Golfers often do not realize that the swing plane is a part of their success or failure as golf players. It is something that many golf pros and commentators talk about a lot but forget to provide subtle details about how to swing on plane.
That’s because it’s difficult to know if your swing plane is correct. It can be even harder to change when you have a lot of confusion on a relatively simple topic that seems challenging.
With a little bit of knowledge and practice, you can attain a proper golf swing plane. So, keep reading the guide to learn everything about swing plane and how to swing on plane.
What Does Swing On Plane Mean in Golf?
Imagine you have just stepped up on the tee box, adjusted yourself, placed the golf ball, and take the position behind the ball with your clubhead.
Now, keep this image in your mind, and then take one theoretical step back. You will see that the golf ball and the clubhead are on the same plane, the ground. Although the ground is a plane, you don’t have to use it during the swing.
Instead, you have to focus on the plane that your clubhead travels through the downswing, backswing, and follow-through. Have that same image in your mind of standing still over the ball, and visualize a straight line coming out of the chest intersecting with the ball placed on the ground.
Now extend that line out your back through your chest. Your optimal swing plane is the full imaginary line that bisects you at the chest. If you have visualized the whole picture correctly, you must notice that the line creates an angle and intersects at the golf ball (i.e., the ground).
If you still have any confusion, take a look at the slow-motion swing of a pro player with the help of a swing path traced. It will show you the optimal swing plane. As the club head moves during the backswing and through swing, imagine it tracing a line create a circular plane
Now to put an end to the question of what does swing on plane mean in golf. Your swing is on plane when it follows the plane we created above. It means you made a perfect trajectory as your swing never deviated.
Theoretically, swinging on plane in golf results in a more efficient and simpler swing.
How Does Swinging On Plane Affect Your Golf Game?
The majority of problems faced by golfers are somehow related to their golf swing plane. Making a couple of adjustments in one’s swing plane can produce a dramatic change in the shot.
The worst is when you change planes throughout the regular swing, because now you’re making an unpredictable shot.
Creating an inside-out swing plane makes you push the club away from your body during the downswing resulting in a bad shot. You cannot be consistent in the game using these swing planes. Thus a player needs to have a neutral swing plan.
Changing planes (like lifting your head, shifting feet, dropping shoulders, etc.) can have drastic effects. When you start with your backswing on plane, a small change during the downswing leads the clubhead off plane.
Chunking, moonshots, topping, and slicing are all possible. You should avoid changing planes as it is worse than just being slightly off plane.
So, how swinging on plane makes your game better? First, you’ll be confident about each shot because when you know where your shot is going before you hit, it makes the round stress-free.
Drills to Get Your Swing On Plane
These couple of great swing plane drills help every golf player make sure they are swinging on plane.
#1: Alignment Sticks
Alignment sticks are the versatile training aid used in golf. These sticks help map the clubhead’s path right before, after, and during the impact.
How to do it:
- Take position in line with your designated target and place the ball on the ground.
- Lay an alignment stick horizontally about 5-6 inches on every side of the ball in line with your designated target.
- Adjust yourself and take full swing.
- If you hit the ball without hitting the alignment sticks, it means you’re close to your ideal swing plane.
- You can challenge yourself by bringing alignment sticks closer together.
- The closer together the alignment sticks, the better your swing plane will be.
#2: Shoulder Push-On Plane Drill
Believe me that the shoulders are your biggest contributor to the golf swing plane. So, make sure to practice to keep them on plane. Thankfully, shoulder drills do not require extra equipment and are relatively simple to do.
How to do it:
- First, raise your hands, not exceeding your shoulders.
- Take your position and move the upper body as you do in a golf swing.
- Do it slowly and rotate your shoulders on the same plane as you do while swinging a golf club.
- You can also do the drill with a golf club to make it easier.
- All you have to do is to place the club shaft across your shoulders.
- Now, grab the sides with your hands.
- Trace the ideal swing path by using the same rotating motion.
The drill is a great way to ensure that you didn’t lose track throughout the entire backswing. You can use it as a warm-up before you hit the first tee.
#3: Lie Board Drill
The final drill is the lie board drill. It’s a piece of fine plastic that golf club fitters use to get confirmation about golfer’s lie angles. You’re going to use it to know about the impact you made with the golf club to get a correct swing plane.
If the tool is not available, you can still use the ground to check the swing path.
How to do it:
- First, place the golf ball on the lie board.
- Make sure to have contact with the board during impact while taking a regular swing.
- You’ll see a small mark following the path of your clubhead after the impact.
- Now, examine the divot.
- If the mark is not straight or curves left or right, you have a poor swing plane.
- Divot not aligned in line with your designed target is also a sign of a poor swing plane.
- Mark on the heel side indicates a too flat swing plane or a too upright club’s lie angle.
- Divot on the toe means a steep swing or too flat club.
- After you notice the impact divots on the board, clean it off and try again.
Try to swing it slower and keep the swing on plane. If you’re getting much straighter divots than the previous ones, you’re doing it right.
Now try to do this drill without a lie board while keeping the same plane and regular swing speed.
Many players struggle with swing planes because they don’t even know that it’s their main issue. It comes out as those shots that lack in distance, inconsistent, or miss from side to side.
If it describes you, I believe that you should look at your swing plane. Try a couple of drills in this guide, and you’ll see improvement in your game with more power, accuracy, and consistency.
Remember not to get overwhelmed by the topic. All you need is to keep the club in a neutral position to make a solid impact with the ball.