The 5 Different Types of Golf Swings & The Pros/Cons of Each

Jim Furyk is living proof that an unorthodox golf swing can still lead you to success on the PGA Tour. You needn’t conform to the textbook approach because different golf swings may work better for you. In this post, I cover the main types of golf swings and the shots they produce.

I will discuss the hands and arms, closed coil, inside-out, outside-in, and single plane golf swings. Plus, I shall highlight the benefits and downsides of each setup to help you determine the ideal option for you.

 

The 5 Main Types of Golf Swings Movement

1. Hands & Arms Swing

If you initiate limited lower body rotation during your swing, it leads to a reliance on your hands and arms. This is known as the hands and arms swing. Although it can help you hinge the golf club and optimize club head speed, it exposes you to inaccurate shots.

The lack of hip turn typically results in golfers producing a steep angle of attack. This leaves you susceptible to topping your shot or a slice. Plus, it is difficult to bring your club onto its swing plane and can cause you to leave your clubface open at impact. That prompts left to right sidespin, inducing a slice.

Mark Crossfield explains that an amateur golfer hits better iron shots than woods with this swing. The steep angle of attack requires you to pick the clubhead up before impact to avoid hitting behind the ball.

When the ball position is forward in your stance with a driver swing, you might struggle to get the club on plane for impact. When you get your shaft is in position at the bottom of your downswing, the corrective action reduces momentum and power at impact.

Pros

  • The additional time in the air generates increased clubhead speed
  • Helps players remain centered during their swing
  • Produces a high trajectory
  • Suited to taller golfers
  • Allows more freedom of movement

Cons

  • Susceptible to topping your shot
  • It is hard to control the clubhead at the top of the swing, sending it off plane.
  • It can cause imbalance by shifting weight in the wrong direction at impact and on your follow-through.

 

2. Closed Coil Swing

I explained the mechanics of the closed coil golf swing in a previous post, so I will be brief. Simply put, this swing helps you maximize spring when you reach the top of the backswing, prompting optimal force on your downswing.

The additional speed generated when coiling promotes a superior coefficient of restitution (COR) at impact for optimal ball speed. Therefore you enjoy a consistent mid to high launch for improved yardage.

Unlike the hands and arms swing, the closed coil set-up demands optimal rotation of the hips to generate the necessary power. In addition, failure to coil sufficiently could lead your club off plane, resulting in an off-center strike.

Golf coach Dan Whittaker provides an informative visual breakdown explaining how to execute a closed coil swing.

Pros

  • Optimizes power
  • Suited to senior players as it carries less injury risk than other swings
  • Promotes increased COR at impact.
  • It makes it easy for casual golfers to get the club on plane for increased accuracy.
  • Encourages rapid ball speed

Cons

  • You need to maximize your lower body’s rotation to get your clubface square at impact.
  • The clubhead’s at the top of your backswing can feel awkward. That may cause you to try and correct the path and come over the top.

 

3. Inside-Out Swing

The inside-out golf swing refers to the path your golf club journeys from takeaway through impact. Contrary to the closed coil swing, which focuses on hip rotation, this swing relies heavily on your torso.

On your takeaway, the combination of the rotation of your hips and upper body takes the clubhead inside. At the top of your backswing, shift your weight to your right shoulder and left leg. That prompts the clubhead to follow an outside path to the ball, with minor lag.

Producing sufficient rotation leads to a square or marginally closed clubface at impact. However, an off-tempo swing prevents you from bringing the club on plane when the shaft is parallel to the ground. As a result, you may angle the clubface incorrectly and prompt and slice or a hook.

Overall, the inside-out golf swing best suits those players looking to induce a draw or combat a slice.

Pros

  • Promotes straighter ball flight
  • Helps you hit a draw shape
  • Delivers increased distance over an outside-in swing.
  • Reduces the risk of a slice

Cons

  • If your rhythm is off and you clear your hips too quickly, your clubface may close at impact and prompt a hook.
  • Inadequate rotation can cause your clubface to remain open at impact leading to a slice.

 

4. Outside-In Swing

The outside-in-swing is commonly employed by amateurs and brings a host of risks. It reduces hip and shoulder rotation, lowering power at impact. Furthermore, it leads to you coming over the top and increases the risk of topping your shot.

In addition, the outside-in swing path may cause you to cut across your ball and generate right to left spin. That leads to a fade or a slice.

It is not the most efficient swing by any means. But, professional golfers may apply it when they are purposefully trying to hit a fade. Overall, there are more cons than advantages to using the inside-out golf swing.

Pros

  • Perfect swing to purposefully hit a fade
  • It can help you increase your clubhead speed

Cons

  • Causes slices
  • Reduces COR
  • Leaves you at risk of topping your shots

 

5. One-Plane Swing

A single plane swing (aka the one-plane swing) is ideal for the average golfer looking to remove the complexities from their swing. Golfweek explains that a two-plane swing requires more wrists and hands work to optimize power. However, a one-plane swing sees your body work as a unit.

At the top of your backswing, your arms should remain on the same plane as your shoulders. In addition, your right foot must remain grounded for supreme stability.

The one-plane swing is easy for beginners because of the transition from the top of your backswing down. Since your shoulders and arms are level, you needn’t wait to lower the club. That means you can proceed with your downswing and shift your weight to your left foot the moment you reach the top.

Therefore, you enjoy a free-flowing swing rhythm that generates supreme clubhead speed and power on your downswing. That leads to optimal distance off the tee and on approach.

Another advantage of the one-plane swing is the consistency that it gives you. Whether you are swinging a wedge or a driver, you can repeat the same backswing and follow through for a clean strike. The only element that changes is whether you position the ball closer to your left foot or the center of your stance.

Pros

  • Provides consistency
  • Less complex than a two-plane swing
  • Easier to keep the club on plane throughout the swing
  • Designed to combat slices

Cons

  • Keeping your left arm close to your chest can cause you to close the clubface before impact and hook your shot.

 

The Verdict…

After looking at the 5 main different types of golf swings, it is possible to make most of them work for you. While I suggest emancipating yourself from the hands and arms and outside-in swings, the rest are worth researching further.

If you are a senior player and need to reduce injury risks, I advise the closed coil golf swing. However, the inside-out swing is superb for accuracy and inducing a draw shape.

Finally, the single-plane setup enables you to grip it and rip it. It is a simple swing to replicate for improved ball striking, accuracy and distance.

 

Matt Stevens

Matt Callcott-Stevens started playing golf at the age of 4 when Rory Sabattini's father put a 7-iron and putter in his hand. He has experienced all the highs and lows the game can throw at you and has now settled down as a professional golf writer. He holds a Postgraduate in Sports Marketing and has played golf for 28 years.