The famed and dreaded OTT
Never realized until I heard a ‘formal’ description of Over-the-Top by Greg Rose of Titleist Performance Institute at the March 2012 World Scientific Congress of Golf that there are at least 12 different definitions of the phenomenon! The typical OTT definition is of the clubshaft being over - in normal language higher - than the shaft-shoulder plane cone during the downswing (when seen from down-the-target-line). The TPI definition for the shaft to NOT be over-the-top may be seen when the lead arm is approximately horizontal, during the downswing. At this stage the shaft should be under the shaft plane, and maybe form a parallel line to it. So, if the above definitions make two, thought searching for a couple more of the dirty dozen, just to look for any differences, might be fun. One of the first google results was this blog: 3jack.blogspot.com/2010/01/swinging-left-vs-coming-over-the-top.html
and the blog’s author’s first quote was a reply to his question on the subject of OTT by Brian Manzella: “I thought Brian did a pretty good job giving a simple explanation of 'over the top': Simply means the downswing starts OVER THE TOP of the backswing plane.” The author then continued, “However, I don't think I'm quite satisfied with that definition because I do believe an OTT swing is a bad thing, but this definition leaves it so the golfer can come over the top and be just fine.” Finally he stated, “....there is a thread that I started trying to generate a definition in the difference between 'swinging left' and 'coming over the top.' After some thought and deliberation, along with asking some sharp golf minds, I think I have a pretty good definition between the two”. So, check out more from the two D-Plane experts mentioned above. Or read on if you believe D-Plane is too complex and too un-necessary to wish know more about. (For the Minimalist Golf Swing it truly is, because MGS is very simplistic and always forces an ideal clubpath, angle of approach and face angle along with maximum possible speed, so why bother with paths and angles which may be less than ideal!). The MGS method simply places the body into positions at the top from which it cannot help but drop down to impact in order to present the club to the ball ‘from the inside’, ie FTI. Regardless of how people define OTT, I’m sure all will agree that if a club swings FTI it can never be OTT! So, my simplistic description of OTT is one in which the right shoulder-arm complex or even the right thigh move forward, and maybe downward, at the start of the downswing (ie. before the lower body can commence the downswing). This body movement in turn will always cause the club to arrive at the ball steeply and out-to-in, and thus swing path and angle of approach are inevitably linked. In the ‘good old days’ (before the discovery of shaft/shoulder planes) OTT meant coming over the top - of the ball! And guess what? Does MGS care about OTT or early-release/casting? Not in the least, because neither evil can take place with MGS. Why worry about bad shots when one can always make ideal shots. For the disbelievers who’re about to ask, “what about when I need to pull the ball”. The simple answer to that is, why on earth would anyone EVER wish to pull a ball? Why not simply aim left and hit it straight? Who ever decided to name 9 ball-flights did the world a dis-service. The pull-group (pull, pull-slice, pull-hook) are so senseless that we may as well add shank and top to the list if we wish to name all possible ball-flights!
The reason the pull-group makes no sense is because those shots are only ever caused by incorrect body-sequencing, that is by OTT as defined here. OTT, incidentally, is also the cause of most golf injury, but that’s a story for another day.