Punta Mita Golf: Over-the-Top Cures

Tom F. Stickney II is the Director of Instruction and Business Development at Punta Mita, in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Punta Mita is a 1,500-acre golf and beach resort located 45 minutes from Puerto Vallarta on a beautiful peninsula surrounded by the Bay of Banderas on three sides. Amenities include two Nicklaus Signature golf courses with 14 holes directly on the water, a golf academy, four private beach clubs, a Four Seasons Hotel, a St. Regis Hotel, as well as multiple private villas and homesites available. Read on to learn about one of the most common problems in golf.

The most common problem in golf is when the player comes “over the top” or transitions the club shaft over the top of where it started at address giving us the dreaded out to in golf swing.  Whenever this happens, you are left to hit big pulls or slices into right field. Here is a simple way that you can avoid this issue with another downswing thought:

Control your Center of Gravity  https://youtu.be/5gdf4WpAjns

When you get to the top, your center of gravity shifts your rear foot for most players. From there, the key is to allow the CG to move into your forward toe so the rear shoulder can lower during the transition.  Whenever the CG fish-hooks into the forward heel during the transition your rear shoulder will tend to come out and over.  Control where your center of gravity goes from the top, and you will never come over the top again.

Bump the Hips into Right Field https://youtu.be/Tuqc8jCMoyE

There is common misconception that the hips spin right from the beginning of the downswing. When this occurs, the rear shoulder is thrust out and over, thus forcing you to swing from out to in. Think about it: the top your hips are pointing to the right of your target. If you bump them into right-field to begin the downswing, you will find that the rear shoulder will lower automatically making over the top a thing of the past.

Flatten the Shaft https://youtu.be/iyWt-zx6WHc

If you remember the transitional motions of Nick Faldo, you will notice a distinct “flattening of the shaft” from the top. This motion is best described as allowing the clubhead to fall behind the hands, the butt of the club will point just outside the ball, and the entire club will feel heavy from the start of the downswing.  Whenever you come over the top, the clubshaft will steepen and it will get lighter…that’s a bad feeling from the top!

Control the Rear Shoulder https://youtu.be/73XWeNz1fvs

The correct motion of the rear shoulder in the downswing is downward and outward. In fact, the rear shoulder works downward for the first one-fourth of the downswing allowing the club to fall downwards to the inside and three-fourths outward to bring the clubshaft and clubhead into impact.  Over the toppers have this reversed. When the rear shoulder moves outwards to begin the downswing, you will have path issues and directional control issues. To combat this, think about the down and out motion of the rear shoulder.

For more information regarding Punta Mita, golf outings, golf schools and private lessons, e-mail tom.stickney@puntamita.com.

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