Golf lessons – Establishing Your Swing Plane

The swing plane, at its most basic, is the path the club’s shaft follows when you swing. Unfortunately, many factors affect your swing plane, including your height, your weight, your posture, your flexibility, the thickness of your torso, and maybe even the dew point. Swing plane can get complicated — especially if you want to cover all the possible variations in the plane from address to the end of the follow-through.

At this point, for all you amiables and expressives, let me expound on the idea of thinking less about the plane of your swing than about the shape of your swing. Two of the best players in the game when I was on tour — Greg Norman and Bruce Lietzke — had totally different planes to their swings. The golf swing consists of different planes that shift during the course of the swing. For example, Greg shifted the plane of his swing a little to the outside on the backswing, and then shifted to the inside on the downswing to achieve his particular curve of the ball, a draw. Bruce shifted the plane of his swing a little to the inside on the backswing, and then shifted to the outside on the downswing to get his particular curve of the ball, a fade.

The plane of your swing is dictated to a large extent by the shaft’s angle at address. The swing you make with a wedge in your hands is naturally more upright — or should be — than the swing you make with a driver. The driver has a longer shaft than the wedge and a flatter lie (the angle at which the shaft emerges from the clubhead), so you have to stand farther away from the ball.

For this article, I’m assuming that you maintain the plane you establish at address throughout the swing. For most players, this isn’t always the case. If a player’s favored shot is one that bends a great deal in the air, the swing plane is tilted either to the right or to the left to compensate for the ball’s flight. But if you’re trying to hit straight shots, one consistent plane is the way for you.

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