By Paul Macleod
Swing plane. To be honest, this is a little understood position in the golf swing. Actually it's not really a position that you can put yourself into. It's more like a place that varies and you go through the places.
Kind of like a roadway. One that is on an angle.
Try this in your mind. If you are old enough you will remember the hoola hoop. For those who don't, it's just a piece of plastic that is exactly round. It is, maybe four feet or so in diameter. Got it? The use of it is not important for this discussion.
But the shape of it is.
So let's make a hoola hoop that measures three feet more than your height in diameter. So if you are five feet eight inches tall, then your hoola hoop will be eight feet, eight inches in diameter.
So no matter your height you will have the correct size hoola hoop if you just add three feet to it's diameter over your height.
That was easy. Right?
So to get an understanding of what swing plane is and how it affects your golf swing let's do the following.
Take your hoola hoop and stand it straight up and down. Or vertical. Perpendicular to the ground.
Now step inside it. Put you feet on top of it. And just stand on it. It should be exactly three feet over your head.
If this were your swing plane could you hit a golf ball? This means that your club would follow the hoola hoop up and down and all around it. So if you did that with the hoola hoop in this position, could you hit a golf ball?
Remember we are doing this mentally. So for you that are looking for your hoola hoop, it's in your head. No where else.
Now place a golf ball on the ground, and get into a set up position to the ball. Take the bottom of the hoola hoop and place it on top of the golf ball. Mentally! In your head.
Now lean the hoola hoop toward you. Now you should be standing inside the hoola hoop. And the hoola hoop is leaning toward you at some unknown angle.
This angle is a swing plane. It is the roadway that your club will travel. And it is an angle.
You have heard the terms, flat swing or upright swing, these are terms of swing plane. No two people would have the exact same angle or swing plane. It is something that is your own. But you do have control over it.
You can vary your swing plane just by standing more upright or by bending over more. Bending over more will result in your hoola hoop being a tad flatter and standing up right will give you a more upright swing plane.
So the path you club travels relative to an angle to the ground is swing plane. It is not the same thing as just swing path. Swing path doesn't include the angle and is more relative to the target line. Like is it an inside out or outside in swing path.
So swing plane and swing path or clubhead path are not the same animal and we are talking about swing plane. It's an angle.
One that the club travels on and it is generally thought of as only on the downswing.
There are several types of swing planes as well. Single plane and two plane.
Now it gets a bit dicey. I think I will save that conversation for another time. Let's just say that most players have a different plane on the downswing than they had on the backswing.
Once again Jim Furyk comes to mind. That would be a perfect example of a two plane swinger. Two plane is generally more up right while a single plane swinger would be flatter. Or more around.
Taller people often prefer to use a two plane swing. Shorter folks often do better with a more round or one plane swing. But not always. Want to test drive one of them?
Let's just try a one plane swing for the heck of it.
Ok .. get into your set up position. We are going to change your grip first just a bit. You will want to have a stronger right hand on the clubhead. More to the right or on the side of the club, careful not to get it under the club.
Make sure in your setup that you have ample knee flex and you have bent over from the hips a tad more than you may have normally. Now take the club away making sure you have a bent right wrist. Bent back toward your forearm. Keep your spine angle the same as set up. Turn to the right and load up onto the right leg.
Now instead of lifting your arms up above your shoulders, take them around your right shoulder. Flat. Almost like a baseball swing. I said almost, you can get too flat, we don't want that.
Your right wrist should be bent back and in the trayed position. Your hands should be slightly behind your right shoulder and lower than you are used to. You should have maintained your spine angle that you had at set up. And your left shoulder should be visible under your chin.
Now bump your hips left and keep you right elbow close to your body. Fire the whole thing at the ball from the inside. Go hard at hit from this very powerful position. This is not a place for sissies. Your objective is to more or less fling the clubhead at the ball using your bodies excellent shift from the right side to the left side. This is a wicked powerful move.
This flatter swing will help get inside the ball while providing tremendous power and accuracy as long as you do all the other moves correctly too.
This swing plane is the most direct route to the ball. But be cautious, it isn't for everyone. Some are much better suited for a two plane swing that is more upright.
The objective here is not to convince you to use one or the other. More to help explain what swing plane is.
It's an angle.
I love angles in the golf swing. It is truly the source of power and accuracy. Angles equal leverage, leverage equal power, power equals distance. No angles no leverage no leverage no power no power no distance.
Here are some angles to look for. The angle between the right wrist and the right forearm, the angle between the club shaft and the right arm, the angle of the swing plane, the angle of your spine at set up. All great angles that, fi done correctly will be maintained throughout the swing and into impact.
Power is a result of great angles.
Swing plane is not really an exciting topic, I know that. But it is part of the whole picture. One thing that is exciting are the four magic moves that are new and little known.
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