Is Your Backswing Too Short?

By | on April 30, 2013 | 16 Comments | Array


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Paul Wilson is the creator of Swing Machine Golf and founder of Ignition Golf. Paul's golf swing technique is based on the Iron Byron swing machine. YouTube Channels: Paul Wilson Golf and Ignition Golf Tips. Please Join me on Google+

16 Responses to “Is Your Backswing Too Short?”

  1. That is I and my lesson you are talking about, I suppose. Of course, I had no idea that my swing was as short as it was. I am doing the correction pretty well the practice tee, but in play thinking about it seems to make me rush the downswing. Any transition thought to shift from a focus on the club or the grip back to the hip turn?

    • Jule,

      No that wasn’t you … Must have a been a guy who looked like you.

      Glad we found out you were too short and got you working on lengthening it. Hopefully, others can now check their swings. Since our lesson I have had others so this is not an uncommon way of swinging. A little longer makes it so much easier to generate power.

      You should be thinking of one of your downswing triggers taking you to the touch the legs position. I would be doing tons of practice swings working on the backswing length then going through to the end. This is a new different way of swinging. By doing practice swings there is no ball to hit so you will not be doing the short, quick swing. Once you do this enough you should be able to do it with the ball.

      Triggers are in this video:

      Legs Touching:

  2. Hi Paul,
    Does a full backswing apply equally to the irons. I usually swing to about 3/4,max, on mid-irons and sometimes shorter on short irons and wedges when distance is secondary to accuracy.
    I like this tip and the advice to concentrate on the butt end of the club is a great way to achieve a longer backswing.
    Thanks once again Paul

    • Alan,

      Your swing will be a little short of parallel with irons due to the fact that they do not create as much momentum as the longer clubs. I like short. I don’t like too short.

  3. Paul,
    Brilliant tip. After watching Mo Norman’s swing, I shortened my backswing and got into big trouble, largely pull- hooking it as I tried to make up the speed on the downswing. Your suggested fixes sound great.

    Can’t wait to work with you in Las Vegas when I get there next week.

    Best regards,
    Bob Horgan

    • Bob,

      Glad you liked the tip.

      I tried that Moe Swing (as well as others) many years ago. It got my swinging with arms too. There was only 1 Moe.

      It will be fun to work together. See you soon.

  4. Paul ,a tendancy to a too short back swing is my major flaw .
    I try to cure it and surveil it doesn ‘t happen when I am on the golf course ,by “pushing up “my right arm to the waiter’s tray position ,but sometimes I Forget and myj backswing Gets way too short !
    Now I have,thanks to you ,annother guideline:think about the butt end of the club and where it is pointing to!
    I have noted in all your d

    • Raymond,

      The best thing you can be doing is nightly practice swings with a mirror in front of you. As you swing you need to watch the mirror and see the whole shaft with every club above your head (visually). Driver will be just above your head. A pitching wedge will be well above your head because it swings steeper and it down not go back as far. If you keep watching for the whole shaft above your head in 2 weeks you will never be flat again.

  5. Paul,
    While you told me this while I was in Vegas, it didn’t register. I reviewed your tip to point the butt of the club away from the target, and something clicked. Not only does this position give me the ability to add power, it eliminates the need to try to accelerate to gain more distance with a short swing. That is to say, I could swing easier on the downswing and keep the club on plane. Drives were consistently at 250 and straight. Took it out to the course for nine holes, and shot 37…with two three putts…very tough greens. Biggest problem was that the irons were going 10 yards further than before.
    Great stuff.

    • Bob,

      Check out tonight’s tip. Familiar?

      That’s great that you feel the backswing. This is a huge position in creating power as you have just found out. Keep up the good work. Things are changing.

  6. September 12, 2013


    I think I have been swinging too short for years, afraid of missing shot. In reality it seems a fuller swing gives me more
    confidence, game going nowhere nothing to lose got down to 11 once. Trouble is father time is catching up with me (65)
    so now trying anything and taking arms out and fuller back swing helps driving well over 220yds
    thanks Paul

    • September 13, 2013

      Paul Wilson


      Age is a non issue if you are swinging properly. One of the members of Ignition Golf is 81 and hits it 260+. He also shot 39 on a tough track for 9 holes. You are a long way from this so focus on building a great swing. If you are not trying to hit anything it is not a strength game. Work on keeping the wrists loose to generate your power. Loose is loose no matter what your age.

      A fully backswing would be a good thing to work on. A short swing is a young mans swing. When your backswing is short there is not enough time to get the club to 100mph. Long swing = more time to increase clubhead speed.

      I did a tip on this here:

      Is Your Backswing Too Short?:

      How To Lengthen the Backswing:

  7. March 12, 2017



    I’m 52 years old and been working seriously on my swing the last couple of years. One of the things I struggle with however is that I dont have as long a swing as I would like. With that said, I hit the ball a reasonable distance, but feel like I’m missing out on some distance. I do golf yoga stretches etc, to try and increase flexibility. However, for example, if I was to get my driver parallel on the backswing, my left arm (I swing righty) would have to bend pretty good to get that to happen. I look at your swing and it looks like your left arm is not perfectly straight on the backswing either (where alot of the younger tour guys seems to have a pretty straight left arm) though I would say my arm bends more than yours. I want to get your thoughts on the straight left arm question. I try to keep it fairly straight to take some variableness out of my swing, but in doing so, it keeps my backswing shorter. To give you some sense, I hit my driver about 250 on average. I’m going to say I only get my driver to about 1 to 2 oclock if you were to look at my swing face on.



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      March 13, 2017

      Paul Wilson


      Too short can lose you power because you don’t have time to generate 100mph clubhead speed. That being said, I would try to lengthen it. I have done video on that here:

      How To Lengthen the Backswing:
      Is Your Backswing Too Short?:

      You can certainly bend the arm a little at the top. Worked well for Jack Nicklaus, Fred Couples, John Daly and a host of others. I tell people to keep it extended but not locked.

      Extended But Not Locked:

      The problem is you need to figure out what is causing the shorter backswing. Usually the person is rushing the downswing. Other times I see people way too bent over at set up which causes them to take it way to flat. You could be too tucked with the back arm. Too connected with the lead arm under the lead armpit etc. etc.

      Try to figure out what you are doing so you can address the root cause. Also, just go slow going back and set the club. You don’t hit it going back. Set it then get power with the legs and hips in the downswing. Do some of the drills in the above tips and see if that gets you there. It will take some getting used to but it will be worthwhile in the future. I call that short swing a young man’s swing. It take every ounce of energy I have to hit it as far as when I take it farther back.

  8. Hi Paul,
    At the end of the backswing where should we feel tightness in back leg? Should it be on inside of lower leg or out side of leg near hip area? Or both? I know we should feel a little tightness in left shoulder.

    • Tom,

      I am focused on the instep and how my foot is gripping the grass. So this weight loads 80% to the instep heel. Hopefully, you are not losing the flex in the back knee. If so, you need to work on this too.

      I just stood up to feel it. As I hit the top I grip the grass with the instep. In doing so, I feel the inside of my right quad tight because this is holding it all together. You may feel the same thing. The lower is your base and you are coiling around it. This is holding the swing together so you should feel some tightness down there.

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