How To Prevent Swinging Too Hard In Golf: The Overclub Explained 

Swinging too hard in golf is something we’ve all been guilty of.

Let’s face it, hitting the ball as hard as you can is a lot of fun. But a swing that takes more effort than necessary isn’t going to do you any favors.

The temptation is always there to push an extra 10 or 20 yards distance out of a club by swinging beyond our limits.

While generating power and carry from the golf swing are routine goals of the game, over swinging can be detrimental to the consistency of a shot which is ultimately the key to playing great golf.

The good news is the need for swinging too hard can nearly always be avoided on the course!

A simple solution? The overclub. 

Although normally considered an error in golf, overclubbing deliberately can be turned to your advantage as an easy fix to gaining extra distance without making problematic changes to your swing.

In this article, we’ll discuss the overclub and its role in how to prevent swinging too hard in golf.

Let’s get started!

How to prevent swinging too hard in golf. A golfer prepares to take a shot.

Swinging Too Hard – What does it Actually Look Like?

Many golfers find themselves swinging too hard without realizing it.

Because our eyes remain fixed on the golf ball during the backswing, it can be tricky to observe how far our club is being drawn back behind our shoulders and how much effort we’re putting into the shot.

If the club is out of position at the top of the swing then it will take some complex compensation from the player to get the club path back on track and deliver consistent contact with the ball.

Generally, a swing that is deemed too hard is characterized by the club shaft moving beyond the parallel point to the ground at the top of the backswing.

The larger the takeaway, the more effort required and room for error in the downswing.

Having said this, not all swings are the same in golf – one player’s maximum capacity swing will be different from the next.

John Daly’s swing is a great example of a player mastering the art of delivering consistent contact with the ball via a much larger swing than is recommended.

If you can pull off a reliable strike via a Daly-esque backswing, then hats off to you!

We find the main causes of over swinging are:

  • The lead arm (left arm for right-handed players) being allowed to bend in the takeaway.
  • The trail elbow lifting towards the sky, creating that chicken wing or baseball posture we want to avoid in our backswing.

You can put all the effort in the world into your golf swing, but if you can’t meet the ball reliably then it isn’t going to fly nearly as far or as accurately as you intended.

A golfer watches his shot.

Hard Swing Vs Powerful Swing

What lots of amateur golfers forget is there’s a difference between a hard swing and a powerful swing.

The main key to a powerful swing is where club velocity is maximized at the point of contact.

While over swinging is discouraged, power and speed can still be generated in abundance during the golf swing when the club works in synchronicity with the body. 

The most successful swings in golf are when power is generated effortlessly, for example, through correct weight transfer or when the wrists create lag and whip in the downswing.

If you’re swinging too hard in golf it’s likely your tempo and precision are off in the swing and striking the ball pure becomes at risk.

With that in mind, let’s talk about a solution for how to prevent swinging too hard in golf!

How To Prevent Swinging Too Hard In Golf – Bringing enough clubs

So, you want to hit the ball further but want to avoid swinging too hard?

This is where the golf bag comes into play.

If you’ve ever wondered why players need so many clubs in golf, it’s for this reason precisely: There’s always a club in your bag to cover your back in any situation.

This is so you don’t need to push your swing beyond its limits to make your target distance.

Related article: Gapping Golf Guide: How To Gap Your Golf Clubs To Shoot Lower Scores

As each club has its distinct level of loft, you can be clever with your choice of club to avoid making reckless changes in your swing.

Taking enough club is one straightforward fix for how to prevent swinging too hard in golf.

Let’s unpack this!

A golfer makes a shot while three other golfers watch.

The Overclub Explained – How Can It Help? 

You might have come across the term overclub or clubbing up in golf, but what do they mean?

To overclub is to take a shot with a golf club that will grant you more carry distance than what is required to make the destination of your target.

If you’re in a position where you think your club is too short or lofted to get your ball to the target, then the temptation is to overcompensate by taking a larger-than-life swing to make up that extra distance.

This isn’t the outcome we want since over swinging in this way will increase the chances of losing your balance and the proper tempo required to make a good golf shot.

To prevent swinging too hard in this situation, you can overclub by selecting a longer club that yields more yardage than you need.

This means you can keep your swinging capacity at a comfortable constant, or indeed even less, to still reach your required distance.

Let’s give an example.

If you’re playing an approach shot, say about 150 yards distance from the green, to reach the pin with a pitching wedge, you would have to swing much harder than normal to get there safely.

This in turn diminishes your chances of striking the ball well enough to get there in the first place.

In this scenario, you might opt to overclub by selecting a 9 iron over your pitching wedge which would comfortably make the distance with a swing requiring less effort.

This is where familiarizing yourself with your average yardage for each club in the bag comes in handy.

Remember this: There’s always a club option to cover your distance if you’re finding you’re stretching to make up a distance with a club that’s too short.

This is in contrast to underclubbing, or, to club down in golf where you would choose a shorter club than the distance required.

A golfer makes a shot with another golfer in the distance.

Considerations With The Overclub

Overclubbing can be used to your advantage for granting further carry distances without added effort in your swing.

It is important, however, to know exactly when to overclub during your round.

Weather conditions can affect the clubs and swings you choose in golf.

If you’re playing a ball into a strong headwind, for instance, overclubbing can be a handy tool to compensate for swinging any harder with the club you would normally select to combat the air resistance on the ball.

Equally, if there’s a strong wind blowing behind you then you might be overclubbing without realizing it since the wind is going to assist the ball’s carry distance naturally.

One thing’s for sure, you don’t want to be overclubbing by accident which can lead to overshooting your pin.

A common example of overclubbing unintentionally is when your target is lower in altitude than where you hit the ball from, i.e. if the green is located downhill from you.

If you’re striking the ball from higher up than your destination, then it will spend longer in the air and travel further, while also rolling further on landing.

In this case, you might opt to underclub instead so you don’t overshoot the pin.

Other factors which affect the need to club up or down in golf include the conditions of the lie you play out of and also the condition of the ball itself – whether it’s new or not.

The density and grain of your terrain can affect the amount of spin the ball naturally has in flight, and newer (harder) golf balls tend to travel further than older (softer) ones.

Overclub accordingly and get smart with your game strategy to prevent swinging too hard!

A golfer at the peak of his backswing with a wood club.


Unless you’re John Daly, it’s unlikely you’ll reach your target consistently enough by over swinging if you want to score well in golf.

Swinging harder than you need to, however tempting, is only going to make achieving clean contact with the ball a much taller ask!

Golf is designed so that you rarely need to swing beyond your limits.

Always take a comfortable and efficient swing on one condition: You have enough club options to cover your back.

Next time you’re stretching to make up extra distance on the course, overclub to avoid swinging too hard in golf!

Make sure you don’t miss the golf ball with our guide to the golf whiff!

Photo of author
George Edgell is a freelance journalist and keen golfer based in Brighton, on the South Coast of England. He inherited a set of golf clubs at a young age and has since become an avid student of the game. When not playing at his local golf club in the South Downs, you can find him on a pitch and putt links with friends. George enjoys sharing his passion for golf with an audience of all abilities and seeks to simplify the game to help others improve at the sport!

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