When professional golfers overswing, they know they must make adjustments with their hands to hit the ball solidly. More often than not, they’re able to do it without a problem. That’s because they have super-fast hands that let them get the club in the right position coming down. When they time it right, the pros hit it a mile. When they don’t, they miss the fairway.
But it’s different with weekend golfers. When players they overswing, they’re in trouble. They don’t have the super-fast hands that the pros have. Nor have the hit as many practice balls. As a result, they can’t make the same adjustments coming down a pro can make. Thus, golfers with high golf handicaps can’t save things when they overswing. The result is poor contact and all kinds of bad shots.
The most common ways golfers overswing are (1) the arms swing too long or (2) the body turns too much. Both swing faults get you into deep trouble. In golf lessons to take wider but shorter backswings. In this article we look at what happens when you overswing, review some simple fixes for this fault, and provide golf tips to overcome it.
Arms Swing Too Long
This version is the more common of the two versions we see in golf instructions sessions. With it, the arms keep going back after the body has stopped turning. If you’ve ever seen John Daily hit a driver, you have a mental picture of what this swing fault looks like when you commit it. The difference is that John can make adjustments on the way down and still make solid contact. Weekend golfers don’t often have this ability. If they overswing, they mis-hit.
This version of overswinging causes the arms to collapse at the top. The arms get too close to your head. When this happens, the player tends to throw the club from the top, hanging back on the right side (left side for left-handers). That, in turn, pushes the club on the outside path, causing the wrists to unhinge too early. The result: poor contact and bad shots.
The way we teach students in golf lessons to eliminate this swing fault is to push their hands away from their heads. This simple adjustment promotes a wider arc. The wider arc allows you to swing the club back in front of your body on the downswing. If you focus on keeping your right arm wide (left arm for left-handers) you’ll keep your left arm wide as well, eliminating the fault.
Too Much Body Turn
We don’t see this version of overswinging as much in our golf instruction sessions as the previous one. Few weekend golfers are flexible enough to overturn. But some do. When you overturn, your legs run out in front on the downswing. This causes the spine to tilt away from the target to counterbalance the overturning body. The swing, in turn, gets narrow coming down because the club is too close to the body. This leads to an out-to-in swing path that produces pushes and hooks.
Fixing this problem is easy: Keep your back knee flexed to the top. This move restricts the hip turn, resulting in a more controlled rotation. A more controlled rotation keeps the arms and hands from getting too deep and positions them to swing the club back to the ball on a straighter path. The result: You make solid contact and hit straighter shots.
How do you eliminate overturning? That’s simple—practice hitting three-quarter short iron shots. It’s much easier matching up your arm swing with your body turn when the motion is shorter and wider going back than when taking a full swing. Work on three-quarter shots at the practice range before teeing off the next time you play. Remember the feeling and then take it to the course. You’ll find yourself making solid contact and hitting better drives.
Many players with high golf handicaps overswing with the driver. This causes them to hit pushes, hooks, and slices, and it costing them strokes. Use the golf tips we provide above to stop overswinging. A couple of golf instruction sessions with your local pro can also help. Eliminating overswinging will pay off in the end. You’ll not only hit more fairways, you’ll also shoot lower scores.