My definition of plane as it relates to teaching the golf swing is founded on the simple principle that the golf shaft should point to the ball line or should be parallel to the ball line throughout the swing. Assuming there are no body restrictions, injuries or physical handicaps, this principle allows for all golfers of different heights and body types to apply a repeatable pattern. Please learn “your plane” and don’t try to correct something you don’t need too. The patterns endorsed here are correct and proven.
The following steps will help present a pattern for you to practice. Be very slow in the beginning positioning the club at each step. As you practice the patterns of setting the shaft at each step, slowly work your swing into precise easy rhythm. Too fast will reduce your learning curve. Slow and steady precise positioning is more effective. This positive method has helped many students find a better repeatable swing. This method of learning the swing plane I consider geometric in thought, relying on regular lines to guide your shaft. It is most important to get our junior golfers off on the right foot and this pattern is fundamental.
#1) Your address position points the shaft of the club at the ball line at address. The ball line runs from horizon to horizon through the ball to your intended target.
#2) As the club swings, back in the take away the shaft should follow the ball line to the horizon. In the picture notice how Kris uses the aiming stick and his driver shaft to work upwards and the club stays on plane. This allows the club head and shaft to now become parallel to the both the ground and most importantly parallel to the ball line.
#3) As the club shaft leaves the parallel position and the wrists begin to hinge the club up-ward, the shaft shall remain pointed at the ball line. The “butt” or the grip shall point to the ball line. Kris’s shaft is now pointed down the aiming stick. If someone feels that this is to low or flat, then you do not understand plane. His shaft is pointed at “His Plane Line.” Reference Matt Kuchar on the PGA Tour vs. Colin Montgomery, both different, both on plane and both proven to succeed.
#4) As the shaft is positioned at the top of the swing the shaft must now become parallel again to the ground and to the ball line. His shaft is now pointed to his intended target.
#5) One’s timing must rely on the left hip and body weight beginning to move to the target with weight transferring to the left foot. The right knee begins to transfer left; the core muscles of the body begin to turn to the target and we are off to the races! There are many fascinating firing mechanisms going off in the brain and the body during this moment but to simplify and stay on task it is your responsibility to point the shaft to the ball line or allow it to become parallel to the ball line. This is where you must keep it simple and allow your body and hand path to stay with the geometry. When you cross the line, you’re asking for trouble! The “butt” of the club or grip must return to pointing the shaft at the ball line. Notice how Kris’s club shaft is pointed down the aiming stick remaining on the plane to the ball line.
#6) Working down to impact Kris is using the aiming stick to guide the shaft and club head path returns “underneath” the aiming stick, towards the ball. The shaft should now become parallel to the ball line and to the ground keeping with geometry.
#7) “Release” happens with part body rotation and par forearm rotation. The radius and ulna bones play a part in the timing of the clubface becoming square to the ball line. Those who seek the exact definition should watch You Tube video of James Leitze, D-Plane explanations, which are most fascinating and informative. Kris has the ability to straighten the right arm which helps his club face get square to the ball line at impact improving solid contact.
#8) Kris has shifted his weight to the left heel. Left leg straightens. Club shaft remains on plane; posture and balance assure proper form. I really like the fact that his right knee is” underneath” his body weight allowing great posture and spine angle tilt. Accompany that with a very positive attitude and the need to succeed and Kris becomes a favorite competitor and great partner to have in any Four-Ball!
This information is nothing new. It is simple geometry applied to physical body rotation. I watch a lot of high school students with their video phones trying to help each other on the range. They should have knowledge of swing geometry before guessing at what may be too up-right or too flat. Knowing your plane line is effective to establishing your goals. Everyone has physical challenges they must overcome to better ball striking.
The last three points of this article are the most important: 1) Please seek the help of a qualified instructor. 2) Please seek the help of a qualified instructor. 3) Please seek the help of a qualified instructor.
I think that says enough. Grab a stick and let’s all get on “D-plane boss”!
Bobby Hall is the Director of Golf at Quail Creek Golf Course in Fairhope, Alabama. To schedule a lesson with Bobby or to make a tee time at Quail Creek, call (251) 990-0240.