We believe every golfer has a unique way of swinging and we don’t believe in putting our students in a swing method, model or shape. We want to keep the natural athleticism in the golf swing, in other words, we are not changing the golf swing but refining what the student already has. Every lesson is individual to that particular student, and the changes should feel comfortable to them.
The goal of a lesson is to identify the main golf shot that the student is struggling with in their game, for example, a bad hook or slice in their full swing. Our teaching philosophy is based around correcting the flight of the ball and creating a better club and ball impact. Our focus is on the student’s ball contact, how much divot and direction of divot, ball trajectory and direction, face contact and sound of the shot.
We believe a better swing plane will produce better contact and more consistent shots. As John Jacobs and Jim Hardy say, the function of the golf swing is to make a correct repeatable impact. The method used is not important as long as the swing is repeatable. Good shots are the result of getting the right impact, but most of us are too far out of position to find a correct “repeatable” impact. The only way to get a correct repeatable impact is to be less out of position during the swing. What less out of position means is to be on-plane.
As the student becomes a better golfer, swing shape does play a part. There are two categories of swing shape, arm driven and body driven. The arm driven swing shapes rely on timing, tempo and rhythm to become a better golfer while the body driven rely on better positions during the swing.
The golf swing plane contains two principles because of the location of the ball on the ground beside the player. The ball is beside the player versus being on the target line. Many sports are called on-line games since the player stands on the target line. Basketball, bowling, shooting pool, darts, shuffleboard and croquet are on-line games. The motion is pretty much straight back and straight through. In golf the player is at the side of the target line and the ball is on the target line making golf a side-on game with a circular motion. Hockey, polo, baseball and tennis are other side-on games. The swing has to go in a circle. The second part of the plane involves the up and down element. Since the ball is on the ground a golfer must swing the club down, under and up to effectively hit the ball with force.
These two parts – circular and up and down – form a plane. In the backswing as you go around, you also go up to form the backswing plane. As you come down, you return around to impact for the downswing plane and then back up and around for the follow through. The important thing to remember is the more you go up and down and the less you go around, the more upright your plane is said to be, similar to a Ferris wheel. The opposite is true. The more you go around and the less you go up and down, the flatter the plane. The swing is more like a merry-go-round. An upright plane and a flat plane are two opposite planes with two almost opposite sets of fundamentals.
In an upright swing plane the shoulders work on a fairly level plane to the ground while the arms are working up and down, this is called a two-plane swing. In a flatter swing plane a golfer is more bent over to allow the shoulders to work on the same plane as the arms, called one-plane swing.
There is much information available on The Golf Channel, golf telecasts and print media and most of it is contradictory. Most all the apparent contradictions are explainable if separated into the two sets of fundamentals. You need to determine which swing style you use (one or two plane) and then you will discover the fundamentals that pertain to your swing method.
Practicing effectively means learning to discard fundamentals that do not fit your style and use those that do. Golf is hard enough without practicing those things that will hurt your game. If you are only practicing those things that will be successful for you then you have to improve. You will not have to practice extra hard to improve, provided you select the right swing and practice the proper actions associated with it. The flight of the ball will be your guide. If you are doing something better the ball is doing something better. Hitting more powerful accurate shots you are on the right track. If the flight of your ball does not improve it means you do not understand what you’re trying to do, you’re not doing what you’re trying to do or what you are doing is wrong.
Final note, some golf experts don’t know the difference between a pull and hook. More than 75% of missed shots that golfers hit today that go straight left is a club face problem not from coming over the top, and probably 99% of left shots on tour are a hook not a pull. This is proven often by Trackman.
We are always learning and trying to find ways to get our students hitting better golf shots faster in a lesson. Our philosophy never changes, but our application is always evolving.