A Long Swing or a Short Swing?

The good news is that either one can get the job done, but we cannot view these two very different golf swings through the same lens. There are certain fundamental differences that we must keep in mind. Watch...

For the shorter backswing:

  • Get the wrists, arms and shaft organized early in the backswing
  • The club should favor being laid off at the top
  • The lead wrist should be flat or bowed at the top

For the longer backswing:

  • There is more freedom in the backswing as player has more time available to organize in transition and on the way down
  • The club should favor being across the line
  • The lead wrist can be either cupped or bowed

I do typically prefer slightly longer swings over shorter swings, but above all else I prefer swings that work. If you look at the greatest players of all time you'll see significantly more long swings than noticeably short swings. I have also found that longer swings will typically produce faster club speeds. Never a bad thing!

Keep in mind that these are generalized ideas that have been found to work on the students I have been fortunate to coach over the years. They have also been verified by other coaches and a scientist or two, but they are not set in stone. The objective is always improved performance.

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The Importance of Wrist Angles

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I believe that for years I have misunderstood the importance of wrist angles throughout the golf swing. The most important part of any golf swing is the players ability to manage the face angle relative to the club path and wrists are integral in positioning the clubface properly throughout the swing.

I have come to realize that wrist angles are more important than grip position/angles. I see far too many golfers with very strong grips who slice the golf ball! If you'd like to hit draws (and you should) then you need the clubface closed relative to the path and a bowed lead wrist throughout the swing will do wonders in enabling you to hit those lovely, baby draws.

If you study the above photograph you'll see four very different, and very functional, looks regarding wrist angle at the top of the backswing. Due to the fact that most golfers slice the ball I would encourage all slicers and faders to work towards emulating Dustin Johnson (far right) in their practice. I'm not saying that with a bowed left wrist you are guaranteed to hit draws, but it does allow for functional options regarding shot shape.

Here is a helpful video I filmed on  recent trip with my friend in Ireland, Stephen Ennis from Balcarrick GC.....

I love this from my friend Joe Mayo (@TrackManMaestro):

"When one embraces the idea that a functional face to path relationship is the bottom line of the golf swing, it allows them to let go of positional golf instruction and the veil of confusion of how great swings of the past and present actually work is lifted."

The golf swing really does not have to have a certain appearance in order to function - it simply needs a predictable face to path relationship. And the wrist angles are vital in managing this relationship.

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