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.Here's a pic to see to further explain this.
So, if Tiger swings the club on that yellow line in the backswing and then on the downswing gets above (or 'over') the yellow line that would be 'over the top.'
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.
That's why I think there needs to be a defining of 'over the top' vs. 'swinging left.' One is bad and one is good, we need to figure out WHY one is bad and one is good.
One of Brian's Academy staff members, Jim Kobylinski mentioned that he thought 'over the top' was when a golfer swings too far left to hit a straight shot. I like the idea of this as well. However, I think there's a difference between coming over the top and swinging left and hitting a nice controlled fade. Again, one is bad and one is good...why is that?
After speaking at length with John Dochety (aka Lake1926), some things started to make more sense and this definition of 'swinging left' by Manzella holds some of the differences:
(Swinging Left) Simply means the club swings left pass impact because of the D-Plane requirements on a full shot off of the turf is for the HSP or Plane Line to be left of the target and the club will SWING LEFT IMMEDIATELY AFTER IMPACT!!!!So, the club has to swing left after impact. But the same could be said with coming over the top.
After speaking with John, my thoughts are that the dreaded over the top move is:
1. A golfer who swings the club left by using their hands and arms to swing the club towards the left.
2. That causes the golfer to get the clubhead outside the target line before impact.
3. That causes the golfer to essentially swing the club too far to the left.
So, let's say you're on a 60* Vertical Swing Plane, your clubface is at 0.0* at impact and your attack angle is -4*, the over the top move would see something like the club swinging 8* to the left instead of more at 2* to the left so the golfer can hit it dead straight or something that is a controllable fade.
Then what is swinging left?
Well, here's a diagram:
IMO, properly swinging left is:
1. A golfer who swings the club left by using their pivot to swing the club towards the left.
2. That causes the golfer to not get the clubhead outside the target line before impact.
3. That causes the golfer to essentially swing the club properly to the left in order to hit it dead straight or with a controllable fade.
As you can see in the 'swinging left' diagram, the clubhead doesn't get outside the target line, but after impact it is working hard to the left.
Because the golfer is moving the plane line to the left (or 'swinging left') by using their pivot.
So if a golfer who uses their pivot to move the plane line left and let's say they have a 60* VSP a square clubface and an attack angle of -4*, they may swing left by 3*. That's too much to hit a ball *dead straight*, but still well done to hit a nice, powerful and accurate fade.
And before anybody asks, this does apply to hitters. Hitters have to pivot well, too.