If your goal is to get the ball started on a straighter line, one of the first things to focus on may be your swing plane throughout the back swing and down swing. A lot of beginner golfers don’t fully understand swing plane, while most professional golfers focus most of their attention on it. There is a reason for that!
In a game designed to hit the ball in a cup that is only 4.25 inches wide, direction plays a huge role. Most beginner golfers think it is all about distance to help lower scores. Although this may be true to an extent, the majority of shots are taken from shorter distances and rely primarily on direction to execute properly. Concentrating on your swing plane and what positions the club is in throughout the back swing and down swing is a great place to start.
Your swing plane relies on two different angles that, if executed correctly, can start the ball off on a straighter line. These two angles relate the club shaft to the target line and the steepness of the club shaft to the ground. The club shaft with relation to the target line affects swing path. This determines what line the ball will start on. The closer the club is to your body during the down swing, the further right the ball will start. The steepness of the club shaft with relation to the ground affects the angle of approach. This determines the trajectory of the ball flight. The steeper you attack the ball, the higher the trajectory. How can you determine what swing plane you are on?
In the back swing you want the grip end of your club pointed down the target line when the club reaches hip height and the club shaft is parallel to the ground. Here you will add a second lever into the golf swing by cocking the wrists. Once the club reaches the top of the swing, the grip end should be facing the opposite direction, while remaining on that target line. I mention this because the club head tends to follow the plane of the grip end of the club. This will be important in the down swing and is easier to accomplish if you start back on the correct plane. The fewer compensations you have to make on the down swing, the easier the shot will be to execute. How do you know if you are where you’re supposed to be at the top?
One way to check where your swing plane is at the top of the back swing is to see if your wrists are bent or not. If they are, you need to get the club into a position where there is no wrist bend, otherwise called a flat left wrist. Keep in mind ‘cocking’ the wrists is the motion you would make if you were to shake someone’s hand, while ‘bending’ the wrists is the motion you would make if you were swatting a fly. You do not want a bend in the left wrist if your intended ball flight is straight. Once you get into this correct position at the top, simply complete the steps in reverse throughout the down swing, keeping in mind that the grip end of the club dictates where the club head will follow. As the club shaft is parallel to the ground, if the grip end is not pointed down the target it will be difficult to execute a straighter ball flight.
These tips are designed to help the average golfer improve their game. If you have any questions or wish to receive your own personalized golf lessons feel free to contact us.