Understanding the One Plane Swing
START HERE: "Get Your Arms On Plane at the Top of the Backswing" Video
Watch "5 Min to the Perfect Backswing" video and improve today!
Jim Hardy believes there are a
few fundamentals that must be performed properly that differ significantly
from that of a two plane swing. Hardy firmly believes that there are
no interchangable parts between the two swings, he calls them oil and
water. However, if this were true, every golfer on the PGA Tour would
neatly fall into one or the other and strictly follow Hardy's fundamentals.
Of course, this is simply not the case and almost every golfer on tour
is more of a hybrid than anything else. If you are looking for the purest
demonstration of Hardy's ideas of a one plane swing, I highly recommend
you study Peter Jacobsen's swing, as well as Scott McCarron. Of course,
you will notice that not very many other golfers' swings look like Jacobsen
or McCarron's, but if you want to follow Hardy to a "T", that
is where you should look. Below I will talk about the swings in more
detail and attempt to point out areas that I differ from Hardy, but
will mostly stick with Hardy's theories here so as to provide a more
complete reference of the two swings.
1. The shoulders swing on a steeper plane
The shoulders should always turn perpindicular to the spine in either swing, this is nothing new. The spine should be tilted over more at address in a one plane swing, which will allow the shoulders to rotate on a steeper plane allowing the arms to swing up on plane. Compare the two photos below of myself and David Toms. Note how David swings the club above the shaft plane he established at address very early in the swing. He keeps the club outside of his hands in order to keep it from coming too far inside. This is a commonly taught position in today's modern teaching and David performs it perfectly. You can already see how his arms are separating from his torso in an effort to create width. In a one plane swing, too much width is a bad characteristic according to Hardy, so the arms swing more to the inside and across the chest. Hogan also talked a great deal about his arms swinging across his chest and the connection he maintained of his upper arms to his chest throughout his swing. At this position, Hardy would like to see the arms more into my right hip and closer to my body at this point. I don't do that because I like for the club to flow a bit more on its natural arc rather than pulling my arms across my chest very early with my right arm.
2. The left arm stays connected to the chest and rotates
One of Hardy's key fundamentals is to keep the arms in close to the body with the left arm connected to the chest. The left arm staying connected to the chest is a key element in a one plane swing that allows the body to control the arms - a key to power and accuracy. As I mentioned, Hogan talked about this in his book, Five Fundamentals. Both arms stay close to the body to decrease width and give control of the golf club over to the torso, removing the responsibility from the much more difficult to control arms. This allows you to use the big muscles of your body to swing the club because the arms are a completely unreliable source of power and control. This swinging motion happens naturally because the arms are simply being led by the rotating body and are being allowed to swing back behind the chest similar to a baseball swing. You can clearly see here that David's arms are continuing their very upward movement whereas mine are swinging more around behind me. A simple way to look at this is that in a one plane swing the arms and body are more in sync, with the arms naturally swinging with the rotation of the body on the same plane. In the two plane swing the body rotates and the arms lift. Hardy differs here a fair bit and you will see that as the arms reach this 9 o'clock position that the shaft will be more upright and pointing at a place somewhere between the golfer's feet and the ball. My shaft points directly at the ball, as does Toms, although my hands are much deeper at this point.
In order to arrive in this one plane position at the top, the arms must stay connected to the body, although Hardy would rather see the right arm pointing more behind me. The right forearm pointing straight down at the ground is a very Hoganesque positiong that I think provides a golfer with a significant amount of control over the club. You can see that you could place a headcover under each of my arms and they would stay securely in place throughout the swing. My visual is that my left arm is velcroed to my chest. I like this image because velcro gives a little, allowing for some feeling in the arm, but it also gives me the feeling that my arm is securely held in place without me "holding" it in place by being tense. I believe that the arm must be allowed to swing into this position, not be forced into it. You should feel as if you are in a very connected and powerful position at the top of the swing, all the while feeling alive and dynamic. .