The Correct Swing Plane

Mark Oswald
General Manager
The Highlands at Dove Mountain in Marana, AZ.
Marana, AZ

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Are you coming over the top on your downswing? For the right handed golfer, this swing path gives you the shot pulled left of your target that can turn into a pull hook, straight pull, or pull slice. With the pull hook, the club path starts the ball left and a closed club face makes the ball hook further left. The straight pull shot starts left and stays left with the club face square with the path. The final option, with the outside-in swing path, is the pull slice; this ball starts left and slices right due to the open club face.

You can tell your club path by looking at your divot with the iron. Your divot should be going directly at the target to have a square path. If the divot is pointing left of your target, you have the most common path, the outside-in path. If the divot is pointing right of the target, you have the inside/out path. 

From the divot you can tell what the club path is at impact, but what is causing you to go off line and when is it occurring in the swing? The only way to answer that question 100% is to view your golf swing with a quality video analysis system and a trained PGA Professional. With the assistance of a high speed system, you can slow the swing down to see the details of your swing and see when the club is coming off line and the instructor can help you determine the cause of your swing going off the line.

The swing path can get outside of your target line right at the start of the backswing if you take the club back with your hands and break or bow the wrists, pushing the club away from your body and over the target line. Take the golf club away with your left shoulder and firm left arm rotating around your body. Continue taking the club back with these keys until positioning the club over your right shoulder at the top of the backswing. 

Where most golfers get off line, is starting the downswing. A major factor for getting the club outside or over the top is starting down with the hands first. For the right handed golfer, you will find the right hand taking over and starting the club down by casting the club over the line. The term casting is similar with casting a fishing line with your right hand. This flipping of the wrists puts the club out of position for the way down. Another factor in contributing to this over the top path is allowing the right elbow to push your hands over the line. If the right elbow is too far behind your shoulder line, leverage will take over and you will force the hands toward the ball and not allow them to drop into the desired plane. The proper position for the right elbow would be under your hands and keeping your forearm vertical at the top. Take the club back and look at your right forearm and elbow, are they lined up?

To correctly start the downswing, begin with the lower body and drop your right elbow to your side. Starting the downswing with the lower body shifting weight from the right foot to the left foot will increase your power as well as help you to get on the correct path back towards the target. As you start this weight shift, drop your right elbow to your side.  This will also drop the club down on the correct downswing plane.

The correct swing plane will get your club traveling down the line of the target with greater consistency and power.

For more information, contact Mark at