How To Stop Overswinging: Unlock Your Untapped Power

Learning how to stop overswinging will help you hit the ball further and straighter, says PGA pro Jo Taylor

PGA pro Jo Taylor demonstrating a good and bad backswing in this how to stop overswinging tutorial
(Image credit: Future)

By making a big backswing you’re not going to get more distance unless you have ridiculously fast hands that are going to save the shot. Most of the time, it just means you are going to end up out of position and then you'll have to make a load of adjustments to put things right.

The overswing is generally a consequence of the arms going too long. And this is usually caused by the left arm bending, which enables the club to travel further than it needs to. It can happen when the body turns too much but this scenario is a lot less likely with club golfers.

How far should you go?

What you want is a shorter, wider backswing. To achieve this, turn back and load up on your right side. That means your left shoulder should come across to just inside your right foot. Learning how to get a straight left arm in your golf swing will also help, although it doesn't have to be completely straight but there shouldn't be a noticeable bend.

PGA pro Jo Taylor demonstrating what a good backswing looks like

A shorter, wider backswing will improve your consistency

(Image credit: Future)

When it’s this compact like this it is far easier to time the delivery of the club back into an efficient impact position for a better combination of accuracy and distance. Swings past parallel don’t tend to produce this outcome.

It is hard to gauge how far you’ve swung it and most of us will tend to swing further when we’re actually hitting it. I like to feel that my hands are almost level with the centre of my chest with a good bit of width. To achieve this, feel like you are pushing your hands away from your head, and not too close to the body.

Remember this position

PGA pro Jo Taylor demonstrating a good and bad impact position

Power comes from hitting down on your irons (left). If you reverse pivot, your impact position will suffer (right)

(Image credit: Future)

This (above left) is a good image to try and keep in your head. With your irons, power comes from hitting down and learning how to compress the golf ball - this is the position you want to strive for. 

When you overswing there is a good chance you will reverse pivot, meaning you need to work on your weight distribution in the golf swing. When your weight shifts forward in the backswing, returning the club to the ball becomes very difficult to achieve with any sort of consistency. The result is that contact will be poor and you'll be relying on your hands to bail you out more often than not.

Location: Walton Heath

Jo teaches at Walton Heath and is a PGA Advanced Professional having graduated in 2011. She has helped hundreds of women and girls get into the game and she is a strong believer that, whatever your ability, everyone can get plenty out of the game. Jo is currently working towards a Doctorate in Sport and Exercise Science.

Teaching philosophy: 

I like to keep things simple and try to articulate things in a way that is easy for the student to understand. I need to understand the technicalities of what is creating their ball flight, but I need to be able to communicate that to the student in a way that they can utilise.

A typical lesson:

My lessons begin with a lot of questioning, I want to understand what the person wants out of their lesson. I want to understand as much about their game and what they are struggling with. Once I’ve seen their flight and motion, I will often utilise video and TrackMan data to further understand/reinforce what I’m seeing. I always want my students to understand what we are changing and why. I then take the player through what we want to change, and how best to practise. I close my lessons by checking for understanding and asking the player to tell me what they going to work on. 

Most common impact:

Angle of attack is often a common impact fault I see, with players either being too steep or too shallow. Most often this is caused by a lack of rotation or a poor concept where a player is trying to scoop or chop down on the ball. I try to correct the fault by demonstrating the concept before getting the player to make small, controlled swings to get a feel for the new movement. With some players I try to find a visualisation or an external focus of attention which helps them make the desired movement without overthinking.