The Power Issue: Learn to swing in to out

My tips for beating the over-the-top downswing and putting more pop in your tee shots

August 2008
Rick Smith

Ever watch a PGA Tour telecast and wonder how those guys hit 8-irons 180 yards? The biggest reason is their swing path. The testing described on the preceding pages proves that if your downswing doesn't come from inside the target line -- like a tour pro's does -- you're giving up chunks of yardage. I'll show you how to fix the faults that throw your swing to the outside.

Before we get started on swing faults, make sure your setup includes these things: (1) The creases between your thumbs and forefingers are parallel and pointing to the right side of your face; (2) Your shoulders are parallel to your target line; (3) Your ball position is just in front of center for irons and under your shirt logo for woods. Setup errors can cause an out-to-in path, so check there first.

You're Too Far Inside

When I talk about the inside path, I'm talking about the downswing. You might think if you swing the club to the inside going back (above right), you'll be in position to swing down that way. But getting too far inside too soon encourages you to re-route the club to the outside -- known as coming over the top -- the very thing you're trying to avoid.

Solution: check the shoulders and wrists. It's the job of your shoulders to move the club around your body. Simultaneously, it's the job of your wrists to move the club vertically. This combination move creates the perfect backswing. Make sure you're hinging your wrists up (above left), not just turning your shoulders, which pulls the club inside.

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