To all toppers:

Topping the ball is caused by hitting the ball on the upstroke - I know that is the obvious. A couple of suggestions.

Relax, swing easier, the ball won't go forever like you want it to, but it will go farther than how you are currently hitting it.

Reasons for topping: ball too forward in stance - even a half ball width will cause topping. Swinging too hard, which can cause you to go off plane in the downswing as you try to kill the ball. Stiff arms not necessary - golf is a game of relaxed arms. A strangle hold grip is bad for the swing --also relax your grip a little, let the wrists flex. When set up, don't overreach for the ball, your swing can shorten just as easily as it could get a little longer.

Take practice swings like the big guys do. Use you normal stance, see where in your stance the club is making contact. That is where you want to place the ball to start with, and 99.9% of the time it is the correct spot.

Center yourself. Excluding the driver, there is no reason to sway back and forth with the upper body. You can even keep the majority of your weight on the front foot and still hit the ball very well, and that is what I recommend for all who do not regularly break par -- which is almost all of us.

Swing with a "rounded" swing, you are not chopping wood. The swing is an arc with a low spot - which is where the ball should be.

Experiment, experiment -- preferably at the range -- or on a quiet course play 2 ball.

Bobby also suggests - and correctly so -- make sure you are bent correctly at the waist. Too much or too little results in topping or chunking.

John