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Correct answer Yes, if you make a full shoulder turn

Since you asked the question, well assume youve got a longer-than-average backswing and you struggle to hit fairways and greens.

Before proceeding, lets define our terms. When hitting driver, the classic “ideal” backswing – with the shoulders turned at a 90° angle to the target line – positions the club shaft parallel to the ground at the top. A tad past parallel is generally OK. Going beyond this usually means your wrists are hinging too much, or perhaps your left (lead) elbow is folding. In any case, its difficult to square the clubface on the downswing and produce accurate shots.

If this describes your swing, then tightening up (shortening) your backswing will almost certainly prove beneficial – provided you fix the problem by firming your wrists or elbow, not by restricting your shoulder turn.

In fact, making a full turn can actually help shorten your swing. Golfers who under-rotate the shoulders often try to compensate by letting the left elbow bend or the wrists cock at the top. This only compounds the problem.

To improve your upper-body rotation, use this simple drill on a daily basis:

  • Take any club and place it across your body in front of the armpits.
  • Cross your arms and lightly press the club against your shoulders.
  • Assume your golf stance, keeping the club pressed against you while bending forward.
  • Slowly turn the shoulders as though making a backswing.
  • The goal is to point one end of the club directly at the target line, which means youve turned the shoulders 90°.

Regardless of how far your shoulders rotate, heres the key to keeping your backswing in check: Stop moving your arms, wrists and hands at the same time your shoulders stop. This prevents the wrists from breaking and the arms from overextending. Youll be positioned for an efficient backswing without leaking power at the top.

This website features plenty more info to help you rein in a runaway backswing, max out your shoulder turn and build an efficient, fairway-finding action. Heres just a handful, including tips for seniors and women:

Sorry Try Again! - See Explanation Below

In fact, the opposite may be true. John Daly notwithstanding, a long backswing doesnt usually equate to long golf shots. Its inefficient, forcing you to unwind everything from the top down. Conversely, a downswing led by the lower body builds energy until the moment of impact, releasing it powerfully into the ball.

Sorry Try Again! - See Explanation Below

Sure, you could point to Dalys two major victories and long pro career as proof that an extra-long swing can produce consistent accuracy. But youd be wrong. Daly is the farthest thing from a straight hitter, getting by on gargantuan length and a short game amateurs can only dream of. Fact is, most pros and better ams have compact swings built for power and accuracy.

Sorry Try Again! - See Explanation Below

Provided you make a full shoulder turn, developing a reverse pivot – where your weight shifts left on the backswing, right on the downswing – shouldnt be an issue. When trying to shorten your motion, remember not to rush the downswing. Finish the backswing, stopping the shoulders, arms and hands in unison, before shifting toward the target.