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Gary L

Does the 80% swing exist?

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I recently read a teaching pro (not on this forum) say that the 80% swing being ideal was a myth.  He said you'll do better swinging all out.  Is he right?

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I think that's probably right.  I've tried swinging easy, it doesn't do squat except leave you a long way from the pin.  Learn the right technique and swing 99% imo.

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My brother swears by 83%. He might be overestimating his distances by about 17% and he's actually swinging full but I can't tell either way. The whole concept of percents as they apply to the swing is pretty subjective though.

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I recently read a teaching pro (not on this forum) say that the 80% swing being ideal was a myth.  He said you'll do better swinging all out.  Is he right?

Depends on your control I guess.  If you can swing all out while keeping form, they maybe it will work.  Most of us will lose form if we try to swing as hard as possible. That being said, I have occasionally swung with anger and absolutely crushed it.

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One man's 80% is another man's 100% is another man's 75% and so on. I think a better way to look at is to swing within yourself. Figure out what the biggest swing you can make while still getting consistently good results and call that your full swing. I basically stop my swing at what feels like A3 (lead arm parallel to ground) but on video I can see that I go past that to a full A4, it just feels like I stop earlier. That's my full swing. I can, on occasion get away with a bigger swing but the wheels eventually fall off. If you were to put me inside Rory's body when he swings it would probably feel like 250% to me but clearly it's not to him. FWIW, I get "full" distance with what feels like a shorter swing. In fact, some of my biggest bombs have come from swings where I really made a conscious effort to keep the backswing from getting too long.
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I'm all about the 80% swing .... when I swing from the heels, rarely does anything good happen.     I play a conservative, control based game though, so YMMV

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One man's 80% is another man's 100% is another man's 75% and so on. I think a better way to look at is to swing within yourself. Figure out what the biggest swing you can make while still getting consistently good results and call that your full swing. I basically stop my swing at what feels like A3 (lead arm parallel to ground) but on video I can see that I go past that to a full A4, it just feels like I stop earlier. That's my full swing. I can, on occasion get away with a bigger swing but the wheels eventually fall off. If you were to put me inside Rory's body when he swings it would probably feel like 250% to me but clearly it's not to him.

FWIW, I get "full" distance with what feels like a shorter swing. In fact, some of my biggest bombs have come from swings where I really made a conscious effort to keep the backswing from getting too long.


Definitely agree with EJ. One size does not fit all in golf instruction. When someone is going way past parallel AND it is causing problems, then telling them to swing 80% it probably a good thing.

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I have to agree that the percentages are subjective. I know I swing at what feels like 70-80% on my good days, but it depends on where your 100% is. For me, 100% is as hard as you can possibly swing, whereas others place 100% as the hardest you can swing while still in control. This instructor is likely in the latter group.
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I have to agree that the percentages are subjective. I know I swing at what feels like 70-80% on my good days, but it depends on where your 100% is. For me, 100% is as hard as you can possibly swing, whereas others place 100% as the hardest you can swing while still in control. This instructor is likely in the latter group.

If 100% is as hard as you can swing, than I probably always swing around 80%. At this point, anything over 80%...the control and the ability to connect with the sweet spot goes way down.

Maybe some day I'll be comfortable swinging max speed, but I see that being years down the road.

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For me 100% is as hard as I can swing with out loosing balance. From there I tone it down to something that is more repeatable. I am sure my 100% might be like 95%, 105%, 102%, 98%. I rather not live with the ones above 100% because then I will be all over the place with my balance.

I know some might say, "Well you can't go over 100%". The way I look at it, there is over 100% for me. I like to error on the conservative side for this one.

I guess if I wanted to get technical about it. I could go get on trackman or flightscope and make swings till I can hit shots that are 80% distance.

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Control, balance, and timing in the golf swing, are three keys to a decent, repeatable swing. If the golfer can swing at 100%, and still maintain those three keys, they will shoot better scores than those who can't. I suspect the 80% swing thought is there for those golfers who can't maintain those three keys when they swing at 100%.

I know if I swing as fast as I physically can, I lose accuracy, and/or usable distance most of the time. Of course there are situations where I might have to swing faster than normal. When those situations come about, I pretty much try to make the best of a poor situation.

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I have to agree that the percentages are subjective. I know I swing at what feels like 70-80% on my good days, but it depends on where your 100% is. For me, 100% is as hard as you can possibly swing, whereas others place 100% as the hardest you can swing while still in control. This instructor is likely in the latter group.

What is the point of swinging at any power level if you can't control it?

What I realized is trying to mitigate bad form by swinging less hard is completely pointless.  You're still 3 miles from the pin and still probably going to record a bogey or worse.  Figure out what you're doing wrong that is making the ball go places you don't want it to go-- and I'll bet money it's not the strength of your swing. B-)

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I think the phrase could be considered a metaphor for swing within yourself/put less effort than what will cause you to get knocked off your feet. No need to get anymore technical/literal than that. Not productive for most high/mid handicappers.

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Most mishits, thinned, toe or heeled shots are often results of a uncontrolled swing and often stems from a way too aggressive swing.

Most golfers recognize when they are too fast or quick, which is usually the result of not completing the backswing or a too aggressive takeaway.

As mentioned above @Patch "Control, balance, and timing in the golf swing, are three keys to a decent, repeatable swing."

@ 80% or less th an a full swing, more often leads to better results.

Often a shot will require a more aggressive manner for certain results.

Most better players will swing the driver and woods 100% and swing scoring irons less than 90%.

High handicappers would benefit by controlling their approach shots with alternative thoughts of always taking a full 100% swing.

Club Rat

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I think it does exist but I think I definitely misunderstood the idea and possibly many others do as well.  I always try to swing as *fast* as I can without losing my balance or form (what form I have, anyway).  But I see my "power" coming from the amount of turn in my backswing . .and I usually only turn about 80-90% of what I *could* turn if I really wanted to.

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...FWIW, I get "full" distance with what feels like a shorter swing. In fact, some of my biggest bombs have come from swings where I really made a conscious effort to keep the backswing from getting too long.

I'm exactly the same. Been trying the last few weeks do exactly this as I was/do get way too long far too often. I get the same effect re. distance as well - (re-)gained about 5-10 yards on irons the last few weeks and hit some bombed drives. For me, at least, a longer backswing certainly doesn't make for maximal distance. Contact's better, accuracy too, with a slightly shorter backswing.

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I have to agree that the percentages are subjective. I know I swing at what feels like 70-80% on my good days, but it depends on where your 100% is. For me, 100% is as hard as you can possibly swing, whereas others place 100% as the hardest you can swing while still in control. This instructor is likely in the latter group.


The instructor was a former long-drive champion, so that kind of puts his belief in context.  To him, 80% meant "too easy."

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I think it does exist but I think I definitely misunderstood the idea and possibly many others do as well.  I always try to swing as *fast* as I can without losing my balance or form (what form I have, anyway).  But I see my "power" coming from the amount of turn in my backswing . .and I usually only turn about 80-90% of what I *could* turn if I really wanted to.

And arm extension imo.  I was underestimating that, when I do a better job of keeping my arms extended and get a nice wide, comfortable turn that's when I seem to get the really nice drives.

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