The Plane Truth
By Jimmy Rockelman
One of the best ways of developing a strong and consistent game is to work on improving the plane of your golf swing, the path in which the club travels. The easiest way to think of the golf swing is to imagine it as a tilted circle, the amount of tilt depending on the club. With that thought the driver would be the flattest circle and your sand wedge the most vertical. There are basically two factors that dictate the shape of your golf shots, swing plane and the angle of the clubface in relation to the target line at impact. The plane will dictate the path in which the ball will start out on and the face will dictate the curve of the ball.
During the golf swing the golf club should always have one end of the club pointed at the target line (line extending thru the ball to the target and beyond), or be parallel with the target line. If you can develop an on plane golf swing, your shots will become very consistent and the ball with start out on the actual aim line. With an on plane golf swing, the player’s misses are greatly improved. The more the player is off the intended plane; weather it is over or under the plane of the swing, the more manipulation of the clubface thru impact will be needed to compensate for the poor plane. The more your swing is on plane the easier is to hit consistent golf shots.
A simple practice technique and the SMART STICK can help everyone develop a more consistent swing plane. In the photos we are using two ropes to create a narrow track to use as our intended target line. You could also use a couple of clubs on the ground for your target line. The SMART STICK is a new teaching aid that has a bright green laser on both ends of the SMART STICK. At address, the club head laser “Laser 1” will point at the target line and the grip end laser “Laser 2” will point into the player’s lower torso. As you start your backswing “Laser 1” will point at the target line track until the club is parallel to the target line and the ground. (Photo 1) Continue to hinge your wrist and “Laser 2” will start to point at the target line track in front of the ball and continue to point at the line to the top of your swing. (Photo 2) If you have the flexibility to turn your torso to 90 degrees the SMART STICK would then be parallel to the target line and ground.
For the correct downswing path continue to point “laser 2” at the target line thru the ball and then continue to point “Laser 1” at the target line, thru the ball, (Photo 3) and continue down the target line and into a balanced finish. Continuing slow repetitions with the SMART STICK, you will begin to train yourself to swing the club in a more consistent and powerful swing plane producing more solid and playable shots. After a few minutes with the SMART STICK, now switch to a golf club and try a few slow swings first without a ball and then with a ball at the slower speed. As your shots improve start to increase the speed.
I recommend with any drill or changes you are trying to make in your golf swing that you always start out with small swings and work up to full swings. Remember the golf swing is a motor skill, just a very complex one. Always work small to big and slow to fast for the quickest and best results.
As your swing plane improves you will start having more consistent and powerful shots coming off your clubface on a higher percentage, leading to more enjoyment of the game and lower scores.