- Apr 12, 2012
- Reaction score
When taking up golf as an adult, one of the MANY issues that one must confront is what I call the "Swing Plane Conundrum."
Looking closely at the picture above, imagine a flexible tape measure, charting the distance between the golfer's right shoulder, the place where he grips the club, and then down along the club to the ball. Call it, "X inches" in total. Now imagine the golfer striking the ball. When he strikes the ball the line from shoulder to the ball is a STRAIGHT line, not the bent line shown in the picture. The angle between his arms and the club has been eliminated by the centrifugal force of the club. Hence, the distance from the shoulder to the ball increases by an inch or two (X plus two inches).
We all know that beginning golfers are told to keep their head absolutely motionless, and to rotate around the sternum during the backswing and swing (some use a different description but you get the idea). So if you do all that, the result will be...striking the ground slightly behind the ball. Because the distance from the shoulder to the head of the club has increased by a couple inches.
And that is what I had to fight for the first year or so when I started golfing at age 50. One difficulty in making this correction is that teaching professional golfers deny the existence of this problem. I surmise that the reason why they deny it is because they, themselves, learned to hit a golf ball as a yoot, and they quickly taught themselves, unconsciously, to raise up by a couple inches when swinging the club, and that lifting is so second-nature now that they not only don't know they are doing it, but will swear an oath that they are not doing it.
But regardless, the community of adult-learner golfers had to figure this out without the help of their instructors, and many of "us" eventually found out about the "single-plane swing," pioneered quite unwittingly buy Canadian golf legend Moe Norman, a self-taught golfer of the 50's, 60's and 70's. Recently, professional golfer Bryson Dechambeau has made waves and gained followers with the same unorthodox technique. The technique basically involves eliminating the distance difference by addressing the ball with the arms and the golf club in a straight line.
So, if you are a non-golfer or a casual golfer and are curious about why DeChambeau looks so odd when addressing the ball, this is it. He is employing the single-plane swing. It is controversial exactly because golf professionals insist that this is the WRONG WAY to address the ball, so it slightly pisses them off that such a notorious golfer is employing an unorthodox swing.
Just thought I'd mention it.