From watching golf on TV, you may have heard, at times, the commentator mentioning someone swinging the club flat, or maybe swinging the club around the body.
A golfer should have the club on a plane. Flat is just below the line, and upright or steep is over the plane. If it is related to your swing, it is observed from down the line. When seeing golf in this flat position looking down the line, we’re talking about the plane of a swing.
For a swing to be considered flat, the left-hand makes an angle of less than 45 degrees to the ground at the top of the backswing. What this means is that it is more horizontal than vertical, which is completely opposite the ‘upright’ swing.
Your flat swing should not negatively affect your golfing; it can be an essential tool in helping you attack the golf ball using an inside-to-outside path of the wing. This is key when hitting a draw. The shallow angle of approach also reduces your probability of first touching the ground and hitting the ball fat.
However, an extremely flat swing can end up giving you ugly, right-pushed shots, damaging duck hooks, and striking the balls close to the sole of the club.
If you encounter any of these challenges, the first action for you to take should be to check your swing plane.
It is important to know if you have a single plane or dual plane golf swing before you get started. You might actually even have a hybrid of the two, known simply as a hybrid swing.
Let’s take a look at how to check this and how to make corrections.
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Correct Shoulder Turn
Many amateur golfers, and possibly some pros, in some instances, suffer from a too-flat shoulder plane during their backswing. For the correct swing, your shoulders are supposed to turn back on a perpendicular plane to your spine at the address. The shoulder plane becomes flat when your shoulders turn on a plane that is more horizontal.
Effect of Your Shoulder Plane on Your Golf Swing
A shoulder plane that is too flat is a problem in that your golf club and arms are out of position. They become too far behind your body which then leads to a shift being created in your swing plane during the downswing, reducing the efficiency of your swing.
With that, you will need to compensate during the downswing to consistently square the club face. Your spine also becomes destabilized by a flat shoulder plane, which causes the lifting of your back and neck out of posture, giving you less power and inconsistent hits.
How to Check Your Backswing Shoulder Plane
To check the correctness of your shoulder plane, you can record your swing from down the line. With the aid of basic swing analysis software, draw a line coming from your tailbone base to behind your neck at the address. This is known as the spine angle line.
Draw another line running just above the shoulder behind and perpendicular to the spine angle line. You have a flat shoulder plane if, at the top of your backswing, the lead shoulder is above the spine angle line.
Also, you can observe your shoulder plane by doing your backswing as you face a mirror. At the top, your lead elbow should hide your trail elbow. If you are able to see the trailing elbow below the lead elbow, then the shoulder plane is flat. This is an excellent way of checking your shoulder plane, but it only works when your arms are correctly moved.
Warm up as usual before practice. Get some normal swings for practice as you look for a similar sensation. Your shoulders are supposed to perfectly turn on the plane.
If you have the habit of getting too flat during the backswing, this drill can be useful as you start your day for the desired feelings to be reset. You will have a much simpler downswing, and your hitting of the ball will be tremendously improved.
Make Super Flat Swings
The ideal way of correcting steepness is experiencing how the exact opposite feels. Attempt to make a full swing with the club not going beyond waist-high. You will not be able to keep it that low, but that is the aim here. You can go on to tee up a couple of balls and practice hitting shots in this manner.
To hit the ball, you will have to bend over more at the hip region. The swing will have a more rounded feel and is going to promote the proper plane and club release.
Use Your Right Arm
Practice on the range hitting 20-yard pitch shots using only your right arm. Maintain your finish, then place your left hand on the right grip. Your left arm should bend to do this. Many steep swingers try to keep their left arm straight. This drill is essential in helping to intuitively swing the club on the correct plane. It is also helpful in reconditioning you to feel the role of both arms. The right arm should be allowed to take the naturally dominant role.
Hit the Ball With Your Eyes Closed
Some individuals, whose swing is too flat, practice a swing that will bottom out behind the ball. Then, as they swing toward the ball, they expect a positive result that is not possible.
What can be done to fix this is taking some short swings at the ball with your eyes closed or blindfolded. A partner should place the ball a bit forward in the middle of your stance. As you swing, continue adjusting your path till you make a solid hit on the ball. On achieving this, note the difference of the swing from the original swing you made.
Use the Bounce
Occasionally, a shallow swinger will get the club’s leading edge in the ground, therefore, producing thin or fat shots. This can be rectified by taking a sand wedge and setting it such that the shaft slightly leans back at the address. Now try hitting shots as the club head slides on its sole along the turf or bounce, as the club moves left through impact.
This is a great drill that can be used to help improve your wedge play. When a golfer takes a shorter swing, more often than not, they will be challenged by a flat ‘armsy’ swing. This usually ends in weak shots that are sent out rightward.
You should allow your right elbow to fold in the wedge play takeaway move. You will realize how you are forced by the drill to take back the club outside your hands more. It helps in keeping you centered over the ball, creating a downswing plane that is steeper with your hands more in front of the chest.
The next step is for you is to turn through delivering the club – a very simple, repeatable, and efficient golf swing. Working on the drill will help you to quickly get a better understanding of what a great golf swing should feel like.
Fixes for an Extremely Flat Plane
- Stand closer to the ball – if your position at address is too far from the ball, your arms will be overextended, creating a swing path that is too ‘around’ the body. Move closer to position the club in a more upright arc, which then straightens the hooks.
- Straight back on the takeaway – having the club taken too extremely far inside the target line, will force you into a flat position. Give this drill a shot checking your takeaway, and doing necessary repair.
- Have a club head covered placed about 8 – 10 inches behind the ball and on the target line directly.
- Have the ball teed lower – There is probably nothing wrong with your fairway shots, but your drives may tend to veer to the left when the ball is teed too high; the path you take is a more horizontal path away from and into the ball. Your swing plane can be corrected by pushing the peg farther into the ground, putting you in a more on top of the ball position at address.
To most people, the swing plane may look a lot like science. They are not really sure what it is, what it is supposed to be, and how a proper on-plane golf swing may be achieved with minimal struggle. This quick guide will take you through what the swing plane is, as well as how your golf swing may be fixed. So take your time, and soon enough, you will know how to fix a flat golf swing.