Swing path is always considered in relation to the target line. Most of you know of the two potentially problem causing swing paths… out to in and in to out, but what exactly is an ideal swing path? The ideal swing path is in to in. This swing path simply meets the target line for a split second at impact as the club squares, the video to the right will explain it better.
This image is great at clarifying the differences between the swing paths more effectively. An out to in swing path, starts with the downswing outside the target line and then comes into impact cutting inside across the ball (this is your classic over the top swing path), which leads to a pull or pull slice. An in to out swing path which causes your classic push, occurs with a downswing that travels from inside but as it continues into impact it begins to swing outside the target line to the right (out).
I’m going to go a bit more in depth to the definition and causes of your swing path below, but it’s rather detailed, so keep that in mind.
You’ll notice that with either these swing paths, the backswing doesn’t particularly matter. You can come over-the-top or attack the ball from the inside with a backswing that starts either inside or outside the target line. However, as the video above just explained, the backswing has a big affect on what happens on your downswing into impact. This is because your backswing will set you in a position at the top that will encourage a specific swing path.
To be more specific – an inside backswing tends to loop to the outside on the downswing, leading to your classic over -the-top move. An outside backswing will usually loop inside on the downswing because it sets you into a flared position at the top – this position sets your shoulders more behind your body, ideal for an inside attack.
So to clarify, when we talk about out-to-in, in-to-out or in-to-in swing paths we are talking about the motion of the downswing only. Finally, your backswing path will encourage a specific downswing path – but it doesn’t have to define it. Meaning that there are exceptions to every rule.
By taking a close look at your backswing path and swing path, you can get a better understanding of how it affects your ball flight. In the future, when you start hitting a pull or a push, you’ll know exactly why, and you’ll be able to fix it – even if you are the exception to the rule.