How hard do you swing?

In my normal swing, by nature I go after it pretty hard, maybe 90-95% of max effort. Been doing a lot of off-season strength and flexibility work, and from the couple times I have played on a simulator, I have definitely picked up some significant distance.

But I have been battling a hook, especially with the longer clubs. Have been working with my instructor to take my right hand out of it, and focus more on pulling with the left. But this hasn’t really tamed the hook.

Happened to watch a Shawn Clement video on GolfWRX where he was taking full driver swings and just trying to hit it 175 yards, and of course the ball would go much further. I was at the range today and hitting some nasty hooks, and remembered this video, so I started hitting some drivers with what felt like 65% effort, and I was striping it. Sure, it was a little less distance, but it made an incredible difference in accuracy.
Need to get on a Trackman to see what the difference is in swing speed and distance.

Just wondering for anyone else, what % of full effort do you swing? Maybe, I’ve just been swinging too hard all along.


I think this is a wonderful use of a simulator… hard to get the comparable numbers on the range.

How hard do you swing is an interesting question, and one I want to find my own answer to.

One of my goals this season is to work on how various swings “feel”… and 100% vs 90% vs 80%. For me, Im usually trying to swing at 90 percent… j have more speed in the tank for certain shots, and can dial back off it some if needed… how those feels translate into speed is a different question entirely and one worth figuring out.

If my 80% swing is less the 10% slower than my 90% swing (or really the ball speed number doesn’t drop significantly) then I’d be crazy not to work on developing that swing.

I’m really curious to see how various swing “feels” change my dispersion… this is on my test list for simulators!

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I don’t swing hard. I swing fast.


What is the difference, in your perspective?

Controlled speed means hitting the center of the club face and keeping it on line.

Swinging hard generally creates off center hits and less control of the club face.

A controlled 115 mph swing struck in the center of the face will give you 315 down the middle.

A wild 120 mph swing will give you a whip hook into someone’s kitchen or a slice into a pond two holes over - and likely 40-50 yards shorter.


Unless you catch it flush… then it’s just a strut down the middle of the fairway :cowboy_hat_face:

I’ll take 75% chance of a well struck ball versus 15% on a wild forced hard swing.

A lot of guys swing really hard and shoot a lot of scores in the 90s.

To give a real answer, on my irons I’m swinging 80-85% and rarely any more than that. Driver is 95%. Once in a while really gear it up to 100% depending on situation and how the swing is feeling (or if I doubled the hole before).


I was mostly joking, though I’ve definitely been the guy who rips it past everyone every 5th hole (and is in the woods the other 4).

I actually worked pretty hard last year to get my swing under control… it was a combination of things, but not trying to kill it was definitely a part of that! (Mechanics were a bigger part, but those are helped by being in the 80-90% range).

I’m actaully really curious to get a data set built on my swing… just a number of swing where I think I’m swinging 80, 90 and 100 and seeing the speed differences.


“I’m actaully really curious to get a data set built on my swing… just a number of swing where I think I’m swinging 80, 90 and 100 and seeing the speed differences.“

Do this. 100% do this.

BUT, pay attention to face at impact, path, and off center hits for each one. Don’t just look at speed.

Knowing speeds for gearing up and down is great. Knowing the effect it has on your overall swing is invaluable.

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I haven’t gotten to play with our simulator setup, and it might take some tinkering, but I’m hoping I can build an interesting data set that’s great for me and useful for others (more explaining the concepts I’m working on).

I believe that simulators offer us an easy way to generate a ton of actionable data… and I’ll have unlimited access to one in two weeks.

Im very curious to see what I can build out and if it can be correlated to on course improvements.

I’ll hopefully have a good correlation between how hard I swing and how fast I swing then.

Probably swing with what feels like 80% effort with wedges/short irons, and closer to 95% with driver.

Worth noting that my 80% effort swing probably produces 95% of the CHS that my 100% effort swing does.

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Typically 90-95% in calm conditions and max when it’s wide. Also prefer to swing closer to full with less club downwind and no more than 85-90% into the wind to keep spin down. The % though is really just a feel, guessing not that much slower and may be similar speed with different launch angle and different feel


I’m really interested in how you physically swing fast vs hard, whether it’s conscious or subconscious. I’ve always thought I’ve swung too hard as every round of golf my body aches, particularly my back, and feels like I’ve completed a 10mile off-road assault course. I’ve never felt I could play 36holes in a day. That’s not right. Golf should not be that physical.


Yeah, that sounds like you are overly aggressive!

A helpful change that I made was basically focusing on my “big muscles” making the swing… I try to make it feel like my legs and hips are pulling my arms through. That helped me get fast without feeling like I was swinging hard.


Very good question. For me it starts with balance. I have to feel firm and set before I take my backswing. It helps me use the ground to create power. I like to feel like I’m squishing a bug under my left foot (as a righty) as I start my downswing.
I also have a lag free golf swing. You always hear people talk about lag, but so many times the result of people trying to create lag is them breaking their wrists too early - and that’s a HUGE power drain from the golf swing. Releasing at the top bad. Releasing at impact good.
Keep grip pressure consistent in both hands on the down swing.
Stay balanced. Finish tall.

Watch guys like Rory or Finau or Cam Champ. They don’t look like they’re swinging hard, but they pound the ball. It’s because the fundamentals are there and speed is natural when in sync.


Too hard! I tend towards the “powerless effort” swing all too often. Many times I will try to swing too hard…just in case I hit something…but other times I try to be too smooth and make things worse. I think I remember Nicklaus saying you should always be “crisp” which resonates with me.

I was playing around with my new PRGR monitor and I could easily see results even though I couldn’t always feel it. I was swinging a 6 iron decently despite winter rust, but as I went to longer clubs things got worse. I was generating the same speed with the 6i as I was with a 3 utility. Then I got serious and made sure I was turning instead of swaying and not overswinging and all of sudden the SS jumped up significantly.

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It’s funny, I swear my swing goes in cycles…

  1. 80%. Smooth swing, decent power… Just everything moving in synch.
  2. 85%… I’ve been doing 1 well… feeling good, lets hit the ball a little farther.
  3. 90%… 2 has been working OK. Let’s hit a PW 150 yards.
  4. 95%… I’ve gotten away with 2 a couple of times… I’ll mostly be in 90% range but really try to step on one occassionally
  5. 9 iron goes 70 yard cold shank into the water… Return to 1.

How quickly I cycle between those is a different story… sometimes it’s weeks, sometimes it’s days… sometimes it’s 5 swings.


This reminds me of a lesson I had a good long while ago. I was making a few changes under the guidance of the pro, and all was working well. So I hit a nice one, and he say “That was really good. Do you wan to hit the next one better?” And of course I say I definitely want to hit the next one better. His response was “Wrong answer. Hit every shot the rest of your life just like that, and you’ll be fine”. Its not easy to do, but I try to hit every shot the same.
How hard? I generally try to swing as fast as I can while maintaining full control (or what passes for me as full control). That generally means using proper mechanics and sequencing. When I try to go faster, it “feels” like swinging hard, instead of fast. To me that means I’m trying to use muscles instead of mechanics and sequencing, and that isn’t productive.


A decent drill/tip I was taught by a PGA tour pro (Phil Blackmar) I played with once back in the 80’s was this. Tee up a ball in the middle of your stance, like you’re gonna pound it, then bring your feet completely together. Bend your knees, rotate and swing the club as fast as you can keeping your feet together and hitting the ball without falling off balance or on your face as it was in my case. That’s as fast (or hard) as you should swing the club. Do that drill a few times and you will find your answer as everyone is different and from there you will adjust upwards as your true balance will improve over time.