Let’s assume that you have just started playing golf or maybe you have been playing for a little while now. Perhaps you just got your first set of the golf club and gloves. Now you are itching to run off to a golf course to start hitting some golf balls right away!
No matter the case, it is essential to understand the basics of golf swings when starting. This will be a simple guide showing you how to do a golf swing. More specifically how to get your golf swing on plane.
The plane of swing determines the direction of the ball when hit, also the route of that shot. The plane of swing is a make-believe flat surface that is used to explain the path and angle on what you swing the club.
Golf Club Anatomy
The golf swing consists of two parts. One is the plane of the backswing, and another one is the plane of the downswing. The swings might be on the plane, flat or upright.
We will get into how to get the swing on plane. In addition, how to improve it and what not do a little later. But at first, we have to understand a bit of golf club anatomy. This is to understand the swings and swing on a plane a little better.
A golf club mainly consists of three basic parts. These are;
- The Grip
- The Shaft
- The Head
This is the top part of the golf club where you hold the club with your hands. Contrary to the name of the part, professionals call it keeping the club as opposed to gripping it. Its topmost part is known as the cap.
The shaft is the longest part of the golf club. This connects the grip and the head. It can be long or short depending on the golfer’s size and preference. Some golf clubs will have adjustable shafts and other stationeries.
The bottom part of the club is ironically called the head of the golf club. This is the part is used to hit the golf ball with. The head is shaped like a shoe. Its bottom is called a sole.
The front part that is opposite to the shaft is called a toe and the back part right below the shaft is called the heel. The side that is used to hit the golf ball is known as the face of the club. That is all we have to know about the basic anatomy of a golf club for now.
Let’s jump straight into the swing on plane, its functionality and other necessary things.
The Plane of Swing
The plane of swing is the most discussed topic in golf instructions as well as the most misunderstood part. The golf club follows a pattern that is circular or an arc when you swing it. The shaft is connected to the head in an inclined plane similar to a ramp on a flat surface.
When this inclined plane created by the shaft of the club is tilted along the circular pattern or the arc, that is known as the plane of swing or swing plane.
Similar to a Ferris wheel, the swing or rather the slope can be upwards. It can be level identical to a baseball swing. Moreover, it can be somewhere between the upright and flat swing.
Accordingly, the plane of swing can be tilted right or left of the line of the target, maybe even straight along the edge of the target.
The line of a target is a straight make-believe line starting from the golf ball to the target where it is intended to go. The imaginary line from the golfer’s shoulder to the ball is called the plane of the backswing.
What is a Swing Plane in Golf?
It is considered as a swing on the plane when the shaft’s end or the grip end is intersecting the line of the target.
Meaning, the golf club will be perpendicular to the line of the target while on the circular path of the path. If the end is pointing towards the outside of the line of the target, it is known as a flat swing.
On the other hand, if the end is pointing inside of the line of the target, it is known as an upright swing. In case of a flat swing, the head travels in towards out. In case of a vertical swing, the head travels out towards in.
The inside towards outside swing path will create a hooked or pushed shot. An out towards in path will create a sliced or pulled shot.
What are the Factors Affecting Swing on a Plane?
Ideally, it is preferred to have a swing on a plane as opposed to a flat or an upright swing. However, every golfer has their style of swing. Similarly, every golfer has different body types and club preferences. As a result, they develop their variations of playing the sport.
A golfer’s arms, torso and legs affect their posture. Their golf club’s length changes the angle that they hold the shaft. For example, a golfer who is shorter will hold a club of forty inches of length at more of a flatter angle than a taller golfer.
As a result, the golfer will have a swing on a plane that’s flatter than the taller golfer. So, if the shorter golfer decides to swing lower than his normal swing, it will be considered as a flatter swing.
What is a Downswing Plane?
We have lifted the club to hit the ball. Now we have to swing it down to finish our job. If the golf club is traveling under the plane of the backswing, the end of the golf club will be pointing outside of the line of the target. The head of the golf club will be traveling from inside towards outside.
On the other hand, if the golf club is traveling over the plane of the backswing, the end will be pointing outside the line of the target. The head of the golf club will be traveling from outside towards inside.
As mentioned before, an inside towards outside path will create a hooked or pushed shot. However, an out towards in path will create a slice or pulled shot.
If the swing is considered on plane when coming down, the golf club will travel down the line of target straight. The straight travel path will cause the ball to go straight towards the target. That is if the face of the club is square. otherwise the ball faces the target hole at the time of impact.
What are the Steps to Get Your Swing on Plane?
So far, we have seen and understood the concepts behind the swinging of the golf club in this guide. It is time we are heading into more in-depth steps for everyone who does not know how to do a proper swing on a planeor anyone looking to polish their skills up a notch.
It should be mentioned that you might not get the technique right off the bat and it might take a while to get used to. But if you do, that is great!
Following are the steps to guide you to achieving a swing on the plane;
Take a Proper Stance
The First stand in front of the ball perpendicular to the line of the target. The target will be on the left with your legs close together. That is if you are right-handed. If you are left-handed, stand on the opposite side. This is determined by the dominant hand.
However, if you have a specific choice in that matter, feel free to change it up. Now hold the golf club upholding the grip of the golf club in front of you in the air. Then spread your legs to the width of your shoulders and lock your knees.
Keep an approximate distance from the ball so that you can place the sole of the club parallel to the ground. That way you do not have to bend too much. Now you are ready to address the ball.
Address the Ball
Once you have stood up straight and taken a proper posture or stance, it is time to place the golf club. Slightly bend your torso forward and place the sole of the club behind the ball facing the target.
Bend from the torso, keep your spine straight and shoulder blades back. Make sure your head is behind the ball, the same as the club.
Unlock your knees slightly but do not relax them too much. Keep your muscles engaged. Now you are ready to take the swing even if it is not a perfect one.
Swing the Club on the Plane
The swing of the club or the backswing has three subparts to it. We will go through them one by one.
While you are addressing the ball, remember the inclined plane of the golf club. Now, assuming that you are left-handed. Keep the inclined plane and raise the club towards the right in a circular pattern. Keep raising the club.
It will get to the point in the path where it will be parallel to the line of the target as well as the ground.
Now keep on the path and raise the club more. Raise to the point where the grip end of the golf club will be pointing towards the ground. More precisely the line of the target to be on the plane.
The shaft will be perpendicular to the line. We have reached two-thirds of the way to acquire the on-plane swing.
Again, remember the path you were following? Raise the club more on that exact path while twisting your torso. At a certain point, the golf club will be parallel to the ground and target line just like before.
But the grip end of the golf club will be facing the opposite direction from the target. Stop raising the club as soon as it is at that parallel point. Although these are subparts of a single step, these will be done in a single motion.
As more time passes by and with more practices, your movements will get smoother and better.
Now we are ready to move onto the next step. This is the final step to hit the ball towards the target; the downswing.
Downswing and Take the Shot
The swing path that was followed in the swing step will be repeated in reverse in this final step. Try your best to keep the club right on the path while going down towards the ball to hit it. Now swing down the path with your club. Then hit the ball with the face of the club towards the target.
That is it! Now you have learned how to do a swing on the lane for a perfect and efficient shot towards the target in this guide.
Practices to Get Swing on Plane Right
Initially, the twists and turns of the body will be feeling kind of stiff because of being not used to the sport. Otherwise may feel flexible enough to assume certain positions that are required to play the sport.
As a result, it is necessary to do exercises that will warm up the body before playing or practicing for the swing on plane. These exercises should be done about 5 to 15 minutes every day or every other day. That is how it will get the body used to the movement and avoid unwanted injuries.
Following are some of the exercises that can be done to make the body more flexible for the sport. These will be according to the mentioned lengths and intervals of time;
We have talked about the path of the shaft to be followed to achieve the swing on plane. While practicing that, you should make sure that your shoulder line follows a parallel path to that inclined path as well. Just turning the shoulder and not keeping will cause you to do a flatter swing. This is to be avoided.
Knee & Body Drill
This exercise is a bit more complex than the other exercise and will take a few more steps.
First, find a stick that is twice the size of your golf club. Once you have found a stick, go to your normal stance and address the ball.
Now take the stick and rest it on your left shoulder. Put the other side further away from the ball until it is parallel to your golf club’s shaft.
Once you have done that, mark the ground the stick was touching. Then put your club down to mark your stance position.
Take the long stick and put it on the back of your shoulder and neck. Now rest your both hands on either side of the stick.
Finally, go back to the addressing position. Tilt your body so that the stick is parallel to your inclined path of the shaft. Also, the stick should be pointing towards the initial position marked by the stick further away.
Keep doing this drill for a few minutes for both sides of your shoulders. This exercise will strengthen the knees and make the body more flexible for playing.
The mentioned exercises are short length exercises. These are only for improving posture and positioning when dealing with the stance and swings. It is also important to strengthen your overall core to improve the state of your body.
This will help out with flexibility and strength when playing in the future. Whether it is as a hobby or in a more competitive environment you can do the following to improve your core;
Go into a general swing stance. Take a Pavlov’s resistance band and hold it with both of your hand together. Pull and stay perpendicular to the band. Now stretch your hands forward and pull them back to your body while holding the band. This works as an anti-rotation exercise.
You can do squats to help with quads and back for the golf swings. However, in the case of squats, keep a seat behind you and use it as a reference when just starting up. Add weights later when you are used to it to push yourself further.
Things to Keep in Mind
Golf is not just about getting your swing on plane. Only performing a perfect swing and hitting the ball will not be enough. You will need to learn about the environment and other small matters.
For beginners, it is necessary to get the techniques down at first. This is not just golf but everything in general. A strong foundation will ease the learning process in the future. A weak one will take the learner down with it in the future in a more competitive or complex situation.
Our Final Thoughts
It cannot be said enough how important the practice and patience is for any type of work. You should adhere to the capabilities of your mind and body. Always try to keep the learning process within your capabilities and pace.