You’ve heard me talk about “swing plane” in my golf tips. And you’ve probably read about it in golf magazines. The concept confuses some golfers. They’re not sure exactly sure what it is or how it affects their scores or golf handicaps. This “golf lesson” on swing plane defines it, discusses its impact, and details how to choose which swing plane is right for you.
Swing Plane Simplified
Simply put, swing plane describes the two basic ways of swinging a club. One-plane swingers start their swings on the same plane as their shoulders. Their swings are a little rounder and flatter than two-planers’ because one-planers tend to swing around their bodies. They envision the golf ball as something they propel forward, like a tennis forehand smash.
Two-planers see things differently. They don’t start their swings on the same plane as their shoulders, but on a more upright plane. Their swings are steeper and straighter than one-planers’ because they tend to swing up and down. They have to drop down to the shoulder lane to hit the ball effectively. Two-planers envision a golf ball as something to lift, like shoveling snow.
Neither swing type is better than the other, as I’ve explained in my golf tips. Justin Rose, Ernie Els, and Vijay Singh are one-planers. Tom Watson, Karrie Webb, and Colin Montgomery are two-planers. All have done well on the PGA Tour.
But you need to decide which you are. The problem is that both swing types have different fundamentals and different swing keys, which golfers must ingrain to achieve consistency. Inconsistency creeps in when golfers mix the fundamentals of one swing type with those of the other.
One-planers must learn to maintain the right plane angle and not swing back too flat. One-planers tend to pull hard with their left hands (right hands for left-handed swingers) during the downswing. When they do, the club tends to flatten and fall behind them. It also opens the clubface, so one-planers have to quickly “flip” their hands to hit the ball square.
Many one planer’s use what many players call the “magic move.” Instead of pulling the left hand down hard, they start the downswing by dropping their right arm straight down and rotating their left forearm rotate toward the ground. This move keeps the club on plane through impact. And keeps the clubface square to the ball. If you use this move, your arms will feel “short” and connected to your body turn.
Two-planers must learn to turn their hips during their swings to generate power and consistency. Most two-planers raise their clubs just fine when they start their swings, but don’t turn their hips. That may be because they’ve been told to restrict their hip turn to generate power and maximize distance. The opposite is true. You must turn your hips to generate enough swing arc and clubhead speed for a power-laden swing.
A two-planer’s biggest challenge is feeling the clubhead must close aggressively on the downswing to keep from missing right (left for left-handers). As a result, the clubhead goes out and around and cuts across the ball from the outside. Instead of lifting the club and closing the clubface, the two planer needs to swing the club to waist high on the backswing with the toe pointing straight up. On the downswing, he or she holds off the body turn and pulls with your left forearm. The club automatically slots to the inside.
Keys To Success
If you’re a one-planer, the right-arm is your key to success. At the start of your downswing, keep your elbow up and to your side, but let the right forearm drop. This keeps your arms tight to your chest. Then fire the right hand at the ball, feeling the clubhead close for a draw and open for a fade. Practice hitting shots using just your right arm to learn the proper feel of a one-plane swing.
If you’re a two-planer, the left arm is your key to success. You must keep your arms in front of your body. One way to do this is to imagine yourself turning your shoulders while making a Karate chop with your left arm. The weight of the club produces the up and down movement you need. Practice hitting draws and fades with just your left hand to get the feel of the two-plane swing. Hit the outside edge of the ball for a draw and the inside edge for a fade.
One Plane or Two Planes
So which are you? Here’s how I suggest you decide in my golf tips: If you’re flexible, have a strong upper body, and make an aggressive move through the ball, a one-plane swing is probably best for you. If you aren’t as strong or flexible and you tend not to make an aggressive move through the ball, you’ll probably benefit more from a two-plane swing.
Every player has a natural swing plane. That doesn’t mean you can’t learn to swing with the other swing plane. It just means that your potential is higher using your natural swing plane. Keep in mind that it’s difficult changing swing planes once you’ve learned to hit either way, even if you take a lot of golf lessons.
Determine whether you’ re a one-plane or a two-plane swinger based on the suggestions in my golf tips. Once determined, work hard on perfecting your swing in practice, keeping the fundamentals and challenges in mind. Ingrain the swing during practice. During a round, concentrate on your target, not your mechanics. Choosing the right swing plane will help you achieve lower scores and cut strokes from your golf handicap.
Jack Moorehouse is the author of the best-selling book “How To Break 80 And Shoot Like The Pros.” He is NOT a golf pro, rather a working man that has helped thousands of golfers from all seven continents lower their handicap immediately. He has a free weekly newsletter with the latest golf tips, golf lessons and golf instruction.