The biggest cause of mis-hits in golf is a result of an over-the-top downswing.

A golfer is said to be swinging over-the-top when the arms are swung down in a circular motion away from the body from the top of the backswing. The arms come down across the ball from an ‘outside’ direction (instead of from the ‘inside’), and the club thus takes an out-to-in swing path approaching the ball.

The ten conditions for an over-the-top-downswing

The following are an exhaustive list of all causes for an over-the-top downswing, and either one, or a combination of some of them, will result in a mis-hit.

(Unless a golfer has the superb athleticism and timing required to bring the club back to the ball from a shallow and inside angle despite a biomechanically poor backswing)

The right fore-arm being nearer the target line than the right upper-arm (what could be termed a ‘baseballer’s arm’)
The right wrist flexing (bending on a plane perpendicular to the right forearm) – many golfers commence their backswings with this move. This early bend results in the right elbow pointing behind the golfer’s back, in a ‘chicken-wing’ position
The backswing starting ‘out’ – away from the body, before continuing ‘in’ – behind the body, which results in a body-arm disconnection
The backswing being so short that there is not enough ‘potential energy’ for gravity alone to pull the club down and past the ball
The backswing being narrow, as a result of early wrist cock or elbow fold
The shoulders being tense and elevated
The right upper-arm, being picked up more than 90° away from the right side of the body, at the top of the backswing
The body getting out of posture or twisting or swaying during the swing
The shoulders, by the end of the backswing, not being rotated 90º away from their position at address
The left arm twisting (pronating) during the backswing, resulting in a club shaft which is almost horizontal and thus out-of-balance


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