Pro golfers keep their swing path — a buzzword-y way of saying, the direction of their swing — it a pretty neutral place. Within a few degrees either side of where they're aiming.
Amateur golfers? Well, their swing path gets pretty severe in a hurry.
There are basically two traps that golfers fall into with their swing path. The first is swinging too far from out-to-in, or to the left for right-handed golfers. It's the classic over-the-top move; if you hit a big banana slice which starts left and curves out to the right, then there's a good chance you're swinging too far to the left and with an open clubface.
Getting "stuck" is the opposite problem. That's when your arms get too far behind your body on the downswing. it means you swing too far from in-to-out, or excessively out to the right. It can lean to big blocks and hooks.
How do you go about solving these severe swing path issues? Well, Justin Thomas gave some interesting insight in a recent Instagram post about it.
The method: Using golf swing obstacles
JT's been spending the offseason grinding on his golf swing, and when he does, you'll often notice him practicing using different obstacles. This week, he explained why:
I’ve always been somebody who responds well to objects to help me get where I want (bucket of balls gets me swinging left naturally, stick helps me not suck it in going back).
Sticking obstacles in the way of the ball as you swing is a pretty rudimentary, but very effective, way of getting your swing moving in your desired direction. Your goal is simply to swing around the obstacle. If you can do that, your golf swing will land in a better spot.
2 obstacle drills you can use
Golf Digest Top 50 Teacher Chris Mayson has a great faults and fixes video series about different swing path issues (which you can check out right here) and in it he suggests two drills:
To counter the over-the-top, swing-too-far-left issue, Mayson suggests putting a towel just outside the toe of the club. Your goal, obviously, is to not hit the towel, which you won't be able to do if you come over-the-top.
To counteract the too inside-out move, then you need to place an obstacle behind the golf behind, so you swing through it before you hit the ball. Here, Chris uses an alignment stick.
Again you can check out the series here. And remember: When you choose an obstacle, make sure to choose something safe.