcome topping, first make sure that you are not standing too far away from the ball at address. Secondly, on the back-swing keep the clubhead low along the ground as you take it back. Keeping the arms low helps keep the upper part of the body in its proper position.
Then, on the downswing, hit the ball with your left arm straight and fully extended.
January 20, 1958
from TERLE JOHNSON DuPont CC, Wilmington, Del.
NEXT WEEK: BILLY BURKE ON THE LEFT HAND IN CHIPPING