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Swing Plane: The Shoulder Plane
The Shoulder Plane is Easiest to Feel and Control

The shoulder plane in the golf swingThe Shoulder Plane

Of the 3 main inclined planes in the swing, the shaft plane, the shoulder plane and the elbow plane, the shoulder plane is the easiest to feel and control. The ultimate goal is always to keep the club shaft swinging on its original plane line, returning it to where it started for ultimate distance and control. If a golfer's shoulders move off plane, the club shaft is likely to follow. However, for some players they are still able to throw together some compensations and manipulate the club back onto plane so they can still make contact with the ball. That is a lot of unnecessary work and will obviously result in loss of accuracy and distance.

The shoulder plane is simply a line that is drawn from the ball across the top of your shoulders. It is ideal that the shoulders rotate back and forth on this plane line and don't stray from it. A common error is for a golfer to stand up changing their posture during the backswing. This will cause the shoulders to level out onto a flatter plane than they sat on at address. Thin shots, topped shots and pulls often result when this happens. If the shoulders dip on the backswing, they will end up on a much steeper plane than which they started. This can cause slices and fat shots.

The downswing is in a way more problematic as there is less time to compensate before impact. The common mistake here is to move the right shoulder forward too quickly, steepening the plane. This causes an outside in angle of attack on the ball resulting in a pull hook if the club face is closed or a slice if the club face is open. The right shoulder should simply fall into the slot where the left shoulder lay at the top of the swing. The shoulders replace one another. A good feel for this and to avoid coming over the top is to keep the right shoulder behind the toes throughout the swing.

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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