Why a shorter swing feels powerless

I hear this so often as a reason why golfers don’t want to shorten their swing…and this is almost the identical conversation I have had with dozens or even hundreds of golfers.

Golfer-“Why am I casting and why do I hit driver so short and have no compression on my irons.”

Monte-“Your swing is too long.”

Golfer-“I am trying to make a full turn.”

Monte-“Your arm swing is taking your back swing past the point of a full turn.”

Golfer after trying a shorter swing-“That feels powerless, I am just going to try and hold the angle longer.”

Monte in his head-“I now understand the concept of murder-suicide.”

I find this ironic and sometimes frustrating as the long swing is the result of an arm swing over taking the shoulder turn, the golfer doesn’t have the speed to return the club to the ball, there is a massive cast and the strike is weak.

In other words, the acceleration is weak because the swing is too long for the golfer to create anywhere near maximum acceleration. The swings are at a length that 120-150 mph of club speed would be required to return the club to a strong position at impact and the golfers making this swing max out at 80-105.

You are all thinking, “Great Monte, now why the (expletive deleted) does the swing feel powerless when we attempt a shorter swing?”

That is an excellent question. It all comes down to one factor. One huge contributor to this factor is this whole “swing smooth” garbage that infests the golfing public as a cop out for bad balance and rhythm.

The reason why the shorter swing feels powerless is the acceleration is so weak from the swing being too long and the “swing smooth” mentality, that same weak acceleration is going to feel weak as all get out from a shorter position.

So the answer is with better balance, better rhythm and a back swing that the arms are connected to the end of the shoulder turn…


Call it turn harder, swing harder, accelerate more…whatever. That is how you create an environment for maximum, UNDER CONTROL, club head speed.

Balance, rhythm and a back swing that fits you.




  1. dayo


    The answer might seem obvious but, how would you define “balance”. I assume it relates to posture and such… Thanks.

    • Monte Scheinblum

      It’s different things to different people. I know that’s not an answer, but being in balance is just about keeping your feet under you. Not flat footed, just under you.

    • Roy Gilley

      Balance – can you “stick” your finish? (think gymnastics)

  2. s

    “Shoulder turn” is what you see on video–not so much what you do. If somebody goes straight for shoulder-turn, they’re doomed…because their body didn’t get out of the way…like yours does. There’s no place for their shoulders to turn to–the body is blocking.

    The majority of pros seem to start by turning away with their lower torso, which anticipates and actually starts their swing. That provides most of the shoulder turn. It there’s no swing, how do the hands get from “down” to “up”? Shoulder turn alone won’t do that.

    Below is a great video (0:33) on shoulder turn (Moe Norman). But, I doubt very much whether turning shoulders is responsible for more that 20º of that result. And, it probably comes at the end.

    Which is not to say that you can’t do it backwards. Kenny Perry puts the torso twist and the end of his backswing instead of the beginning. But, offhand I don’t know of anyone else who does that. Maybe Ray Floyd or Furyk.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_BZ5O0Na_k&feature=related (Moe)

    • Monte Scheinblum

      Woody, we know where you stand on this, but as much as I am against generally accepted concepts that are wrong, shoulder turn is a generally accepted “term” that people understand.

      Like “straight spine.”

      • s

        Yeah, shoulder turn is great for coordinated people who don’t give a second thought about how it happens.

        But, it’s bad for a spaz because he’s going to try to turn his shoulders with his shoulders.

        Straight spine was never a Nicklaus trait, but he was a pretty good stick.

      • Monte Scheinblum

        There are few if any universals in golf or life. Some terms like shoulder turn are understood by the masses and are just a short hand for a more complicated sequence of movements.

  3. cdnmike

    MY absolute favorite shot this year is the knock down. Short controled swing that usually goes exactly where I want it.

  4. jd

    Are you sure the shorter swing feels powerless because people are trying for a smooth swing? Most over swingers have poor sequencing and over accelerate the club head, particularly in the downswing, so it stands to reason that most amateurs with this problem are not swinging smoothly at all. I speak not as an instructor but as someone with this very issue. To me, it seems that overswingers, as you say, rely too much on arm speed for power, and if those arms don’t swing that far, it seems they don’t have much speed. Any other suggestions for us, Monte? This is a very hard problem to eradicate.

    • Monte Scheinblum

      The group you are talking about are so used to losing power by the time they get to the ball, that feel is atrocious from a shorter position.

      It all falls into the category of weak acceleration.

      As far as eradicating it, it falls into the same category of most other common swing faults. They are hard to get rid of because they can’t be eradicated in one bucket of balls.

      You make an effort to shorten your swing every day and 6 months from now, you have a well connected arm and shoulder turn.

      Golfers don’t get better because they give up on a change when immediate gratification isn’t fulfilled.

  5. Bob Saunders

    Golfers don’t get better because they give up on a change when immediate gratification isn’t fulfilled.

    Amen and Hallelujah !!!

  6. Pete Player

    Swinging smooth as an idea is the result of skilly and rythmically close to perfect swingers hitting the ball as hard as they can, while not twirling all over the place.

    It’s the dynamic balance in the swing, correct efforts from accurite bodyparts gearing up the clubhead producing speed within oneself.
    Skilfull swinger can accelerate thru impact in a manner the handle of the club woun’t give in, but instead the impact bends the shaft against the hands on the other end and the ball on the other.

  7. Pete

    Swinging harder or thinking, now I’m gonna hit it hard almost allways results really a hard hit. Unfortunately the mental image of hitting hard puts the ball into the status of an object and most people achieves hitting the ball really hard. As a result the effort produced altered directions thru impact due to loosing ballance spraying the ball all over the place, if not digging the clubhead into the ground.

    To me the most successfull image has been “swinging faster”, which usually doesn’t include leakage of the positions nor loosing ballance during the swing.



  1. Update — 2013.05.24 | Digging Out of the Dirt - […] that seem to verify my suspicion… Almost every golfer has a backswing that is too long… Why a shorter…

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