This week, I will build off last week's tip, the Grip, with the next big factor – the Plane.
For most, the plane is defined as "a mysterious zone that exists somewhere in the universe other than in his/her swing." Like the Sasquatch, it is believed to be more myth than fact. Few have truly seen a proper swing plane, a phrase made up by pros in order to sell lessons. I'm here to tell you folks, I've seen it, and it is glorious!
Swing Plane Defined by Wade
Swing plane is the 3D line that travels from the heel of the club up the shaft, through the belt buckle, and beyond the back for eternity. This is simply how the club travels at a 90-degree angle around your spine during the swing. Why? Because God made you that way. At address, your knees are slightly bent, butt back, and spine bent at roughly 45 degrees.
If you look at the photo below, you will notice 2 lines that are angled at 45 degrees: the bottom is the swing plane, the top line is where your arms will be at the top of your back swing. Together, they make up the region known as "the slot."
Why a Top Line?
Since God placed your shoulders on top of the spine and not at your stomach (thank you Lord, we would look ridiculous in hoodies), the club has to move momentarily from the bottom line to the top, as our shoulder turn reaches 90-degrees.
The image below shows Adam Scott with a 90-degree turn and his left arm running along the top line, parallel to the swing plane. Right elbow tucked, club is "laid off" (points behind him and slightly skyward.)
The image below shows 3 downswing regions defined by colors:
On Plane: The ideal downswing is in green, where the club travels between the mid-bicep to the elbow. Ball contact is typically crisp and allows a straight ball flight with only variable degrees a turn.
Slightly Steep (yellow): A reasonable downswing has the club travel from mid-bicep to the shoulder. Contact is more inconsistent than an On Plane swing, but can produce some consistent results as long as the club is square at impact. The ball is pulled or moves left to right.
Over the Top (red): This downswing starts over the shoulder and remains in front of the body the entire way down to impact, causing a steep angle of attack into the ball. This is usually violent and ugly. The swing is usually accompanied by the words "fore!" or "$&!?" and especially "&@$#!!!" ("Holy" is often a prefix to such words, and can be used independently followed by silence and a club flying across the sky). The ball sometimes does not travel as far as the divot (the innocent 6-12 inches of turf that existed prior to grazing the ball with the club face.) The ball flight typically looks like it may have a chance at glory, before taking a direct right turn, like a poorly made paper airplane. This requires immediate professional help.