Have you ever had someone tell you that your golf swing was too long? Chances are they were right!
So many amateur golfers take the club back much further than needed. This ends up causing issues with accuracy and balance that doesn’t need to be a problem.
Since taking the golf club back this far is not necessary, here are some tips to help shorten your swing and get everything under control.
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Who Should Shorten Their Golf Swing?
Golfers should shorter their golf swing if they are swinging past parallel, losing accuracy, or feeling like they are unable to be consistent in their golf shots. Taking the club back too far does not help you play better.
In fact, if you want to increase swing speed and hit more consistent golf shots, a shorter swing is typically the better choice.
It does not matter if you are a low or high handicap player; golf swing length should never go past parallel. Of course, you have seen golfers like John Daly make a career out of swinging the club too long; this takes a lot of athletic ability.
My favorite way to think about this is to consider the clubface of the golf club. Think about taking the golf club back about five inches; wouldn’t it be pretty easy to keep the clubface square?
Now consider taking it back to waist-high. Still not that difficult to keep the clubface square.
You can probably tell where I’m going with this. The further you take the club back away from the ball, the harder it is to return it to square. You may be able to do it several times but to do it over and over again and get consistent results is much harder than it needs to be.
Keeping the golf club in control is the key to seeing more consistent scores on the golf course.
How to Tell If Your Backswing is Too Long
The best way to tell if your backswing is too long is to take a video of it. There are so many great ways to record a golf swing, and this can be as simple as using your phone and the help of a friend.
When you take the video, the easiest way to do this is to do a forward facing video. This means that the person recording stands face to face with you as you set up to hit.
Once you have the video, play it in slow motion until you reach the top of your golf swing. Just when you start to make the transition to the downswing, take a look at where the golf club is.
If the club is past parallel to the ground, you have taken it back too far.
4 Tips to Shorten Your Golf Swing
Now that you can identify how far back a golf swing should go and why it’s important not to overdo this motion, it’s time to shorter your golf swing. Here are some of my favorite ways to go about this process. You will be glad you decided to shorten your swing; it should make the game of golf considerably easier.
1. Start With a Chip Shot
One of the best ways to start taking shorter golf swings is to start by taking a chip shot. The chip shot is really just a shorter version of the full swing. When you take a short chip shot, you can focus on keeping the swing a bit more in check.
Once you have the chip shot down, start by increasing the length of your backswing. Maybe take the club to about ¾ distance as you would normally do to hit a pitch shot.
After you have increased to that ¾ distance, then extend it just a bit more to get to the top of your golf swing. Essentially you will find that this shorter swing feels almost like a pitch shot for quite some time.
However, when you see that your clubhead speed is increasing and your tendency to lose balance is decreasing, you may see the benefit of this pitch shot type swing and start to incorporate it into your golf game.
2. Use a Mirror
Using a mirror to practice is a great way to shorten your golf swing. You can use a number of drills that help you look up and see where the club is.
Sometimes when I practice something like this, I will use a dry-erase marker on the mirror to create the line that I want to swing back to. The tendency for many golfers when taking too big of a swing is to lose their spine angle as well.
It makes sense to make a mark on the mirror where you will want to ensure your head stays. This way, when you look up at the top of the swing, you can see if you are actually in a good position.
Keep practicing this so that you are able to repeat it without looking at the mirror. Many golf practice facilities have a mirror like this for you to use, but you can do it at home as well if you can create the setup indoors.
3. Stop and Look Drill
The Stop and Look drill is not always the most effective from a feedback standpoint, but it’s certainly what I have used to get through almost all swing flaws in my golf career. When we swing a golf club back, we can’t see how far it went.
Therefore it sometimes makes sense to take a peak and see where everything is.
When I’m working on something, I will step away from the golf ball, take my swing and then look and see the position of the club. I can check for things like clubface angle, the rotation of my shoulders, and especially the length of my golf swing.
The stop and look drill is made even better when you have a mirror to work with, but it certainly works without.
When the turn is efficient, and you are not taking the club back too far, you can then step up to the ball and try to repeat the motion you just made. I know this is not the most high-tech way to learn the game of golf, but it has always worked quite well.
This process works with any club. If you don’t have the money for training aids and devices to create a shorter swing, this drill will create muscle memory and start to train your brain to what a perfect length golf swing is.
4. Find a Stopping Point
As much as I like these other 3 tips to help you shorten your golf swing, many golfers complain that they still have no idea where the golf club is. For beginner golfers and some amateurs, the concept of where the golf club is at any given time can be a bit foreign.
Luckily, there are ways around this.
If you can find a stopping point on your backswing, chances are you can stop the swing at the correct point. For me, this stopping point is when my shoulder has rotated under my chin. Once I feel that shoulder gets into place, I know my golf swing is done.
From a feel standpoint, this still does feel like the club has not even reached the top of the swing. However, we know from momentum and the way the golf swing tricks us that the club has very much reached the parallel position.
Years ago, I had the misconception that a long backswing would help me get more power. After years of practicing and working on this concept, I have finally learned that a shorter swing leads to better results all around.