How hard do you swing?

Reviewed my new, smoother, less-effort swing with my coach tonight, and for once, a self-diagnosed problem and a self-prescribed solution were actually correct. Maybe a few yards shorter than my old max-effort swing, but more consistent and with the added benefit of being easier on my creaky lower back.

Just had to watch a few old videos of Payne Stewart and channel that.


Paynes swing was absolute silk. He had the longest and widest, almost violent hip turn I’ve ever seen, but to all of us it looked like butter. I swear it actually looked 90* to 90* in like a second. Such control. A great swing thought.

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I’m not a swing coach nor a doctor, but maybe your situation is similar to mine. I realized that i was powering my swing by forcefully rotating my torso. A powerful move, but rough on the back. It’s only been a couple days since I changed things up and my back feels slightly better already.

Get some good width and rotation in your backswing, then just keep that loose feeling, take your time with transition, and let the swing happen instead of forcing it. Think Ernie Els, Fred Couples, Payne Stewart…

Try taking a full swing with a driver but only hitting it 150 yards. Get used to that feeling, then very gradually ramp it up.


This is what’s crazy about golf and why instruction has to be so individualized - me trying to use my big muscles and have a “connected” swing is what was causing my problem. I guess that’s why the best answer to anyone’s swing problems is to see an instructor instead of looking online.


Definitely… you can also very easily get in your own way in a golf swing and have your body work against itself…

I try to keep my swing fluid, but let my big muscles lead the way… I like to think of it as starting my downswing in my left foot and then up into my hips… they help my trunk rotate through and my arms follow.

I do think I have a tendency to get overly involved and have my big muscles get in the way, especially when I try to hit a ball hard.

I don’t know why I got away from the easy-feeling swing with smooth tempo, but I went back to It tonight. And I hit my first ever 300+ yard drive (at least in the last couple years since I got my Garmin watch). Amazing how far the ball will go with a smooth swing and loose, relaxed muscles. I promise to myself I’m going to stick with this swing thought this time!


I had a conversation with my coach recently about this subject. I get the feeling that I am/was swinging too hard for a couple of reasons. We have identified that I have a tendency to lift up and fall back when I miss the ball. (I am playing to a 6.x handicap, so its not like its off the map). The is shallowing out my AOA and I catch it thin/toe and or flip my hands to save it pulling the ball.

The harder I swing the more this tendency comes out. I have drills that help combat it most notably half shots. I hit half shots and focus on rotating and keeping form, nice divot after the ball, rotate all that stuff. I am finding that my ‘half shots’ are going about 80% or more of a full blown swing. 8-iron for instance I play a stock shot at 145. The half shots with great contact and AOA have fantastic flight and distance in the 130 range. Half shot drivers still go a solid 200 yards for me.

I will hit a half dozen shots half speed the move right into full speed focusing on form and staying over the ball.

Half shots remove TENSION from the swing. Full shots create body tension when you are really trying to “muscle one out there” or swing hard even if its a habit and unintentional!

To answer the question quickly though:

Driver- 90+% Gotta get that ball out there.
4-6 irons- 90% Need the club head speed for distance
7-Wedges- 80%- Accuracy is key inside 165