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Definition of Swing Plane, Swing Path and the Swing Arc

flight path

Ball Paths Diagram

What is a Arc and the Swing Path?

A swing path is dictated by the arc the club-head follows during a golf swing!  The arc starts in the takeaway and works around the body until the club-head reaches the top of the swing. As the club head works back down to the ball toward the target the club 'should' follow the same arc down. When the bottom of the arc reaches the impact zone the arc dictates what path the club will follow. 

The swing path is the direction the club-head is traveling towards the target at impact. The swing path at impact can be either traveling right, left or straight at the target.

Swing paths that move too far left 'or' right of the target line are considered to be caused by faults in posture, set-up or the swing motion.

The perfect swing will have a swing arc that travels along the ideal swing plane, does not deviate from that swing plane and has a swing path traveling straight at the target.

Ball Flight Laws

The path of the hands in the hitting area provide the initial direction of the ball and the club-face angle at impact provides the curve or final destination that the ball will seek. The ball can start either towards the target, to the right of the target (push), or to the left of the target (pull). Off each path the ball can curve right (slice), left (hook), or continue straight. This gives us nine possible flight patterns of which only one is straight, as seen in the diagram to the left.

  1. Pull Hook
  2. Pull
  3. Pull Slice
  4. Hook
  5. Straight
  6. Slice
  7. Push Hook
  8. Push
  9. Push Slice

There are 2 important factors to keep in mind.

  1. The path of the hands in the hitting area or the path of the club-head in the hitting area
  2. The club-face angle at Impact. (see diagram to left).

Ball flight laws only apply when proper alignment is observed.

The diagram to the left shows how the ball comes off the club-face if the club-head isn't moving in the same direction that it is facing.

"A golfer's posture can define his swing path, most notably due to the take-away".

For example:

  1. An inside takeaway (club head moving inside too quickly) will likely cause a flat swing plane and a path through impact that goes to the right of the target.
  2. An outside takeaway (club-head moving outside too quickly) will likely cause an upright swing plane and a path through impact that goes to the left of target.

By stabilising the posture and body alignment you can create a neutral take-away and stop swing fault inconsistencies.

What is a Swing Plane?

A swing plane is the angle that the shaft of the club travels around the body during a golf swing.



The above 3D illustrations show the swing plane in blue shading and blue line and the swing arc in red.
The yellow arrow indicates the swing path pointing towards the target.

correct and incorrect swing plane

NOTE: The clock diagrams in the Get Fit to Golf program and web site illustrate both the incorrect swing arc indicated by
the blue line with arrows and the faded golfer (dressed in blue) with the purple line with arrows that shows
the correct swing arc traveling along the correct swing plane at impact.

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