It’s always been a major battle, distance vs. control… the players that have some degree of both dominate the tour. In most cases however, the long ball hitters lack the control and consistency of the shorter hitters. Lately we have been seeing a different trend, which allows for players to hit the ball a mile, while having a compact and controlled swing.
Using J.B Holmes for example, has been a the top of PGA tour average driving distance list, and has a very short and compact swing, which makes his swing more consistent and repeatable. The truth is, as long as you can make a full shoulder turn and fully cock your wrists, there is no reason why your swing needs to be longer than 10 o’clock (well shy of parallel).
The average player can really benefit from a shortened swing as this helps to increase the total stability of the golf swing. With fewer movements, the swing becomes a lot simpler to perform and harder to screw up. An elongated backswing tends to force some players to lift their front heel off the ground… which means, your it has to be replaced on the downswing often wreaking havoc with contact. Furthermore, a longer backswing tends to force your body weight to creep to the outside of your trailing foot – which decreases the stability of your lower body and increases the chances of an unwanted hip slide.
Simple creates repeatability. When working on shortening your backswing, it helps to have a friend let you know at what point your club is actually stopping. It’s rarely where you think. Practice shortening your swing with a short iron and focus on keeping a consistent tempo… quite often I see my students rush their downswing when they try and shorten things up.
The next time you hit up the range, remember this tip, shorten your swing while keeping a full wrist cock and shoulder turn – and you should see a dramatic increase on your distance and consistency.