Over-The-Top And Casting
All pictures were taken at Ocean Trails Golf Club, which is now Trump National Golf Club Los Angeles, in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.
Over-the-top and casting (they go hand in hand) are the most common manipulations used by amateurs. In the simplest of terms, the golfer is "releasing" the club at the beginning of the forward swing instead of delaying the release until the club gets near the ball. In other words, the hands get active and try to square the clubface way too early!
Notice the two arcs I have drawn in the first picture. The vertical arc to the left (marked with the "x") is the path the club would take if it could follow the direction of the shaft (the existing swing plane). Obviously this doesn't work because my swing would be near my feet, not out at the ball, so something has to change in order to swing forward from here. There are two options, one is to flatten the shaft, which is what good players do, or the clubhead can get thrown out and over (the other arc).
Solving over-the-top is a big challenge. Learning how to release later in the forward swing is basically learning a completely different golf swing, but if you want to try it, here is what you do.
Not only do you have to stop closing early, you have to do the opposite by rotating open as you begin forward. This flattens the plane and orients the swing out toward the ball. It is accomplished by rotating the arms slightly clockwise, the opposite of what happens with over-the-top. The club should be behind your back. This will feel very awkward and you will have no idea how to hit a ball while doing this so be prepared to feel like a beginner! I recommend many slow motion swings and half swings from a late release position.
The second picture is showing what is commonly referred to as "casting", which is the early uncocking of the wrists during the forward swing. Had I started forward with a correct swing plane (flatter, which is more open), my wrists would have remained cocked. Rather than go into details, suffice it to say that casting happens in conjunction with coming over-the-top and there is little you can do about it until you get the shaft in a better plane (more open).
One last item. Do you see how my right arm is higher than my left in both of these pictures? This is horrible, but if you learn to get open it will disappear quickly. Try an experiment: as you swing forward in slow motion, rotate both arms clockwise and see what happens to your right arm (and the club).
Casey Eberting Golf Instruction
River Club of Mequon
12400 N Ville du Parc Dr
Mequon (Milwaukee), Wisconsin 53092
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