The Ultimate Guide to Golf Swing Plane

golf swing plane

Golf swing plane is a term that many golfers throw around. These golfers will call themselves one or two plane swingers without truly understanding what this means.

There are lots of theories about swing plane out there. With more than twenty-five years of experience and having taught hundreds of students, I can honestly say there is no one way to swing a golf club.

Regardless of if you are a one or a two plane swinger, it pays to understand what they are and which one could make more sense for you. 

What Is Golf Swing Plane

A golf swing plane is an imaginary flat surface on which the golf club swings. If you look at a golf club and imagine a large flat piece of plywood resting on the club, this is the plane.

The golf club is intended to swing up on the plane and back down on the plane for maximum results.

Sometimes golfers will swing a club upright, and this will cause them to be above the plane line. Other golfers will swing the club too shallow and end up under the plane line.

what is golf swing plane

Swing plane in golf is critical. In order for players to learn to perfect the golf game, they must learn how to get the club on the right path.

This usually takes a bit of practice and a general understanding of what swing plane is. Once you visualize how a swing plane works, it can be much easier to make sure you stay on plane. 

Why Does Being on Plane It Matter?

Swing plane matters for two reasons, distance, and direction. If you want to hit the ball both long and straight, you will need to get your golf swing on plane.

Golf is a very precise game, and if you are not delivering the club to the ball at the exact right angle, your results will be poor. 

Making sure your swing is on plane on the downswing is very important and potentially more important than the backswing.

Some golfers will take the club back slightly off plane when they swing the club back, but be able to get it on plane for the impact and follow through. This is an effective way of playing golf. 

Swing plane will change the way the club comes into the impact position. Depending on where your club is in relation to the perfect swing plane angle, it will be either open or closed.

Hitting the golf ball with a square club face is what helps give it the most distance and the straightest direction. 

There are certain areas of golf that amateur players may not choose to investigate or study. The game can get overwhelming, and not getting yourself stuck on ideas or concepts can be important at times.

When it comes to swing plane, all golfers need to have an understanding of the proper plane and how it affects their golf game. 

Types Of Golf Swing Plane

There are two basic types of golf swing plane. They are the one plane swing and the two plane swing.

Most golfers will fall into one of these two categories without fully understanding what this even means. Both swing methods are effective. 

One Plane Swing

A golfer with a one plane swing will have several characteristics that will make it easy for them to keep the club on plane.

A one plane swinger takes the club back and down on the same plane. There is very little movement of the head, and the swing is a very efficient but more narrow style golf swing.

Here are a few other things that you will notice about one plane swingers. 

  • The stance is generally a little wider to provide a stable base for a full turn
  • Players will look as though their stance is a bit more hunched over than the two plane golf swingers
  • The club will come back slightly inside and look more shallow in the back swing
  • The weight will not transfer to the right side quite as much as two plane swingers 
  • The golfer will look mostly centered when they are hitting the shot 
  • With a one plane swing the torso rotations is what helps to create power
  • Golfers swing the club up and down on the same swing plane making the one plane swing easy to repeat

Two Plane Swing  

A two plane golf swing requires a bit more work than a one plane golf swing, but it comes more natural to some players.

Generally speaking, if you are taller and naturally take the club back a little more upright, the two plane swing would be the best benefit for you.

Some characteristics will remain true of all two plane golf swingers. Here are a few of them. 

  • Medium width stance with a slightly more upright spine angle
  • Two plane swingers are going to have a lot more hip rotation and movement than that of a one plane swinger
  • Hands end up very high at the top of the golf swing
  • Arms will have a more active role in the swing than they do for the one place swinger
  • The club will generally come back a little more upright than a one plane swing but the player drops it on plane at the top
  • The key to a two plane swing is to make sure the club drops onto the proper plane when it gets to the top of the backswing

How To Swing On Plane

If you are a one plane swinger or a two plane swinger, it is essential to know how to swing on plane. If you can get the club started on the proper plane, then the rest of the golf swing will be that much easier.

Most importantly, golfers should understand that the transition at the top of the back swing becomes one of the most crucial steps for how to swing on plane. 

If you are a one plane swing golfer, when you get to the top of your backswing, you will need to let the body rotate and the arms will follow. Since the club is already on plane you can simply rotate, and the club should return to the golf ball at the exact right position. 

This takes quite a bit less effort than the two plane swing once golfers get used to the concept. If you are someone that likes to use your bigger muscles when swinging the golf club, the one plane swing is a great choice. It is a more compact and efficient motion than other options out there. 

For two plane golf swingers, you will have to perfect the move at the top of the backswing. Many golfers describe this as dropping the club into the slot.

The golf club will be slightly above plane and upright at the top. The right arm will drop into place, allowing the club to return to the proper swing plane. 

This process makes the arms and hands more active in the downswing. Golfers who play this way are generally very good with their hands and arms and know how to time them properly. The two plane swing can be great for power it just takes a little while to develop the consistency. 

Both the one plane and the two plane swings are seen on the PGA Tour. There is certainly no right or wrong way to do this.

However, I will give you a bit of information as a person who has played with both a one plane and a two plane swing. I found the one plane to be more consistent, but when the two plane swing was on, there was nothing like it.

If you have the time to put in at the range and work on your game, two plane can be great, if you don’t stick with the simpler one plane. 

Common Swing Plane Mistakes

When it comes to mistakes with swing plane, you will either be off plane or on plane. For some golfers this means that you are going to be upright or over the plane line or shallow and under the plane line.

These two mistakes are going to lead to much different results. It is essential to understand the differences. 

Shallow Golf Swing

A shallow golf swing is a mistake that many lower handicap players can make in their golf game. When you keep the club somewhat shallow, it can actually help you hit a draw and get some great distance.

However, there is a point that you will cross where you are taking the club back too shallow and could therefore cause some pretty ugly misses. 

A shallow golf swing could cause a golfer to hook the ball. The club comes a bit too far inside on the back swing, and when it wraps back around the player’s body, the club face can close and cause a hook. 

If a golfer never releases the club, the shallow golf swing could also cause a golfer to push the ball.

A shallow golf swing plane can usually be easier to fix than an upright golf swing plane. You will need to work on a golf swing plane drill, but this is a mistake that can be fixed quite easily. 

Upright Golf Swing

When your club gets off plane because it is too upright, you will often see that it is not wrapping around your body as it should. You will notice that on the back swing, the club keeps moving up, but it never goes around the body the way that it should. 

An upright backswing generally leads to an upright downswing. Some players are able to take an upright back swing and get it back on plane, but it is a complicated process, and some players struggle with consistency. 

When you are a golfer that has an upright downswing, this is when you will start to notice some larger scale errors in your golf swing. When the club is coming down into impact with an upright swing plane, it is nearly impossible to release the club head.

If you can’t release the club head of the club, then chances are it will be open, and your shot will go to the right. 

If you are able to get the club on a slightly more square target line, the face will still be open, and you will probably slice the ball. One of the most common reasons for a golfer hitting a slice is that their club was too upright. 

Work on some of our drills to help make sure that you don’t allow yourself to create an upright golf swing.

Golf Swing Plane Drills 

Here are a few of our favorite golf swing plane drills for you to work on.

Each of these drills will help you make sure that the swing is on plane for the downswing. 

Alignment Sticks

golf swing plane alignment sticks drill

Golf alignment sticks can be a great way to help you work on your swing plane. You can use one or two alignment sticks for this drill, but we think one is just fine. Setup to hit the golf ball with the alignment stick in the ground at an angle to match your swing plane. 

As you take the club back, you will want the stick to pass under the plane, and when you complete your downswing, you will want it to pass under the stick again.

If, for some reason, you are taking the club too upright, you may hit the stick on the downswing. Most of the time, the stick won’t break, and most golfers find that just having the visual of the stick keeps them from hitting it. 

Ball Between Arms

For golfers that swing on one plane, it is important to make sure that you stay connected throughout your entire swing. If you are letting your arms get away from your body, then chances are you are changing swing planes.

This is not encouraged with the one plane swing. The this swing plane drill, you can ensure you stay connected. 

Take a small ball, usually smaller than a soccer ball, larger than a tennis ball, and place it between your forearms.

Keep the ball in place and try and hit some golf balls. If you notice the ball falling out when you are in your backswing, chances are you are a bit upright on your swing plane. 

Try swinging this way a few times and then drop the ball and see how it affects the way you hit a golf ball. The shots should feel more solid and travel along the proper path. 

Video

Although the video is not necessarily a swing plane drill, ensuring you check your plane from time to time is quite important. When you take a video of your swing, you can see where the clubhead is in relation to the golf ball.

If you can edit the video, it is very easy to draw a line about where the perfect swing plane line is and see how your shaft travels in relation to that line. 

Conclusion

Hopefully, this golf swing plane guide helped you feel as though you understand a bit more about the plane.

Now you can officially call yourself a one plane or a two plane swinger and understand exactly what it means.

Don’t get too caught up on which swing is better or worse. Find an option that is more natural for your game and stick with it. Something that feels better is going to be much easier to repeat. 

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