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Ballantrae at Birmingham Instructional Tips


Golf Tip of the Month for March 2017

From PGA Golf Professional Jerry Applegate

This month we are going to talk about swing plane.  Swing plane is an extremely important aspect of the golf swing that is often misunderstood and applied incorrectly.  There are many different planes in the golf swing (shoulder plane, elbow plane, hand plane, etc.).  When I say swing plane I am referring to the shaft plane.  The swing plane is the angle that the shaft of your club makes with the ground at address.  Each iron club that you have has a “lie angle”.  This is set at an angle so that your irons are soled properly on the ground when you set up.  For example, you don’t want the toe or heel of the club to be sticking up in the air at address.  You want the sole of the iron set up level with the ground.

My 8 iron has a lie angle of 63 degrees.  When I set the club up at address, the shaft forms an angle of 63 degrees with the ground.  When you swing the club, you want to maintain the 63 degree swing plane throughout the swing.  Through history there have been very few players (Ben Hogan was one) that kept their club perfectly on plane throughout the swing.  So even though we may not keep our club perfectly on plane, if we can keep it on plane for most of the swing, we will hit the ball much more solidly.  Plus we will hit it straighter and longer.

A very important first step is to start your backswing on plane.  The golf swing is very much like a chain reaction.  If we start it properly, the other parts often fall into place.  To start our backswing on plane we want to start the swing with a turn of the shoulders.  Not a lift of the hands or a breaking of the wrists.  By starting the swing with our shoulders we have properly started the sequence of the swing, we have created a turn and we have set the club on line with the target; 3 extremely important aspects of the swing.

So…. we’ve got your swing started with a turn, on line and ON PLANE! What a great start.  Next month we’ll talk about the downswing and the finish and how that relates to the swing plane. On the website there is a Swing Plane Video that goes over these very points. Go to Instruction on the drop down menu, then Instructional Tips, then the video is on the screen.  Remember, keep it on plane!


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