If you’ve ever watched any pro golf on television, then you’ve probably heard an announcer comment about a golf swing plane at some point. It’s something that is often mentioned but never really explained in any detail.
Today, we’re going to break that tradition and talk all about the golf swing plane.
The golf swing plane is an imaginary disc covering the golf club’s path while moving through a golf swing. Analyzing the golf swing plane allows for swing correction and improvement to a golfers game.
Understanding the critical factors related to the golf swing plane is crucial for learning and improving your golf swing.
These key factors include understanding a steep plane versus a shallow plane swing, the club’s lie angle, and the clubface direction at the point of the ball strike.
We’ll discuss each of these, how the golf swing plane relates, and a few tips to help you improve your plane and stay within it to improve your game.
The physics of A Golf Swing – The Club
When we look at the fundamental concept of swinging a golf club, we must first examine the club to ascertain the best use method.
A couple of critical features to a golf club that we’ve got to take a quick look at help better understand the golf swing plane.
Lie angle is the angle between the shaft and ground when the clubhead is parallel to the ground (in the optimum striking position).
The plane of the golf swing is best when it matches the correct lie angle for a club.
When the golf swing occurs, the clubface must strike the ball at the optimum desired angle.
Two vectors determined the striking clubface angle: up and down and left to right.
When a clubface is facing slightly outward, it is known as an open face strike. It will make the ball travel to the right for a right-hand swing and to the left for a left-hand swing.
Opposing the open face is the closed face.
When a clubface is tilted slightly towards the golfer, it is considered a closed face. It will make the golf ball go towards the left if the golfer is right-handed and right if the golfer is left-handed.
Similarly, if a golf face is angled too far upward (due to the club leading the golf swing), it will pop the ball upward.
And likewise, if the clubface is angled downward, it will cause the ball to skip along the ground without gaining height.
The former might occur when the golf club head is trailing too far behind the golfer’s arms, making the swing.
If you’re having issues controlling your clubface and finding you slice the ball a lot, take a look at our Weekend Golfer coaching ‘How To Fix A Slice’
How Swing Plane Angle relates To Lie Angle And The Club Face
As mentioned earlier, the lie angle is the angle between a golf club shaft and the ground. This angle occurs when the club is held with the head at the optimum striking angle and position relative to the ball and ground.
When designing and engineering a golf club, the clubhead is mounted to the shaft at a specific angle. That angle creates the basis for the lie angle.
The optimum golf swing plane angle is equal to the lie angle of the club.
Similarly, the golf club face is angled depending on the club type. For example, a chipping or sand wedge club head angles much more upward than that of a driver. If the golf swing angle is too steep, the clubhead face angle will force the ball to travel away from the golfer’s intended path (right for right-handed and left for left-handed).
The opposite is valid for a golf swing that occurs too narrow in its plane of travel. A ball will travel towards the side of the golfer from the intended path. In other words, the ball will go to the left of the intended path if the golfer is right-handed and vice versa for left-handed.
If you’d like to learn about the left-handed golf swing, look at our article about it here.
The golf Swing Plane – Shallow V Steep
Steep golf Swing Plane
Sometimes a golf swing plane is too vertical. The angle of rotation of the swing is greater than the lie angle for the club.
When this occurs, it is known as a steep golf swing.
A steep swing will cause the clubface to direct outward (known as a flat lie angle, even though the pitch isn’t flat to the ground), causing the ball to travel more to the right if the golf swing is right-handed and to the left, if the swing is left-handed.
Shallow Golf Swing Plane
When a golf swing angle plane is smaller than the lie angle, it is known as a shallow golf swing.
The club lie angle in a shallow swing is known as an upright lie angle. The upright lie angle causes the ball to go to the left when the golfer is swinging right-handed. Opposingly, the ball will travel more to the right if the golfer has a left-handed swing.
Many golfers have concerns with shallowing their swing. We’ve got some great tips for you about ensuring that you shallow your swing to match your lie angle.
Tips For Correcting golf Swing Plane Angle
One of the most common golfers’ problems is not getting a proper golf swing plane angle to match their particular club. Often golfers tend to swing the club too steep, overextending the correct lie angle. When this happens, a golfer must work on shallowing their golf swing.
We’ve got an article you’ll like regarding that; so, check it out here if you’re interested.
Tuck That Trailing Elbow
When a swing winds up being too steep, there is usually an elbow or wrist problem. Try keeping the trailing arm’s elbow tucked in tight. That will help you control the swing in more of a shallow line closer to the perfect lie angle.
Keep That Posture in Check
Posture is another huge factor in the swing plane. And if you’re a beginner, then you have probably been told to keep your head down. New golfers tend to raise their heads too soon when swinging their club around the golf swing plane.
Lifting the head too early throws off the strike and follow-through of the swing, so if you want to maintain that sweet swing plane angle that lets your targeting shine, then keep your head down and never take those eyes off the ball.
Leading With Your Hands
Many golfers think the club should act as an extension of their arm during the golf swing. Although this should be true to some degree, the club shaft angle should not be equivalent to the grade your arms are pointing as they swing around the golf swing plane.
The best analogy is to consider the golf club more of a fluid moving whip than a rigid shafted club. Allowing the clubhead to trail behind your swing provides a more shallow swing closer to the intended lie angle.
The swing that leads with the hands and follows with the club is a swing with more accuracy and power behind it. And it is a swing that will have a superior golf swing plane angle compared to steep or overly shallow swings that don’t lead with the hands.
Use A Guide
Try sticking a pole into the ground on a 45-degree angle over the golf ball, pointing at you.
When you swing, your club swing plane angle must be below the pole, or you’re going to hit the pole with your hands or club. This simple practice can help you dramatically improve your swing plane.
The Last Tip of The Day
The last tip I have for you today is geared more towards those who are a little more seasoned on the course. You’re looking to improve your game, and you are serious about your results.
If this sounds like you and you want to add some gas to your game’s fire, you should consider some golf coaching as we offer our golf coaching services. After all, if you want to play like a PGA pro, you should learn from one.