Golf Swing Plane
If you’re tired of being a “grip and rip it” golfer, we can offer you some tips to even out your swing and get you hitting the ball squarely on a consistent basis. It is said that the legendary golfer Ben Hogan popularized the importance of maintaining a controlled swing plane. He indicated that when he started focusing on this golf fundamental, his shot consistency improved. He then went on to become one of the best ball strikers on the PGA tour.
What is the Golf Club Swing Plane
Imagine your swing plane as being a pendulum. Ideally, you want your club head to follow the arc of a pendulum when you take your club back, through your downswing, upon impact, and on your follow through. If your swing plane is offline to the left or right, you’re going to be slicing or hooking your shots.
If you’re off the swing plane, you must constantly make corrections as you bring the club head down to meet the ball. There are subtle and not-so-subtle movements being made by your body in an effort to hit the ball squarely. If you are too far outside, you will pull in your arms or straighten your stance. If you’re swing plane is on the inside, you may have to lean forward slightly to try to make contact. All of these corrections take focus and power away from your shot.
Maintaining the correct swing plane in your swing cannot be forced and still be consistent. It is the result of learning and mastering proper swing fundamentals.
The first fundamental you need to master to attain the ideal swing plane is your stance. You should be bent forward at the hips to address the ball not hunched at the shoulders. Keep your back flat and flex the knees slightly. You don’t want to swing with your arms, they are just guiding the club. The flat back will allow it to act as an axis point. You’ll then turn the shoulders as you take a backswing creating torque. As you bring the club down you’ll unleash the torque at the waist with your arms guiding the club.
Golf Swing Plane – Common Mistakes
Many golfers swing their hips and body backwards during their backswing. This movement takes the club head off the correct swing plane. The club head moves to the outside slightly. When they begin the downswing, they must take corrective action to bring the club back to the plane in order to hit the ball squarely. In most cases, your clubface will come across the front of the ball resulting in a slice. To correct this, focus on keeping your hips stationary above your stance and twist at the waist during your backswing.
Bobby Eldridge of Purepoint Golf tells the story of his mother, one of the first female teaching pros, who had him stand in a garbage can to practice. He consistently swayed his hips slightly, so the confined space prevented him from doing so. He is now a sought after teaching pro himself.
The same is true with forward motion. If you move your hips forward during the downswing, your correction will be to bring the clubface from inside out. The clubface will move across the front of the ball resulting in a hook. Now, I’m not suggesting you take a garbage can to the practice range, however, here’s a suggestion. Take two broken club shafts or other implements and stick them in the ground approximately 3 inches from each hip. Practice your shots and concentrate on not touching the sticks with your hips.