The Plane Truth
In the last issue of Golf Teaching Pro, I introduced to you teacher Jim Hardy’s new swing theory involving the one-plane and two-plane swings, and showed you basic concepts involving the elements of each. This time, as promised, I will present each swing type in much more detail, relative to describing the most important backswing and downswing keys. I learned these while collaborating with Hardy on the book, The Plane Truth For Golfers, that’s available in all major bookstores.
One-Plane Backswing and Downswing Techniques Backswing Keys: Get the feeling of your upper left arm being pinned across your chest throughout the backswing. Concentrating on this one-plane fundamental keeps your body in control of the swing and trains you to let the left arm go along for the ride. As for the right arm, it should be folding up and behind you, with the elbow moving along a plane parallel to the turn of your torso and your shoulders. At the top, the right elbow should be slightly away from the body. Do not pin your elbow close to your side.
The movement of the hips is also critical to employing a correct one-plane backswing. The one-plane swing actually loads torque from a maximum shoulder turn against the lower torso and hips, which you would like to remain as stable as possible. The most critical factor in achieving your goal of creating torque: understanding how the hips work. As the left hip turns, it goes down slightly in the backswing. This is a result of the dominating shoulder turn. The secret to creating power is allowing the hips to be influenced by the shoulders as you swing to the top, rather than forcing the hips into a turn. One-plane swingers should also strive to set the club in the parallel position at the top.
Downswing Keys: Your shoulders must dominate because they need to turn much farther than your lower body does in that span of time from the top to impact, which as you know is only a mere fraction of a second. In the one plane downswing, you don’t throw your arms and club at the ball; rather, they get thrown by the turn of the shoulders and torso. As your torso turns around a steady, bent over spine, it will carry your arms, hands, and the club down along the correct plane line through impact.
Two-Plane Backswing and Downswing Techniques Backswing Keys: In swinging the club away, and ultimately up to the top, turn your shoulders on a flat plane while swinging the arms up.
As you approach the top of the backswing, your right-elbow-joint should point almost straight down to the ground. This is in contrast to the position of the elbow of the one-plane player. That player’s right elbow points more to the rear and mirrors the bent-over angle of the spine.
In the two-plane swing, with your arms slightly separating from your body and lifting upward, it’s okay if the left elbow has a little give in it.
If you blend the horizontal turn of your shoulders to the upward swinging of the arms, the club should move on a steady plane up to the top. At this point, your arm swing plane should be noticeably higher than your shoulder plane when viewed from down the target line.
The two-plane swinger generates power from the swinging of the arms and from the momentum of the turn by the entire body. So don’t be afraid to turn your hips vigorously as you swing to the top with the club ideally crossing the line. The reason: The “across-the-line” position will enable you to drop the arms down to the inside of the backswing plane a little easier and deliver the club-head powerfully into the ball.
Downswing Keys: Shift the hips laterally toward the target. A split-second later, and simultaneous with the downward drive of the arms, start turning your hips in a horizontal fashion. Your left hip begins to turn to the left and right hip turns outward, toward the ball.
The downward movement of the golf club should be governed by an arms-controlled swinging motion. You do not need to consciously guide the club through the downswing. What will happen is that, immediately as you start widening the angle between your hands and right shoulder, the club-head will start to be carried downward. If you blend this movement together with the horizontal turn of your torso, then the club-head will describe a downswing arc that is on plane with your extended left arm.
At impact, the clubface should be square to the target line. The club-shaft is in a very similar position to where it started at address. Unlike the one plane player whose club-shaft may be more upright than at address, the two-planer’s shaft angle should be the same. That’s because the two-plane player’s body has not turned as actively as the one-planer’s must.