An Easy Way to Understand What the Golf Swing Plane Is

An Easy Way to Understand What the Golf Swing Plane Is

I am standing here on the seventh tee; it is kind of a nice time to talk about how we can gain some consistency in our swing. We would like to be able to hit this shot and hit it on to the green. Well, to be able to talk about that we need to be able to swing our club on the right path.

Swing Plane: Hula Hoop Analogy

I have this club here in front of me to show the directional path, and if you notice we are standing to the side of this line. Because we are standing to the side of the line the club takes on the elements of a circle, so I have a hula hoop here to show the elements of the circle.

  • In the circle, it can be straight up and down which would be pretty steep. If you had a circle like this you would take deep divots because the club is coming straight down on the ball or you might even top your ball here because as the club comes down to steep at the bottom you are going to try to save it.
  • Conversely you could be a bit lower here, which would be a lot shallower and you probably would not even take a divot. The circle also has a direction to it, so I could orient the circle out to the right, which means the shot would go out to the right and maybe hook back if I closed the clubface.
  • Or I could orient it to the left, which we call outside-in or too steep.

Swing the Club on a Circle

This is about as complicated as we get about swing plane, so your job is to swing the club on a circle and because the club is on the ground the club has to swing up a little bit, and once it swings up now it has to swing around your body. Most players get it backwards where they swing back first and then up. So all swings have up first and then around.

Let's take a look at the way it looks with a golf shot. Here is my setup, going towards the target, the club is going to swing up a little bit and then around me. And then around me on the other side. The ball ended up on the green, I have a chance to make a nice putt.

Consistent Swing Shape

The reason that the ball is there from a consistency standpoint is because my swing shape was very consistent so that I can do that over and over again. If my swing shape is all over the place I am not going to be as consistent in delivering my club to send it towards my target.

Think about this concept a little bit and see how it applies to your game and where you are from your circle. Is it oriented one way or the other; is it too steep or too shallow? Whatever it is do the opposite to find yourself in the middle, I know it will help you with your game a great deal.

Category: Swing Plane
Sub-Category: Swing Mechanics
About the Instructor
Laird Small
Laird Small
Pebble Beach Golf Academy
1700 17-Mile Drive
Pebble Beach, CA 93953
Tel: 831-622-8650

Laird Small is Director of The Pebble Beach Golf Academy and is listed as one of Golf Magazine's Top 100 Teachers and Golf Digest's #23 instructor in the world.


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