This throwback tip reveals a consistency key to a long, powerful backswing

Louise Suggs had one of the longest, most powerful golf swings in LPGA Tour history, and there's still a lot we can learn from it.

Getty Images

Generally speaking, a longer golf swing means longer drives, but there are a few caveats. The most important among them: Your golf swing can’t be long because you cheat your turn, and collapse your arms. It’s something Bernard Langer mentioned when we talked with him recently. Long swings are good — but only if that length is the result of a big turn.

Louise Suggs provides a perfect example.

In this clip from 1954, Memphis Country Club pro Pat Abbott explains by breaking down Suggs’ golf swing for one of his students.

“The first thing you notice about her swing is its length. She gets there by using far more body turn than the average man, and her wrist action isn’t as restricted,” he says. “At the top of her swing, however, she doesn’t lose control of the club.”

That last point is a key one, and he hones-in on it in more detail when he pulls up a video of his student alongside Suggs’ move.

Notice how his student on the right technically has a longer golf swing, even though her shoulders don’t turn as much as Suggs?

The student on the right has lost control of the club; Suggs has a long swing but has kept the club in control. Getty Images

That’s because, as he explains, his student on the right has let the club slip from her hands slightly. That loss of control makes her golf swing artificially longer than it actually is. In reality, she’s cheating her turn.

Notice how the student’s hand is coming off of the club on the right. Getty Images

GOLF Top 100 Teacher Boyd Summerhays wrote an article for GOLF Magazine recently about a useful swing thought that can help with this: Making sure your trail hand covers your trail thumb, so you keep turning while keeping the club in control.

Apply pressure to your lead thumb with the palm of your trail hand. GOLF Magazine

Luke Kerr-Dineen Contributor

Luke Kerr-Dineen is the Game Improvement Editor at GOLF Magazine and In his role he oversees the brand’s game improvement content spanning instruction, equipment, health and fitness, across all of GOLF’s multimedia platforms.

An alumni of the International Junior Golf Academy and the University of South Carolina–Beaufort golf team, where he helped them to No. 1 in the national NAIA rankings, Luke moved to New York in 2012 to pursue his Masters degree in Journalism from Columbia University. His work has also appeared in USA Today, Golf Digest, Newsweek and The Daily Beast.