Many golfers have problems with over-swinging or taking too long on a backswing. It’s true that there are a few golfers out there that have an over-swing and still perform at the highest level, like pro John Daly. But in general, over-swinging is something you should try to avoid, as it can lead to many different wayward shots and inconsistencies.
Over-swinging can present many different issues. The main thing to look out for is not taking the club shaft beyond the point at which it is parallel to the ground at the top of your backswing. If the club goes beyond this, you are over-swinging. It’s contrary to what you’d think. Swinging harder should make you hit the ball further. However, in most cases this isn’t true because swinging harder usually causes your swing to be mis-timed and off-balance. Thus, you’d get more distance out of a drive that was 75% and smooth than you would out of an out-of-sync drive that you try and rip with everything you’ve got.
Let’s look at the causes of over-swinging. The main cause is that the body and club are out of sync. So, on the downswing, it will take a lot of compensating to enable the golfer to get consistent contact with the golf ball. These movements let the club go too far on the backswing. Even a bend in the elbows can come from this, causing an even more exaggerated over-swing.
How to tell if you’re over-swinging
- Make sure you can see the ball with both eyes. If you can’t see the ball with both eyes then your head has moved. Your head should be as still as possible throughout the swing. To check this, close your left eye (for right-handed golfers) and make a backswing. Make sure you can see the ball with your open eye — the one furthest from the target.
- Check that your weight is on the inside of your foot furthest from the target. Make sure you still leave some flex in the knee, that it hasn’t twisted and doesn’t point outside of your foot.
- Your spine angle should maintain throughout your backswing. You want to keep the spine angle you started with, so remember to turn your upper body and shoulders around your spine. Your spine angle should not be tilted towards your target.
- Your left arm (for right-handed golfers) should be straight. It doesn’t need to be tense, just don’t let it collapse. If you collapse your arm, your over-swing will be even more exaggerated and it can cause all kinds of problems, like pulls, hooks, etc.
- Make sure your grip and hands are in control of the club. Your grip should stay consistent throughout the swing. Like your arm and elbows, don’t let your grip collapse at the top of the swing. Think of a waiter holding a tray in the air with your right hand. Keep that angle at the top of your swing.
The key to these positions is to not over-rotate. You don’t want all the parts of your body over-turning or to be out of sync. Keep the thoughts of turning around your spine angle, keeping your arm from collapsing and your leg from twisting. A solid base and good rotation around your spine is key to not over-swinging.
— Joseph Mills