July 31, 2010
One of the challenges that comes with understanding swing plane is that you can't see it when you swing. With the help of a simple training aid, you can reinforce the feeling of the club matching your shoulder plane without having to use video.Go to your local hardware store and have a piece of 8-inch-diameter plastic tubing cut to three feet. Holding the tube over your entire right arm, down the grip and over the top half of the shaft, make some right-handed practice swings. The tube will help you feel the club going behind you, but in the proper position relative to your shoulders.1. One-planers often swing back too flat. Use a piece of construction tubing to link your shoulder, arm and shaft positions.2. The tube will help you feel your arm behind you, but in position to come back to the ball on the correct plane.
Most struggling two-plane players raise the club in the air just fine, but they don't incorporate a hip turn to go with the arm motion (left). A lot of times it's because the player has been told to actively restrict the hip turn to increase the "X-factor" -- the difference between the shoulder and hip turns -- to maximize distance. The opposite is true. Without a good hip turn, you can't generate enough swing arc and clubhead speed. So turn your hips as fully as you can (below).
If you just lift your arms without any hip turn, you can't create any leverage or power. All you'll be able to hit are weak, high shots to the right.
Every player has a swing thumbprint. Your potential is higher if you use the method that better suits your body type, flexibility and level of athleticism. Does that mean you can't play well if you pick the wrong style? Absolutely not. If you're shooting in the 80s or higher, you can get better if you consistently apply either the one-plane or two-plane technique. Playing on tour is a different thing. I've seen only two players switch. Peter Jacobsen became a one-planer in 1994 (old swing above left; new swing above right), and Don Pooley made the same transition in 2005 because of injuries to his lower back and left shoulder.