How To Prevent Early Extension In Your Golf Swing

Peter Finch shares his tips on how to prevent early extension in your golf swing and improve your ball-striking

Peter Finsh at the top of his swing and at impact
(Image credit: Future)

Before we answer the question about how to prevent early extension in your golf swing it makes sense to underline exactly what an 'early extension' is. This term refers to a loss of spine angle through the hitting area. As the player comes down towards impact, the hips move closer to the ball, restricting the space your hands have to move in. 

At its worst, this can cause a shank, but even if you aren't shanking, you'll not be striking the ball as sweetly as you can. In the video and article below, Golf Monthly Top 50 Coach Peter Finch discusses how to address this issue...

When you’re in a proper address position, with your hips pushed back and your spine tilted over, you really then want to see that relationship between the hips and the spine being maintained for pretty much your whole golf swing.

If that spine angle begins to change and starts to move back as your hips move forward during the downswing, the club position will change, and not for the better. Specifically, it will get trapped behind you, meaning you'll need to make various compensations in a short space of time approaching impact to hit the ball well. It's a very difficult way to play consistently good golf. 

Instead, as you take the club back, maintain your posture and keep your hips out of the way. Then, from the top, bump your hips towards the target, trying to keep them back and out of the way. If you can feel like your weight is moving into your left heel, that will really help to keep the hips back and stop them from extending early.

A great drill to prevent early extension in your golf swing can be done using an umbrella or an alignment stick, as I demonstrate in the video above. Stick it in the ground just behind and to the left of your lead hip if you're a right-hander. Work on trying to touch the umbrella or alignment stick as you begin the downswing, which will give you the sensation of what it feels like to maintain your posture throughout the final stages of your swing.

It's a hard thing to fix if it has been ingrained across many years, so don't despair if it doesn't immediately translate onto the course. Stick with it and put in the reps and you'll start to notice you're striking the ball better, and hitting it further and straighter.

Peter Finch
Top 50 Coach

Delivering online free lessons to golfers across the globe with a combined social following of almost one million people, Peter is one of the most recognisable PGA professionals in the game. 

Teaching philosophy:

I believe that golfers need to stop looking at other players and wishing they had 'that swing' and focus on trying to develop their own unique and trusted action. This comes from lessons based around enhancing their ability and understanding that perfection does not exist in golf. 

Advice for practice:

Don’t just go to a driving range and beat balls thinking you will improve. If you simply use the amount of balls hit and time spent as a measure of practice, you won’t progress as quickly as you might like. True improvement comes from making your practice as realistic to the golf course as possible - uneven lies, different targets, different flights. You will almost never, ever get a flat lie in golf and yet where do most people in the UK pour their practice time? A flat range mat with the same repeated technique. 

Most common problem:

A lack of attention to the club face and aim. Golfers should dedicate a large amount of practice time to gripping the club correctly and aiming it in harmony with their body.