It’s John Lynch here, and in this article Jeff Richmond is going to explain exactly what the swing plane is – in plain english. Understanding the golf swing plane is a crucial part of the golf swing needed to play consistent golf, so let’s get started…
The swing plane is a topic that is so often talked about as being a key for a consistent golf swing, but it’s never really discussed in clear detail.
Sure, there’s lots of material out there on the swing plane; the 1 plane swing, the 2 plane swing etc. But I’m going to try to get some clear instructions out there on this topic.
So today I’m starting with an explanation on what the swing plane is. And here is an email I received from a golfer, which clearly expressed the thoughts of many golfers I come into contact with….
“I have been told that sometimes my swing plane gets too steep, but I am not exactly clear on what that really means. Is the focus on the path of my hands, the path of the club head, where the shaft is pointing or what exactly? I initially thought it was just the relationship between the path of the shaft and Ben Hogan’s pane of glass swing plane. i.e., if the shaft is above the pane of glass it is too steep, and if it is under the glass, it is flat. Can you clear this up for me?”
There is a lot of confusion when it comes to the golf swing plane. Where the club shaft should be pointing, where the hands should be etc., etc. So let’s start looking into this interesting golf swing subject…
What Is The Golf Swing Plane?
When you start looking at the swing plane you can get confused – FAST!
It’s an area where the more scientific/engineer types seem to have a field day. And if you’re not that way inclined you can read and watch some stuff on the swing plane that will just give you a headache!
Now, the swing plane first became popular thanks to Ben Hogan and his image of a pane of glass.
When Ben Hogan was talking about the swing plane in terms of the pane of glass, he wanted the the left arm, hands, club etc. to stay below that pane of glass on the backswing and downswing.
But when Ben Hogan’s famous five lessons book was published in 1957, they didn’t have the technology like we do today to dissect the golf swing to the nth degree. And so the concepts of the swing plane have evolved a lot from the simple illustration that Ben Hogan gave us.
So what is the golf swing plane?
Well, the golf swing plane is an imaginary flat service that is used to determine what path certain parts of the body and club are traveling on throughout the golf swing.
This may sound stupid, but it has to be said…. the golf club cannot move itself.
A lot of times when people look at the swing plane they only look at the shaft. But the shaft is only moving as a result of the body movements. So you need to look very carefully at the plane your body is moving on when looking at swing plane.
There are three swing planes in the golf swing, and they are:
1. The backswing plane
2. The downswing plane, and
3. The follow-through plane
It’s important to note that I said above “certain parts of the body and club”, because when you swing your shoulders move on a plane. Your elbows move on a plane. Your hands move on a plane, your club moves on a plane etc, etc.
That’s why if you see someone analyzing a golf swing, they’ll draw a lot of lines to try to analyze what plane different parts of the body and club are moving on.
When you swing you’re obviously swinging in a circular pattern. And because you’re bent over when swinging your swing plane is tilted. How much it is tilted depends on the player’s height, how they stand to the ball, the club being used etc. etc. There’s a number of different variables.
So everyone will not have the same swing plane because of this. And so there’s no one exact swing plane for everyone. When I say that, I’m talking about absolute degrees of swing plane. But there are good reference points every golfer can use, and I’m going to dicuss these in this swing plane educational email series.
When you hear about swing plane you often hear people saying that “so and so” has a flat swing plane, or this golfer has a steep swing plane.
When people say that, what are they referring too?
Most of the time they are referring to the shaft angle. And a good checkpoint is halfway into the backswing. A famous golf pro who is said to have a flat swing plane is Zach Johnson. Here is a picture of Zac at the half-way point in his golf swing.
Zac uses a one plane swing to hit the golf ball. So anyone that is a fan of the one plane golf swing will not say that Zac’s swing is flat. They’ll say it’s on plane. That’s where golf instructors get into arguments.
Notice that at the half way point in his backswing the club shaft is pointing out side the ball.
Now compare that to probably the most extreme case of a two plane swing, and that is Jim Furyk. Look where the shaft is pointing at the half way point in his backswing.
If you compare those two swing planes, is there any wonder amateur golfers are confused about the swing plane?!
I imagine you’re the same as me, in that you would swap your golf playing record with either of those two players given the choice!
So the swing plane is a combination of the movement (arc) of the shoulders, arms, hands and club predominantly. And this is measured and analyzed with straight lines… so it’s 2d. I have seen 3d swing plane software and analysis, but for this article I’m not even going there!
I hope that’s a simple explanation and everyone is on the same page.
John and Jeff
About The Author:
The Golf Dude is owner of BestGolfTrainingAids.com and has reviewed hundreds of golf swing aid products. To learn more about the best selling golf training aid ever, John recommends you visit: medicus driver Reviews