My Golf Instructor

Swing Plane
The Heart of the Swing

Know there are different planes in your swingThere are Different Swing Planes

The swing plane is really the heart of golf mechanics and golf instruction. We establish a good grip, stance, posture and alignment so that we will be able to swing the club on plane consistently with ease. What is the swing plane? This is a great question. It is one that is asked by more students than you can imagine. Similar to the concept of proper impact, it is hard to believe the number of students that don't know what the swing plane is and how it affects their swings.

To make matters more confusing, there are various planes in the swing that are analyzed and discussed during lessons. All of them are equally important, but the one that is considered the meat of the swing is the original shaft plane. The club sits on an inclined plane at address just like a hockey stick does. Because of this, the swing should follow an inclined plane. I will briefly explain the other planes in the swing, but this article is written with the purpose of educating golf students on the importance of the original shaft plane and understanding the effect it has on their swings. Smaller articles in this section will contain information on the other planes, as well as how to monitor them in the swing.

Types of Swing Planes

The various planes in the golf swing:

  • The original shaft plane - a line drawn from the heel of the club, up the shaft, through the grip and indefinitely up to the sky
  • The shoulder plane - the plane on which the shoulders rotate during the swing
  • The right elbow plane - the plane the right elbow works up and down during the swing
  • The ball to shoulder plane - a line drawn from the ball to the top of the shoulders at address

When looking at the original shaft plane there has long been the debate of whether or not to keep the shaft on a single plane (one-plane) or let it move off the original shaft plane onto a second plane (two-plane). This debate is also very different from Ben Hogan's famous plane of glass theory which focused more on keeping the club under the ball to shoulder plane. What do I think about all of these theories? I believe there is merit to all of them. The suggestion that your swing plane should depend on your body type is also something to consider. After all, it is hard to try to force your body into moves it simply cannot make. In my opinion as with everything in golf mechanics it is simply finding what works best for YOU and not forcing yourself into anyone's method, that may come and go over the years anyway. With that being said, one plane would be ideal if it was possible. I believe it is in some cases, but I have also noted that the majority of good players bring the club up on a steeper plane than the one they bring it down through.

Simplify the Thought

Think about swing plane in a simplistic way. Here are a couple of examples. How well would your car drive if your wheels were not aligned 90 degrees to the axis of rotation? It would wobble. Well if your golf club is not aligned 90 degrees to the axis of rotation (your spine) it will move around and wobble as well. Consider that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. If we are trying to move the club head from the ball to the top of the swing and back down again with efficiency, we wouldn't want the head moving all over the place would we? So the point that keeping the club on a single plane would be ideal is pretty much proven.

Learn to Groove Your Swing Plane

How is your plane affecting your swing? Plane influences power as well as direction. As I just stated, the more the club head and shaft move around, the less efficient your swing will be, which will result in a loss of energy. Your distance will suffer if this is the case. Obviously, the more movement there is with the club head and shaft the less accurate you will be as well.

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.

Who is Maria Palozola?
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