The “SWING TRACK” DRILL – Corrects Your Swing Plane
This easy drill has the potential to be the most helpful drill you’ve ever tried. This is absolutely the best drill for keeping your swing on-plane that I have ever seen. This simple little drill will actually cure a huge number of swing faults.
This drill doesn’t require any special equipment so it’s easy to try. You can do it at home, at the range or while you’re waiting between shots at the course. It should make your backswing as easy as 1-2-3. It should give you dramatically more confidence over the ball.
Note: This drill works terrifically for Simple Swingers and and all variations of Natural Golf where at address you hold your hands in the position that they will be in at impact. In effect, by holding the hands slightly higher than traditional golfers you are actually starting the swing with your hands on-plane. Setting up at address with your hands on plane makes the swing much, much easier. It makes staying on-plane much much easier. As long as you start in the normal position for Simple Swing or Natural Golf this drill will be tremendously helpful to you. For traditional golfers this drill will work as long as you raise your hands up a bit at address to get them to where they will be at impact (i.e., on-plane).
There is no technical reason to start with your hands low and off plane in the traditional golf swing. Starting with your hands off-plane means your backswing will be off-plane and you’ll have to make manipulations to get the club back on-plane on the downswing. That’s fine for pros like Jim Furyk who’ve practiced that move for decades but normal golfers have little chance of doing that move consistently.
Definition of “Swing Plane”
If you remember from geometry a “plane” is defined by three points. Your swing “plane” is also defined by three points. The three points that define your swing plane are:
1. The Ball
2. Your Front Shoulder Joint (Your front shoulder joint is the “axis” or center of your golf swing.)
3. The Target
If you’ve always been a bit unsure about the “swing plane” and whether your swing is really on-plane then this drill will show you.
This drill just involves putting two clubs down on the ground in a special way.
Here’s what you do to set up for this Swing Plane drill.
1. First you lay a club down about a foot behind the ball right on the extended target line. (The extended target line is an imaginary line that extends from the target by through the ball.) I will refer to the first club as the “target line club”.
2. Next, take your stance check where your hands are. Then lay a 2nd club down parallel to the first club but right in-line with your hands. By that I mean you put the 2nd club “right behind” your hands parallel and even with the club on the extended target line. I will refer to the 2nd club as the “hand line club”.
BTW, this drill works best if you have your arms a little straighter than the guy in the image above!!! (As soon as the weather warms up a little I do some pictures of this drill.)
How far the first club (the target line club) is from the 2nd club (the hand line club) depends on which club you’re using because you’ll have a more upright stance with your hands closer to the ball (and the extended target line) when using a shorter club. When using a longer club then those clubs will be slightly farther apart. This does mean that when you change club you do have to reposition the hand line club to match your new hand position.
There are two simple checkpoints in this drill.
During The Backswing The Club Shaft Should Point At The Extended Target Line
As the club comes back 45 degrees from the ball, the shaft of the club should be pointing at target line club. That will help insure you are on plane. Make sure the club head end of the shaft is pointing at the target line club when it’s 45 degrees back from the ball. That will you get your backswing started correctly on-plane.
Checkpoint #1 (Shaft Horizontal)
As the shaft of the club comes to a horizontal position it should be directly over the hand line club. So your first checkpoint is making sure your shaft is right over the hand line club. This means that when the shaft is horizontal it should be parallel to the target line just like the hand line club is. This is a key checkpoint. It will help you instantly see if you’re on-plane at this point. Make a number of partial backswings just going to this first checkpoint just to make sure you get the “feeling” of where you should be to make a truly on-plane backswing. See also “The Shoulder Waggle” http://simplegolf.com/blog/full-swing/basics-full-swing/set-up-waggle-or-shoulder-waggle-before-every-swing/
Checkpoint #2 (Front Arm Horizontal)
As you continue your backswing your front arm should come up to a horizontal position which is Checkpoint #2. When your front arm is horizontal you should be able to look down at the hand line club and immediately see if your front arm is parallel to that club. Your front arm won’t be right over the hand line club. It will be a little inside the hand line club which makes it easier to see and use as a checkpoint. When you can see that your front arm is parallel to the hand line club you also need to double check that the butt of the club is pointing towards the extended target line club. This is most easily done by sticking a long white tee in the grip hole on the butt of the club. Then when your front arm is parallel you should easily be able to see if the tee stuck in the butt end is pointing at the target line club. So the third checkpoint has two parts. In part one you look down and check to make sure that when your front arm is horizontal it’s also parallel to the hand line club. Also at this checkpoint you should make sure that when your arm is horizontal that the butt of the club is pointing at the target line club.
The key to this drill is the “hand line”. That’s why when you practice you should put a club on the hand line whenever you can. When you set up arm pretty straight out as we do in Symple Swing then we are setting up with our hands (and the club) on plane meaning they are on the swing plane. The hand line club is really a “plane line” because as your hands move along that line (as opposed to inside or outside of it) they stay online and pretty much assure that you’ll keep the club on-plane also.
Note: We are not saying having your lead arm parallel to your hand line (and the extended target line) should be the top of your swing. It certainly can be the top of your backswing especially when you are learning. However it is okay to continue turning at which point your lead arm will start moving inside more and that’s exactly what we want in order to stay on-plane because the swing plane is tilted.
Check out the picture on the left.
Notice that with the club shaft horizontal the hand are still on-plane. That’s the position you should be in at Checkpoint 1. This is where your club would be right over the hand line club. In this case there is not a hand line club on the ground. The extended target line is represented here by the yellow line on the ground.
In the “red line” picture the “Hand Line” is where the red line is. That’s where you should put your club on the ground. In this picture the swing plane is indicated by the circular swing trainer. With Symple Swing your hands start out on-plane (actually in the impact position). At address your hands are even with the hand line (that’s why we call it a hand line, duh!) Note that when the club shaft is horizontal the shaft should be parallel to the extended target line (indicated by the gray line on the ground. Obviously the hand line is parallel to the extended target line also.
By far the easiest way for your swing to be “on-plane” is to have your hands start on-plane (and stay on-plane). That’s why we start with our hands so called higher (actually just on-plane). There is no bio-mechanical reason to start with your hands off-plane (i.e., lower that the plane) like the traditional golf swing does. STARTING WITH YOUR HANDS LOWER THAN THE PLANE MAKES IT TREMENDOUSLY MORE DIFFICULT TO GET YOUR SWING ON-PLANE.
If anyone can come up with a justification for addressing the ball with your hands lower than the plane I’d love to hear it. I’ve discussed this with lots of pros and about that only answer I ever get is because “that’s the way we always did it”.
Note that in the picture the hands have traveled straight back along the hand line to get to this point. Start out trying this drill with your shorter clubs and then work your way up to your driver. This would be a good drill to do every time before you go out to play. This drill will even help you with chipping. Just concentration on bringing your hands back right on the line shown by the hand line club.
Here’s a quote from one of the Symple Swinger who tried this drill. “I love it. Now, I’m a machine. I’ve never been so confident”.
Please try this swing plane drill and leave a comment below about how you like it.