An Easy Drill to Fix Your Flat Shoulder Plane

By John Elliott, Jr.

Poles, poles, I am surrounded by poles. The question is why? What do they have to do with you swinging the golf club better? Well let me show you. This is my favorite pole. I use this one all the time. It has a nice big point on it. I send some students which I don’t prefer working with to catch it. Only kidding. But this one I use for turning your shoulders.

Pole Drill to Fix Your Shoulder Plane

So you get the feeling of a full shoulder rotation, and a full shoulder rotation for you right handers would have your right shoulder going all the way behind your head and showing up on the left side of your head. Then we use the pole the same way but for hip rotation. We put it back here behind our hips and we turn to the left, and we get all the way through the shot.

Instead of going through this way, you can see when I slide my hips the pole does not move very much, but when I rotate the pole moves a tremendous amount. So we use it different areas of the body to get the body to do different things. For some people that are really tight I will get them to grip the pole and actually get them swinging the pole back and forth, either up high or down where a ball would be, just to get the feeling of swinging something longer and heavier so that they put some more freedom in their golf swing.

Poles to Visualize Shoulder Plane

There are two other poles here also. They are basically shafts and they are used to help you establish and find your swing plane. What is plane, what does that mean? Well, when you set your golf club down, the lie angle of that club, and this is a wedge, is the plane on which that club should be swinging. So lie angle equals plane.

When I walk up to set up to this golf ball, this shaft line and that pole line, in fact both of them should be basically the same line. If I take the club back inside then I am off plane, I am too much inward. If I take it back outside I am off plane again, I am too much up and out. On the flip side, if I take it back on-plane the club will run right up the pole. It will come down right under the pole. It will hit the golf ball straight and then it goes up the pole on the other side. So you can use poles to find swing plane.

Modifying Swing Plane Drill For the Driver

Now I would not recommend doing that at full speed with a driver, you could hurt yourself very severely, but if you were trying to learn that during the winter at home, or if you are trying to learn it at home period, where you can make some motions using these to find the feel. If you elect to do that one of the suggestions I would make is that when you are doing it, every once in a while close your eyes and feel the plane of your swing versus seeing the plane of your swing.

So don’t be afraid when you go to the practice tee to take some poles with you; they are invaluable. They can be used for plane, they can be used for pivot, they can be used for alignment, they can be used for many things. Get used to using them and it is going to make what you are trying to do simpler and easier and you will learn it more quickly. Good luck with that.

Category: Swing Drills

About the Instructor

John Elliott, Jr.
John Elliott, Jr.
St. Andrews Golf & Country Club
3N441 Route 59
West Chicago, IL 60185
Tel: 630-231-3160

John Elliott, Jr., is listed as one of Golf Magazine's Top 100 Teachers and Golf Digest's #39 instructor in the world. He is the head professional at the Country Club of Ocala in Ocala, Florida.