The swing plane is defined as the angle at which you swing the club around your body. An easy way to understand the swing plane is to observe where the butt end of the grip points throughout the swing. In order to understand the explanation of swing plane you must also understand the target line. The target line is an imaginary line that runs through the golf ball in both directions.
Begin by taking a set up and making a practice swing. Once the club reaches waist high, your wrists will hinge and the end of the club will begin to point down toward the ball. Throughout the backswing, downswing and forward swing, the butt end of the grip will point down toward the ground. To swing the club on one plane, try to keep the end of the grip pointing out in front of you down toward the target line for as long as possible.
If you swing with a steep swing plane the butt end of the grip will point between your toes and the target line on the downswing. An extreme comparison is the motion of chopping wood with an axe. On the other hand, a flat swing plane will point the end of the grip toward the opposite side of the target line. An extreme motion of a flat swing is similar to the motion of swinging a baseball bat. Steep swings generally create a ball flight that start left of the target while a flat swing generally creates a ball flight that starts to the right of your target.
There are thousands of products and drills promising to transform your game into a tour caliber golf swing. Unfortunately, many amateurs fail to see the improvement. Throughout my career I have seen many great drills and swing aids. I recommend the following drills and teaching aids that will help ingrain an efficient swing plane.
The Grip Down Drill is beneficial to learn the proper movements including the swing plane, swing path and release of the golf club. Personally, I have used the drill to ingrain the proper movements in my swing since I participated in junior golf over 20 years ago. There are very few drills that provide instant feedback while versatile enough to practice anywhere, including the comfort of your own home.
Begin by taking a normal stance. Place a club, umbrella or alignment stick on the ground (approximately three feet from your toes) parallel to your feet so it represents the target line. Grip the club on the shaft just below the grip. Start with club head around your knees and the end of the grip pointing towards your stomach. Swing the club and pay attention where the end of the grip points in the backswing, downswing and forward swing. The butt end of the grip should point down toward the target line. If it points toward your toes or other side of the ball the swing plane is slightly off.
Another effective training aid is the Inside Approach. While the Inside Approach is designed to correct an “over the top” motion, it will also effectively eliminate a steep swing into the ball. It’s a simple tool that positions a small tubular cushion over the ball. Swing off plane, and your club will strike the cushion which easily breaks away to prevent any damage to your club or injury to you. Swing on plane and the club passes cleanly through the ball and leaves the suspended cushion in place.
Finally, one last option is to try working with a training aid known as the Swing Plane Perfector. The Swing Plane Perfector allows students to basically set up with alignment sticks consistently at the correct angle at home or the practice range.
Some teachers stick the alignment sticks in the ground at the proper angle to promote an on-plane swing. This can be tricky and is certainly less than precise. Plus, one cannot insert alignment sticks in the ground like this when hitting off mats or indoors. The Swing Plane Perfector solves for this by allowing alignment sticks to be set at any angle. Check out their video at http://www.swingplaneperfector.com/ to learn more about how this tool can help your swing plane.