Why a shorter swing feels powerless.

This is all about people with a passive cast (Link) who I have told to shorten their swings, but everyone can learn something from this.

Basically every person who has a passive cast is a result of a swing that is too long. I have told them the swing needs to be shorter, and nearly every one of them has given me the same response. The returns have been almost unanimous. “I trust what you are saying but when my swing is shorter, I feel powerless.” Some have added it ruins their rhythm.

If you cast, try to shorten your swing and it feels powerless and/or messes with you rhythm…there is a 100% chance your takeaway is controlled too much by the arms and hands. Once you put control in the shoulder turn and that shoulder turn is near 90* to the spine, you should be able to take any club, including driver, any length of backswing and not feel any loss of power or rhythm problems.

The reason this happens is if your arms are controlling the swing and you take it back shorter, the feel is they have no space or leverage to create any speed. Often an arm swing in a shorter position gets the club behind you and you can’t accelerate from that position or you won’t hit the ball properly, so you have to just drop your arms on the ball. That is where the powerless feel comes from. You can create speed and leverage from any point in the golf swing if your shoulder turn is in control and your arms and hands are in front of your chest.

This is all a lot of mumbo jumbo explanation for those that need to know. The simple solution is to make a shoulder turn that is 90* to your spine. Easier said than done if you are used to swinging your arms, but that is you one swing thought.

Link to GolfSwingSurgeon.com




  1. banchiline

    Another well written post Monte . Shorter is better . Right down to the putter I think. Easier to accelerate (for me anyway)

    I’ll note that usually what feels short or shorter than what I am used to…………. isn’t really “short”………if you know what I mean. I’m still working on tightening things up at the top.

  2. Bob34

    Yup, my backswing has always been too long. I think because I was turning my shoulders back too flat as well as using my arms. I’ve been using a couple of Monte’s drills to work on that as well as dump all of the technical crap from ‘the other place’ . I’m gonna video myself this afternoon and send it in to Monte this evening but here’s a question; I’ve always had it in my head that to make things as simple as possible; I use the same feeling by using the same muscles and sequence for every shot from driver to irons, to chipping, pitching, bunkers and even putting. The only difference is setup & ball position and for putting is just upper body rotation with a very steady head. My basic feeling is to not rotate around my spine but to rotate my spine around to include my tail bone (except for putting). That probably doesn’t make sense to anyone but me but do others try to keep every shot pretty much the same?

    • steve lyons

      Are you simply saying to rotate your hips as well as your spine?

      • Bob34

        Yup. My tendency is to rotate and subsequently release just my upper body with the hips only repsonding to that. Now on the downswing, I have the feeling of pulling my left butt cheek while I’m also rotating my spine so I feel my tailbone rotating as well. This seems to get my weight left a little sooner, start and maintain everything in synch. At this point, I’m not consciously doing anything with my arms or hands, just rotating the spine… Pulling the left butt cheek is something I’ve played with off and on over the past couple of years. It was something suggestted to me by banchiline, but my previous instructor kept nay saying it so I never stuck with it. This is all kind of my interpretation of what Monte talks about in his videos on turning everything together. We’ll see if I’ve interpreted it correctly when I send off my video lesson this evening…

      • Monte Scheinblum

        If your shoulders rotate 90* to your spine, the hips will rotate the proper amount as long as you aren’t restricting them ala the X-factor.

      • Bob34

        Yes, that’s what I do on the backswing, just feel like I’m rotating my spine, shoulders also 90* to my spine. I don’t try to hold my hips back on the backswing. I was more talking about on the downswing IRT to the left butt check/tail bone. If I don’t actively do that on the downswing along with rotating my shoulders, my upper body dominates the downswing. As long as I transition using my hips and my upper body together, I hit the ball really well. But my natural tendency is just to use my upper body/shoulders and not my hips on the downswing which seems to get me out of synch. You’ll see it after I upload a lesson tonight and I know I may be waaay off…

        Speaking of which, watching The Haney Project last night for purely entertainment purposes, I did learn something; What I say above is what I currently think I’m doing, basically rotating my spine around but I’m not going to analyse myself anymore, I’ll send you the video and only think about/work on whatever it is you tell me.

  3. Sean

    I’ll be shotening mine and it will take at least a season to get used to but, it needs to happen.I’m an example of todays post.Awesome post Monte

  4. gwlee7

    I am guilty of the “the ball won’t go far enough unless the swing is long” thinking myself.

    “The simple solution is to make a shoulder turn that is 90* to your spine. ”

    This is exactly what Monte has me workning on at the moment.

  5. seveonsunday

    I suffer from this problem. You pointed out I take the club back with a very horizontal shoulder turn which is very arm/hand controled. I’ve been working on more of a “vertical” shoulder turn controled by just the shoulders turning. what I’ve found when I take the club back with just the shoudlers I get stuck at about waist high then I need to get the club “up” and over my shoulder. I’ve found my swing gets shorter automatically! My “tempo” or rhythm doesn’t feel great with this, but its probably because its a new sensation. My swing felt super long and fluid with a more horizontal turn and I can’t shorten it for the life of me and often I “flip” my hands. Don’t know if this is what should be happening but its what I’ve found…

    • Monte Scheinblum

      As your shoulder turn improves, the rhythm and length of backswing will too. The shoulder turn is the key…one thing at a time. 🙂

  6. s.

    One thing I learned from you is that I don’t need to think much about the lower body, especially of the backswing, where there isn’t so much force to control . A lot of things are happening at once, but they happen automatically if you get the right concept of what you want–a “trigger” thought.

    As you say keeping your hands in front of your chest is good. For me, the idea of turning upper chest, arms, and hands –all in sync– directs me to use enough body (hips, etc.) without thinking about it.

    But, for me, the idea of turning shoulders fits in with an arm-swing, which doesn’t trigger enough “body.”

    Right now, I’m liking an old Ernest Jones concept (1920’s), the analogy of a wheel–where upper chest (hub), arms (spokes), and hands (rim) are turning back together. If the spokes and rim out-race the hub, not good.

  7. Eric

    I am shocked that my name is nowhere in this post since it seems to have been written especially for me 🙂

  8. SteelyDan

    Many thanks for this post which pretty much describes what I have been struggling with for years. Hopefully my work with Monte will solve this issue. Now that the weather is improving in Gernany, my second lesson should be just around the corner.

  9. matt

    My main range purpose this year is to shorten the swing to a normal swing, It is difficult to get the tempo back, but I’ll keep working at it – I feel like I’m compressing the ball better, hitting it in the center of the face more often, and less hooks are occurring.


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