Why Your Golf Swing Plane is Hurting Your Game

Golf Swing Plane

If you are new to golf or remember the first time you teed it up, you will remember all the lingo that came the game. To name a few there is mulligan, gimmie, block shots, bump and run, chunk, and duck shots. Then there is your golf swing plane.

What is a Golf Swing Plane?

No, it is not your new private jet. It is the term used to describe the path and direction of your golf club during the swing. The golf club travels in an arcing motion around your body. This path is your golf swing plane. There has been much taught about swing planes. There is the single plane golf swing and two plane golf swing. Let’s focus on just the basic principle of the swing plane itself.

The swing plane is determined by the angle of the shaft at address. Longer clubs are going to have a natural flat plane. Short irons are going to have a steeper swing plane. This all makes sense because longer clubs hit the ball at a shallow angle of attack. Short irons are going to hit ball at a steeper angle of attack, which calls for a steeper swing plane.

Why Does Swing Plane Matter?

The club should travel on this imaginary plane created at address. How you take the golf club back dictates how the club is going to travel on the downswing.

The club taken back on an inside path or below the swing plane can create an inside out move on the downswing. This type of downswing can create a push if the club is below plane.

The club taken back on an outside path or above the swing plane will create an over the top move on the downswing. The club approaches the ball above plane cutting across the ball through impact. This is what creates a slice. Most beginner golfers have perfected this downswing.

A few pro golfers do take the club back off plane but are on plane in the downsing. Jim Furyk is an example of taking his club back outside and then looping it back on plane on the dowswing. It is best though that the average golfer trys to keep things simple.

Is There Any Hope?

You might be wondering if there is any hope to fing your golf swing plane. There is definitly hope! The golf swing is a continous motion. There are many instructors who provide drills that teach where the club should be during the golf swing. Many golfers then start stopping mid back swing to see where the club is. Checking positions in the golf swing can become problematic because the swing is not a stop and go action. It becomes a distraction from focusing on the target.

Use golf drills that teach a correct swing path going back and coming through. Here are a few golf swing plane drills to get you on track.

Golf Swing Drills

Alignment Drill

One of the best ways to starting on plane is making sure your alignement is correct. There are two ways of checking your alignment while practicing on the range. First take some twine and tie each end to two separate golf tees. Stick the first tee in the ground and then align the second tee with your entended target. The string should be pointing at your target. You can now hit balls while using this string as your alignament tool. You can even place your ball on the piece of twine and hit balls off of it.

Second way to check your alignment is to take two clubs. Lay down your first club pointing to your intended target. Take the second club and place it 3 feet behind the first club pointing at the target. Both clubs should point to your intended target but there is a gap of about three feet between the two clubs, this is your hitting area.

Both alignment drills should be used to take the club back along the target line. Taking the club back on the target line will keep your club on plane.

One Arm Drill

You will know you are on plane by the way your club is releasing through the ball. For a right hand golfer, grip the club with just your left hand. Know take small practice swings and notice how your left hand and arm is releasing the club through impact. This drill is simple but will help you understand the feeling of releasing the club on your swing plane.

One Piece Takeaway

Taking the club back with your hand, arms, and shoulders will start the club back on the right path. A good drill to help get the feeling of this one piece takeway is to put the butt end of your club right into your stomach. Your hands should be gripping the club on the shaft. Now take the club back while keeping the golf club pressed into your stomach. In order to do the drill correctly your shoulders have to move the same time as your arms and hands.

Avoid using only your hands and arms, doing so will make the clubhead travel to the inside. Instead you want the club to move straight back. This can only be done if the shoulders rotate at the same time as the hands and arms.

Become a Hitting Machine

Practice these drills and get your club on the right swing plane. If your are interested in learning more about swing planes in depth then I suggest reading The Plane Truth for Golfers by Jim Hardy. It goes into depth about the differences between a single plane golf swine and a two plane golf swing.



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How to Increase Your Golf Swing Speed

Golf Swing Speed

Want to know how to increase your golf swing speed? Tired of having to lay up on the par 5 while all your buddies go for it? Even though distance only plays a small part of scoring well on the golf course, many golfers want in on the secrets of hitting the long ball.

The average golf swing speed for an amateur golfer is 93.4 mph. You will be surprised though how easy it is to increase your golf swing speed.

Golf Physics

Let’s talk physics for one second. I know you didn’t click on this page to read about physics but don’t just leave yet. A little understanding of the golf swing and how physics work will help you increase club head speed.

There are two motions occurring simultaneously in the golf swing. There is a rotational motion occurring with the shoulders, arms, wrists, and club. You can also say there is a horizontal movement occurring with your weight being shifted to the right side on the back swing and then back to the left on the downswing.

The model of the golf swing is a double pendulum. In a double pendulum there are two links. In the case of the golf swing, there are the shoulders and arms which rotate about the torso. The second link of the pendulum is the club and wrists. The club hinges from the wrists creating wrist cock.

Golf Physics

The angle that is formed between the wrists and the club is stored energy waiting to be released. The downswing is started by the unwinding of the shoulders and hips. At the same time there is a weight transfer being made with a rotating motion to the left.

The rotating motion of the shoulders starts the club to move back down towards the ball. The angle created with the hands and club has yet to be released. The release does not start occurring until the club starts to approach the ball. A perfect release will deliver the club head into the golf ball at its highest speed of the pendulum.

The release of the wrists in combination of the rotating hips and shoulders is what creates club head speed. A late release of the club head will mean the club head has not reached its peak velocity, but has already struck the golf ball. This creates lost energy. An early release of the club will mean club head has already surpassed its top velocity and is slowing down creating wasted energy.

Can you see why ball position is so important in the golf swing? Your ball position determines where the golf swing speed is the highest.

Let it Rip!

So…now that I have confused the heck out of you, are you ready to bomb it 300 yards. All joking aside there are ways to implement the proper release without having to think about all the physics stuff.

First step to increase golf swing speed is to maintain a light grip pressure throughout the entire golf swing. Golf grip pressure determines a natural release. Squeezing your golf club to death is going to make it difficult to have wrist cock in the back swing and a proper release on the down swing.
I like to compare my golf pressure to driving a car. I hold the steering wheel loose and I am not strangling it.

Second, there needs to be a proper weight shift. I know there is a lot of stuff out there about rotating around your center and keeping your head still, but, I believe there has to be some horizontal shift in the golf swing.

I believe there is weight shift in the golf swing because it is a natural movement in all sports. There is a natural weight shift towards a target in baseball, boxing, tennis, and so on. I think it is a great catalyst to start and finish the golf swing.

I do not believe that weight shift is the only component in taking the club back. There is a combination of weight shift and rotation at the same time.

Which leads me to the third step, rotation. The rotating motion of the shoulders and arms as one unit is going to get the club and wrists in the correct position at the top of the swing. A horizontal movement back to the left with an unwinding of the hips and shoulders is going to start the club back down towards the ball.

The end result if everything has been done correctly will be a properly released club head.
Here are some of my favorite drills to learn proper club release, weight shift, and rotation.


Split Grip Drill

For a right hander golfer, take your normal grip and now slide your right hand all the way down to the shaft. Your hands should be separated by at least 12 inches. Take small practice swings with your left and right arm pinned to your sides. Your right arms should stay above your left arm on the back swing and on the follow through.

Two Step Weight Shift Drill

Stand with your feet together and start your back swing by stepping to the right with your right foot. Do this motion while at the same time taking the club to the top of your swing. You should feel the weight shift to your right side by the time you complete your back swing.

Start your down swing by shifting the weight on the right side to your left side. As you strike the golf ball, start walking towards your target as you complete your backswing. Your right food should be the lead foot as you begin walking towards your target. The drill done properly will result in having your weight on your left side.

Two Club Swing Drill

To sync up your arms and shoulder turn use the two club swing drill. Take two clubs similar in length such as a driver and 3-wood. Holding both clubs, one in each hand, take the club to the top of the swing and back through to complete the golf swing. The clubs should remain the same distance apart from each other. If they crash into each other or become too far apart, then your arms and shoulder turn is out of sync. Repeat drill until you have an established feel for the proper rotation.

Keep it Simple

I bet you are eager to get to the range and get to work. Before you do, let me offer my opinion on distance verses accuracy. Unless you are a long drive champ, accuracy will trump distance when it comes to shooting lower golf scores.

In fact, the longer you hit it, the more accurate you should be on approach shots. A longer hitter is going to have wedges and short irons into greens more often. This means, he or she should knock it close every time in order to capitalize on distance.

If it was my choice, I would take accuracy over distance. I would rather hit more greens in regulation than 300 yard drives.

So go out there and increase your average golf swing speed above and beyond.

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