Swing Plane Training Aids
Learning to hit a golf ball well can prove to be very difficult. An area of the swing that is often misunderstood is the swing plane. If you can learn to keep your swing on plane then that is going to help you greatly with your consistency. There are a number of ways that you can train yourself to improve your swing plane. Before I go on to review some of the training aids that could help you I’m just going to give you a quick rundown of what the swing plane is.
What is the Swing Plane?
Ben Hogan first coined the term “swing plane” in his book Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf.
The iconic image of Mr Hogan with a pane of glass resting on his shoulders was initially what most people considered the swing plane. His idea of the plane as it related to the swing was that he didn’t want his arms or the club to go above that imaginary pane of glass at any point in the swing.
Technology and teaching methods have improved a lot in the 60 or so years since that book was first published. People’s understanding of what the swing plane is or should be has changed also.
Today many professionals will talk about one plane swings or two plane swings.
One Plane Swing
Someone is said to be swinging on a single plane when the shaft of their club maintains the angle created at address. At the top of the backswing, the player’s front arm would be on the same (or similar) angle as the shoulders. At impact, the club shaft comes back to the same position as at address.
A one-plane swing is more rounded and flatter and is therefore likely to more consistently produce a draw shape shot.
Two Plane Swing
Someone is said to be using a two-plane swing if their club shaft at impact is steeper than it was at address. Also, their lead arm at the top of their swing is on a steeper angle than their shoulders. If you are using a two-plane swing then you would generally have ‘high’ hands certainly when compared with a one-planer.
The overwhelming majority of golf instruction is based on creating a two-plane swing. Ironically this is despite some evidence to suggest that if you can master the one-plane swing, you should be more consistent.
A quick look at Trustpilot shows that the Explanar swing plane trainer is exceptionally well regarded. An almost unheard of average of 4.9/5.0.
The Explanar is at a price point that many golfers may feel is too high to pay for a training aid though. You may still come across one if you visit a professional for a lesson.
It can be used indoors or outdoors and could be ideal for players who have long layoffs due to inclement weather.
The idea was originally developed by British PGA Master Professional, Luther Blacklock. It is fiendishly simple yet effective.
A large hoop can be adjusted to suit the player’s posture and then a special ‘club’ is used to run along the edge of the circle.
This allows the player to get a much better feel for the correct swing plane and the positions that the golf club should be in during the swing.
This is pretty much identical to the Explanar. It appears it is due to a parting of the ways of the two people originally involved in the Explanar product.
This works in exactly the same way by training the body’s muscles on how to create a golf swing. Looking at the website, however, it appears you don’t get the plane fin that you get with the Explanar.
Both products are similarly priced.
As the name suggests these have generally been used by players looking to work on their alignment.
However, there is nothing stopping you from using them to work on your swing plane by sticking them in the ground at an angle.
A very low-tech solution but also one that anyone can afford.
Swing Plane Perfector
Basically, a set of alignment sticks that you can use indoors. Includes a gizmo that sets one of the sticks to the angle you should be aiming for with your backswing.
It has been used by players such as Tommy Fleetwood. One problem is that you would probably need you to see a professional in order to get the correct initial setup.
It also seems extremely expensive for what it is.
Laser Plane Trainer
One of the big problems with learning to play golf is that a large proportion of your swing takes place outside your range of vision.
The laser plane trainer will help you to see the position of your club through the backswing using a laser pointer.
The manufacturers suggest only using this during practice swings which does limit its usefulness. Despite that, it could still form part of your practice routine when working on your backswing. It also has the added advantage of being inexpensive.
This device claims to help with your swing plane. Given the size of the guides and the fact that you can’t adjust the angle would make me believe it is pretty worthless at helping you with your full swing.
It probably would be helpful as a training aid to improve your chipping but I would suggest that is about as far as it’s going to go.
This device is primarily going to help you stay ‘connected’ through your swing. It will also help you with alignment and give you visual guidance on the angles your arms are creating during your swing.
It won’t directly guide you onto the correct plane.
The fact that you are strapping your arms or legs into the aid might make some golfers feel restricted.
Izzo Swing Smooth
Another training aid to help you feel more connected to your swing. Also will not directly improve your swing plane although it will help you feel where your arms should be working in relation to your body.
This should be the cheapest of all options. What I’m suggesting is using either an existing window or mirror that you have in order to check the position you are achieving in the backswing.
When I started playing golf 30 years ago I wasn’t able to afford lessons and training aids such as the Explanar didn’t exist!
I used to practice my swing in my yard and checked my backswing at three positions in a window to see if I was getting myself into the slot.
During the early part of your takeaway when your club reaches a point parallel to the ground it should still be pointing parallel to the ball to target line.
When your lead arm reaches a point parallel to the ground then the club should be pointing down onto the ball to target line.
Finally when you reach the top of your backswing and the club is once again parallel to the ground you want it to be pointing parallel to the ball to target line.
The years where I worked on my fundamentals such as my backswing and my alignment generally proved to be the ones where I produced my best golf.
You should remember that you don’t always need thousands of pounds worth of equipment to build a working golf game.
Swing Plane Training Aids: Conclusion
Tools such as the Explanar are probably too expensive for most golfers and are really aimed at teaching professionals. Most of the other training aids are within most people’s budgets.
To be honest, though I’m a little skeptical as to the usefulness of several of these products.
You should remember however that practice makes permanent. Only perfect practice makes perfect!