How important is your swing plane?

14 Professionals Contributed |
The correct technique. A male golfer getting help from his caddy on the golf course.
We asked our Backswing golf professionals about swing plane. What does it impact and what would they recommend for someone looking to improve this part of their swing. Some great responses as always.

Your swing plane is an essential element of your golf swing

Your swing plane is an essential element of your golf swing. It is the path your club moves when you swing, and it can significantly impact your ball’s trajectory, distance, and accuracy. A good swing plane allows you to hit the ball straighter, farther, and more consistently.

To improve your swing plane, here are a few tips:

1. Start by understanding what the proper swing plane should be. A good swing plane is slightly inclined, starting slightly inside the target line on the backswing, reaching the top of the swing, and returning somewhat inside the target line on the downswing.

2. Practice your swing in front of a mirror. This will help you visualize your swing plane and make adjustments as needed.

3. Use alignment sticks or a swing plane trainer to help you stay on the correct plane.

4. Keep your clubhead on the proper plane throughout your swing.

5. Work with a golf pro to identify any swing flaws that may be causing you to veer off your swing plane.

Improving your swing plane may take some time and practice, but the results will be worth it. A better swing plane can help you hit the ball farther, straighter, and more consistently, leading to lower scores and more enjoyable rounds of golf.

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Proper Swing Plane leads to Balance, Power, and Consistency

A golf club has an extended shaft that when addressed to a golf ball, creates a tilted angle. While the golfer is swinging, the ‘plane’ of that angle must be maintained throughout the swing to deliver the Club-head directly to the ball for impact. Since the golf swing plane is tilted, it’s not vertical like a Ferris wheel and it’s not horizontal like a Merry-Go-Round; a golfer has to learn how to properly swing on this tilted plane. My simple solution is to take your golf club and slowly swing back and forth and develop a rhythm that keeps you in balance. Keep this motion going until you can speed up the swing without losing control or balance.

Ideally, I recommend the Orange Whip because it is perfectly balanced with a counterweight that is equal to the head weight. This patented design is why so many golfers use it to easily develop their swing plane! Once you are on plane and in balance, you can learn to swing faster to gain additional speed for distance.

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Hitch Hike Your Way to a Better Swing Plane

If you swing the club steeply on the way down to the golf ball, chances are your thumbs are pointing straight to the sky. Try my “Hitch Hiking Drill”, which focuses on pointing your thumbs at the top of your swing, behind you. As if you’re hitch hiking your way to a better swing plane.

John Hughes Golf
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Many planes

Everyone has a specific plane based on their anatomy. A basic test for plane is to measure arm length (when measured from tip of your right index finger to tip of your left index finger when arms are out stretched parallel to the ground and your chest) vs. height. If your arms are longer than you are tall, typically you will fit into a more vertical swing plane, like Davis Love in his prime. If your arms are equal to your height you likely will fit a mid plane. That is where your lead arm will appear to be roughly parallel to your shoulder plane/tilt at the top of your swing. If your arms are shorter than your height you should trend to a flatter plane. Like Matt Kutcher whose lead arm never gets as high as his trail shoulder in the backswing.

All of these have some variability and deserve to be tested. Mid plane could be a little above or below the shoulder plane. I believe this is a complicated subject may well need to be addressed by a golf professional in a lesson. That is how I determine where to lead a student.

The Golf Center at the Highlands
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What is swing plane?

When instructors talk about “plane” as a player you have to be careful. There are arm planes and shoulder planes etc etc etc. when I think of plane I teach shaft plane. Unless you are Bryson D every club in your bag has a different shaft plane. It’s like that on purpose because it contributes to proper gapping between clubs. But quite simply swing plane determines club path. If the face is square at address and the shaft swings perfectly on plane the face stays very square so therefore swing plane is the key to better shots. Two definitions of correct plane…when the shaft is parallel to the target line it should also be parallel to the ground. And when the shaft is not parallel to the ground it should point at the target line! Food for thought! Good golfing!

PGA Golf Professional
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Check Your Plane

There are lots of debates over swing plane. The truth is swing plane is rather simple. The club must travel on a more vertical plane versus horizontal. A simple drill and check for plane is as follows. From the setup position, with your elbows resting on you your rib cage, hinge your forearms up with the club. The club should be in line with your trail shoulder. From there simply coil your shoulders back. That is where the club should be if on plane.

To check your plane, simple place a shaft on the ground on the ball line and place a shaft on the ground along your toe line. The but end of the club needs to point somewhere between the two shafts on the ground to be on plane. If it doesn’t point between the two shafts, the club is off plane and will feel much heavier. The club should always feel light and in balance when on plane.

PGA Golf Pro
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Plane.

Swing plane is misunderstood. TrackMan has essentially redefined it as follows. – The vertical angle of the plane relative to the horizon defined by the club head’s center of gravity movement prior to impacting the golf ball. It other words it is NOT the attitude of the golf club in the backswing or in transition. Prior to impact are the operative terms. That is the only inclined plane measurement that matters.

The Rookery At Marco

More important than you think!

While face angle plays the largest part in shot shape, how you get the face to impact matters. From a consistency standpoint having a repeatable plane can make a world of difference. Really the only way to know what your swing plane is doing is using some technology and trusting a coach to help you with it.

Canyon Springs Golf Course
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At least until waist high !

I try to train myself and my students to have some awareness of an imaginary plane that is approximately 60 deg for irons and wedges, and 45 degrees for the woods! From the takeaway training to have the shaft move away from the ball backward upwards and inwards 60deg while maintaining the radius of the swing, until the club is parallel to the ground on the backswing , help eliminate many common errors we see in the golf swing. As the right arm folds more the club will go more vertical and off that plane, which you should try to return to on the downswing !

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Your Swing Plane is Critical at Impact

Every time you watch the Golf Channel or pick up a golf magazine at some point the words swing plane will come up. To understand what this is think of the butt of your club pointing at the ball line on the backswing and follow through. This would be the thought with any full swing shot. Personally I don’t think you can keep the club in a single plane, I like to see the back swing plane a little more vertical and when you shift your weight toward the target the club will drop into plane. So as you can see the club drops slightly with shift the way Couples, Trevino, Furyk and on and on attack the ball. Set the club into plane with your wrists and let it shallow into the perfect angle by impact, the money move! Good luck with this game and shallow out coming to impact!!

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Stay on Plane

Your swing plane will be most efficient when you swing back on one plane and then swing back down on that very same plane. This is known as a “one plane swing.” Ben Hogan was a one plane swinger! It is efficient and it helps you hit straight shots. Keep it simple and stay on plane! You will fire straight shots directly at your target when you do! Visit your local PGA Professional for more help on the efficiency of your swing plane.

The Country Club of Virginia
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Straight shots or crooked ones??

Your swing plane is very important in getting the ball to fly toward your target. Always remember that you are swinging the club from a tilted plane and if you change the plane or posture the path of the club will be altered as will the flight of the ball. Try to make sure that your left shoulder and then your right shoulder swing under your chin and that you keep from lifting your posture. Ask your local PGA Professional to help you with this and you will enjoy the game much more!!

Rob Elliott Golf Academy
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Swing Plane!!!!

To improve our swing plane how about we try to improve our take away. As a former student of Mike Bender to help me with swing plane we started a bit with my take away. From there we used a Medium basket with golf balls in it, I had to dump the balls out over my Right Biscep. In future lessons hand stand close against the Wall swing back and get Right arm at 90 degree angle..

Fox Hollow Golf Club
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Function, Not Fashion!

It aint fashion, it’s function!

Your Golf swing might look pretty, but can you play? We see so many players consumed with the appearance of their golf swing, yet they neglect to focus on many far more important areas of the game. Can you hit fairways and greens when it counts? Can you get a solid round into the clubhouse on some tough finishing holes? It’s usually confidence earned from hard work, practice, knowing your tendencies and experience that gets the job done.

The swing plane is an important aspect of a golf swing and the game, and a good key to building a consistent golf swing. But I have seen as many players with unique and different golf swings perform as well as those with aesthetically pleasing swings. It is important, but accommodating someone’s opinion of what a perfect swing plane looks like, is not imperative.

Mastering a solid fundamental set up, developing a sound and repeatable routine, consistent rhythm and timing, and focusing on the ball with a steady head position, all out weigh the value of a pure swing plane. As a mater of fact, we rarely see , what is considered to be a pure swing plane, If your attention is focused on what your swing looks like, it’s likely your focus is not on what counts when playing the game,

Most often we see the best players with the down- swing plane well inside of the back swing plane, with a slight loop in transition. And when hitting fades or draws, there is often a dramatic change in a good players swing to insure the desired shot shape. That plane of your swing is something gained by feel, rhythm, experience, and a powerful move, not by manufacturing it.

My advice is : be aware of the value of having a generally proper swing plane, and think of it as a result of your unique timing and rhythm. Addressing it is a good tool to developing a solid swing and game. But spend more time focusing on ball striking, chipping and putting, playing and having fun!!!!

Olde School Golf School
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TLDR: A quick summary of what our Backswing professionals have to say on the topic “How important is your swing plane?”

  1. Swing plane is a critical factor in golf, affecting the consistency and accuracy of ball striking.
  2. The correct swing plane helps achieve the desired ball flight and minimizes errors in the swing.
  3. The backswing plane should align with the body’s natural motion and maintain a consistent path.
  4. The downswing plane plays a vital role in generating power and accuracy, guiding the club’s path through impact.
  5. Utilizing tips and drills, such as alignment aids and video analysis, can improve swing plane.
  6. Seeking guidance from a golf instructor is beneficial for identifying and correcting swing plane issues.
  7. Understanding and maintaining the proper swing plane is key to achieving more consistent and effective golf shots.

Swing plane holds significant importance in golf, and mastering it can greatly enhance your performance on the course. By focusing on the backswing and downswing planes, utilizing helpful techniques, and seeking professional guidance, you can improve their swing plane and experience greater consistency and accuracy in your shots. Embracing the significance of swing plane leads to a more proficient and enjoyable golfing experience overall.

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