How to Swing a Golf Club? Swinging on the correct plane is the most difficult thing in golf because it is the most important thing.
In fact, the swing plane isn’t just the most important thing, it is the only thing.
How to Swing a Golf Club?
Now, that’s a pretty powerful statement when you consider that golf is ultimately supposed to be about posting the lowest score you can.
But you can’t do that consistently if you can’t hit at least semi-decent shots. Which is where the swing plane comes in.
Let me explain. In golf, you don’t hit the ball. The way you stand to a shot doesn’t hit the ball. The way you hold the club doesn’t hit the ball. Your swing doesn’t even hit the ball.
No, only one thing hits the ball: the golf club. And the only things influencing that collision and the flight of the resulting shot are the angles on which the club is swinging into the ball.
Specifically, the angle of the clubface and the angle of the shaft. So, to my mind, the swing plane is everything in that it is the one thing that has a direct bearing on the way in which club meets the ball and therefore how the ball flies.
Look at it this way. If you don’t change something that the club is doing, then you are not going to change the flight of the ball. Everything you do in your swing, in terms of correction, is all to influence the plane of the swing one way or the other.
If you do that, you influence the flight of the ball. Of course, you don’t swing every club on the same plane. As the club in your hand changes, so does the plane of your swing.
The longer the club shaft gets, the further you have to stand from the ball, so the flatter your plane will be.
For example, if you have a wedge in your hands, you want a little more of a descending blow so you will automatically stand closer to the ball and swing on a more upright plane than you would with a 5-iron.
But your thoughts and your feelings don’t change. The length and lie of the club make any changes for you. So, for me, this is the most important part of this blog.
The swing plane is the cornerstone of my teaching and, it must be said, perhaps the most misunderstood aspect of the golf swing.
It has been explained many times in print, most notably and memorably by Ben Hogan’s in his book, The Modern Fundamentals of Golf, but, I don’t believe it has ever been explained correctly. Hence all the confusion.
Let Me Explain
Everything you do in your golf swing has one basic aim — sending the ball to the target. Easier said than done, of course. Achieving such a goal on a consistent basis requires that you get a few things right.
A straight, solidly hit shot results when the golf club moves along the proper path, when the angle of the clubhead’s approach into the impact area is correct and when the clubface is square, or squaring, as it contacts the ball.
Thus, the key to any golf swing is the plane on which the club moves from address to impact.
In reality, it is the only thing that matters. As with so many other aspects of golf, there are three possibilities when it comes to swinging plane. Your club is either on the plane, too upright (above the plane) or too flat (below the plane).
As I said in the introduction to this post, whatever your tendency, the swing plane, to a great extent, determines how much ground you are going to hit, where on the clubface you’re going to hit the ball, and whether or not you are swinging on the proper arc, one which will allow the clubface to contact the ball squarely.
Every golfer has their own swing plane. Everyone is built differently and has different length arms, heights, setups — so each person has a swing plane unique to them.
What Determines the Swing Plane?
The perfect plane for you is largely determined by your posture at address, the length of your arms, your height, and what percentage of that height is made up by your back versus your legs.
Having said that, swing planes of short and tall individuals are usually not that much different.
They do vary some, but the real key is that you swing on your swing plane. The plane of someone else’s swing is of no concern to you.
In other words, everyone has a swing plane but there is no one swing plane for everyone. In general, tall people stand closer to the ball and have more upright swing planes.
As I said, it was the basis for Ben Hogan’s Modern Fundamentals. In fact, in order to explain his swing plane philosophy, he created what may be the most famous and enduring image in golf instruction — the pane of glass angled through his shoulders and down to the ground.
Hogan’s theory was that you should swing the club below and parallel to the glass from address to the end of your follow-through. And that is how countless golfers have tried to swing on the plane ever since.
Hogan produced a great image, but unfortunately, he was wrong in this assertion. There is more than one plane in the perfect golf swing, but only one plane angle.