Thanks to technology like Trackman we have never been so intimate with our golf swings. One phrase you hear a lot is swing path or club path and you often hear people talking about an inside out golf swing or outside-in golf swing.
It can all be very confusing and can muddy the waters when we are trying to learn how to swing the club properly or better. This article will set out to explain what is meant by an inside out golf swing and how you can use this to improve how you strike the ball.
The thing is, many of you reading this will already be very aware of the benefits of an inside out golf swing. You may know that this is the preferred swing path, you may have read the articles and watched the various YouTube videos telling you about how great it is.
The problem is that many struggle to actually pull it off. Don’t despair, the following text will go over all of that then give you some actionable advice to build this move into your game. There will be some drills thrown in as well to help you get the action right, read on to get inside out.
What is an Inside Out Golf Swing?
To best describe an inside out golf swing, we will first establish what a neutral swing is. If you drew a straight line from the target to the ball then swung the club so that through impact the club stayed on that line, you have a neutral swing.
With that in mind, an inside out swing would be one where the club starts its impact journey from slightly inside this line, closer to the golfer, then after impact crosses the line on the other side and up to a finish.
Why Would You Want an Inside Out Swing?
There are many reasons why this is a club path that you should be trying to create during your swing. It is important to point out that this is such a small move that you’ll barely feel it, if at all. Below are some of the main benefits of this swing path with a bit of an explanation.
To use an analogy from another sport, think of a tennis player blasting a forearm down the line. If you watch that action with your golf mind on, you will notice that it takes an inside out swing with the racquet. This allows the player to use their lower body to really drive power into the shot.
Back to golf, where the dynamics of the movement are incredibly similar, that same path can help you fully utilize the ground to develop power. Think of how Rory McIlroy blasts into impact as an example.
As the club drops down inside the neutral line, your body has to work hard to get the club to a good position at impact. This is not a bad thing as that hard work translates into a really athletic move which creates extra power and speed through the ball.
Better golfers are better because they have developed consistency, once you have the consistency you can start to fine-tune control. Why is this being mentioned? Well, if you swing the club on an inside to out path, it is far easier to get that consistency going,
The main reason for this is that your bigger muscle groups are in charge of the movement. It also means that your hands and arms tend to be less important and so you can use them to fine-tune the clubface through impact.
Allowing your bigger muscles to control your golf swing will help you over a round of golf too. Smaller muscles tire faster so it is good for endurance to swing inside out and let those larger muscles take charge of your action.
Should a Golf Swing be Inside Out or Outside In?
Anyone who watches tour golf will notice that the many top pros out there swing the club in unique ways. From textbook swings like Ernie Els and Adam Scott to moves like Matthew Wolffe and Jim Furyk, swings take many forms but you can be sure that through the impact they are similar.
The quick answer to that question is that your swing should almost always be inside out. There are times when this is not the case and an outside-in swing will benefit you more.
Why Inside Out?
We’ve dug into this one already, above, but it is worth saying again that under normal circumstances, the inside out swing will bring big benefits. Apart from all of the benefits listed in the previous section, you will get a much more solid strike. Is it always better though?
When is Outside in Better?
There are a couple of occasions when you need to break from convention and alter your club path through the ball. These situations probably only happen a few times in a normal round, hopefully, but knowing when to flip things around can really help.
Different Shot Combinations
When you find yourself in a greenside bunker an outside-in swing is going to help you. If you think about the textbook bunker shot set-up, your body is aiming left of the flag (for right-handers) and the sand wedge is going to swing along that line your body makes.
Swinging outside-in can help you lift the ball up and out of the bunker in a cushion of sand. It will help you get height on the ball more quickly and generate more spin control for when the ball lands on the green.
Greenside Recovery Shots
Very much in-keeping with the bunker shot mentality, shots like flop shots require an outside-in swing path. If you need to lift the ball up over a hazard then stop it quickly on the green and don’t have much room to play with, an outside-in swing on a flop shot will help you.
One other time where outside-in could help you would be if you are stuck behind a tree or a similar hazard. If you need to get incredible side-spin on the ball to hit that miraculous slice to escape trouble, an outside-in swing can deliver this.
In this case, setting up to the left of the hazard coupled with the outside in swing can help you start the ball way left of the hazard. Striking the ball with an open face will then impart that spin to bring the bag back from that starting line toward your target.
How Do You Hit it From the Inside?
This is the million-dollar question and many coaches out there have the definitive answer to this, or so their marketing says. There are a few things that you can do to help you get into a good position during the swing and get that inside out movement going.
The First Move
One issue that is often raised when thinking about club path is the transition between the backswing and the downswing, specifically that first move on the way down. Many amateur golfers will get to the top of their swing in a nice position, then in a split second ruin everything.
The problem here tends to be that golfers throw their hands at the ball in an attempt to generate clubhead speed. This is a killer and can often lead to an over the top swing which is more of an outside-in swing.
Instead of your hands making the first move in your downswing, you should start to get the feeling that your hips are leading the movement. Feeling like your body is turning into the shot whilst your hands are left behind can help you get the club into “the slot”.
Finding “the slot”
When watching golf analysts review the swings of the world’s best, they will often talk about ”the slot”. This refers to the player getting the club on plane halfway through the downswing which lends is a precursor to that inside out swing path.
Once you have developed that feeling of leading the downswing with your hips, the next move is to get your elbow into your pocket. This is another feeling to try to get during your swing where you bring your back elbow down towards the trouser pocket on that side.
This feeling is you really bringing that club down on plane then getting the club inside in order to blast out through impact. To see this in a very exaggerated fashion, look up the practice swings of Alex Noren or Justin Rose.
Release the Hands
If you have managed to get the two feelings described above then you are well on your way. This is going to take practice and many missed shots so try to be patient, please. The next and final thing to consider is your release through impact.
For this, start to think about your club literally hitting the side of the ball closest to you and driving the club diagonally through the ball. Release your hands through the ball and away from your body up to a high finish.
One of the best ways of cementing a new swing move into your game is to run through some drills during your practice time. It’s easy to go to the range and mindlessly pound golf balls but adding drills helps you work on specific mechanical issues.
The Headcover Drill
Take the headcover from one of your woods and put it under your trailing armpit, right for righties, left for lefties. Now take a few practice swings to get used to that feeling then hit some balls with the headcover in there.
The idea here is that the headcover should stay in your armpit until the very end of your swing. This can only be achieved by swinging the club inside out, if you go outside in then it will fall off during the downswing.
A very simple way of working on the swing path is to layout an alignment stick or place a tee away from the ball on that outside follow through-line. Both of these can act as a visual cue that your club has to extend along that line or toward that tee and help you get inside out.
You could make it harder by adding an obstacle. Place something on the ground in front of the ball that, if you were to swing outside in, you would hit. This could be something like a coin that will provide another mental cue to help you improve that club path.
The Impact Bag
Impact bags used to be so fashionable on tour but have fallen out of favor, they can add real value to your practice and they are very much worth buying. Get yourself one and fill it with old towels. Now practice your swing and hit the bag instead of golf balls.
As the bag is far bigger, you can start to see where your club is hitting the bag. Try to start hitting the back of the bag on the side nearest to you, this will help you develop the inside out-swing. Please don’t hit the bag too hard, full speed swings can injure you so swing it slowly.
The golf swing is a very quick and athletic movement and the downswing is over in the blink of an eye. It can be so difficult to make changes during this split-second movement but small changes can make huge differences to your ball flight and your golf game.
By working hard to develop an inside-out golf swing you can gain distance, control, and consistency which will all contribute to lower scores. The benefits are there, if you put in the hard work on the range you can become a great striker of the golf ball. Just practice and persevere.