My Golf Instructor

Swing Plane: Shaft Plane
The Blueprint

The shaft plane in the golf swingThe Shaft Plane

The original shaft plane is often called the meat of the golf swing. I like to think of it as the blueprint for your golf swing. It is the starting point for which your swing is built around. Just like the blueprints for a house have angles, planes and a design that makes sense, the swing plane or blueprint for your swing has the same. Everyone's plane is unique. It is designed by the size and shape of your body, your posture and the size and shape of your club.

No matter what, the original shaft plane sits on an inclined plane. It is a line drawn from the ball, up the shaft, through the grip and extends indefinitely up to the sky. For longer, flatter clubs like a driver, the plane will sit more flat. For shorter, more vertical clubs, like wedges, the plan becomes more upright. The original shaft plane is the most important plane in the golf swing.

The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. It makes sense then that to be efficient and generate the most accuracy and power that we would want our club head to travel from point A...the ball, to point B...the top of the swing and back on the same line. Ideally all swings would move up and down on the original shaft plane with no variance. Thus the 1-plane swing is touted as the best way to go. Since this is very difficult to do and the majority of good players have some sort of a shift in their swing, we allow for a 2-plane swing to occur. Most good players will swing up slightly steeper than they come down. No matter how a skilled golfer brings the club up (either on or off the original shaft plane), they all bring it down on the shaft plane. Of course, the less moving around the better, but it's acceptable to have some sort of a small shift in the plane.

To make sure that we make good clean contact and don't lose too much speed, we want to keep the club in the "safety zone". This would be between the original shaft plane and the shoulder plane (see my article on shoulder plane). If you keep your hands and the club moving inside this cone shaped safety zone, you are likely to hit the ball much more consistently than if it moves outside requiring multiple compensations to get back to the ball.

Coming down into the ball off plane results in just about every miss hit you could describe. The most obvious though are pushes, slices, pulls and hooks. Add to that shanks, chunks, tops, heel shots and toe shots and you can easily see why staying on the original shaft plane is so critical. For more consistency and power you need to understand the original shaft plane so you can start working on perfecting yours.

Maria Palozola

Maria Palozola is a member of the LPGA and has participated in multiple LPGA Tour events. She has provided instruction to thousands of students in the past 20+ years and has won multiple teaching awards from the LPGA, Golf Digest, and Golf Magazine including being ranked as one of the top 50 female instructors in the world.

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