Private Lessons: Swing shorter for more yards

October 17, 2017

Today’s longest hitters—DJ, Bubba, Phil—tend to swing the club past parallel at the top of the backswing. But that doesn’t mean it’s the best technique for a weekend golfer, who tends to be far less flexible than a pro. Nor is it the path to power. In fact, you would probably hit it farther if you shortened your arm swing—overswinging only leads to weaker drives and fewer fairways hit.

The problem with overswinging is that it can force a golfer out of his address posture, leading to an early release of the hands; this saps power and creates a poor impact position. So think “short” to go long. Here’s how.


Your backswing is done once your left shoulder passes the ball and your weight has loaded into your right thigh and right foot. That’s plenty of turn! Your arms should be extended, with the shaft short of parallel and pointing left of your target (viewed from behind). Hit these checkpoints for an on-plane swing that’s primed to deliver the clubhead on a powerful, inside-out swing path.

Swinging past parallel at the top (above, left) is okay for the pros, but it can hurt the posture of weekend golfers—the hands release too soon (above, right), robbing you of power.

To shorten your backswing, load your weight into your right foot and thigh (above, left). Your address posture will remain intact, letting you unwind into impact in a perfect, powerful sequence (above, right).


Hold your driver with your right hand on the hosel and your left hand on the grip (above). With arms extended, turn as far as you comfortably can while maintaining your address posture and spine angle (below left), then stop. Slide your right hand down to take your normal grip (below right). That’s the perfect-length backswing for you!