One Plane or Two - Do You Know the Difference?

The golf instruction world can be a very confusing place for the average golfer. One instructor tells you to extend your arms down the target line, the next tells you to sweep the club to the inside. One tells you to rotate your shoulders from the top as hard as you can and the other tells you to hold your shoulders back and let your arms drop. Why all this conflicting information? Who’s right and who’s wrong?

The answer is that they are both correct. The true question is are they right for YOUR golf swing? You see, in its simplest form, there are two basic types of golf swings with millions of variations in between. On one side of the spectrum you have the golfers like Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Chad Campbell and Scott McCarron who swing the club more around their bodies and on a somewhat flatter plane. This plane puts their left arm and shoulders in line, or on plane at the top. These golfers are referred to as “One Planers.” On the other side of the spectrum, you have golfers such as Colin Montgomerie, Hale Irwin, Jack Nicklaus and Sean O’Hair who swing the club on a somewhat more upright plane such that their left arm is much steeper than their shoulders. These golfers are called “Two Planers.” These two sets of golfers must focus on very distinct sets of fundamentals that are, in many ways, exact opposites of each other and this is why you find two golf instructors telling you conflicting information.

If you are naturally a more rotary swinger where the club works more around your body, you must start the downswing with a completely different focus than someone whose arms are very steep at the top of their backswing. If you don’t know whether you are a one or two planer, you may be practicing fundamentals that are completely wrong for your golf swing and this helps explain why you’ve struggled to get better no matter how hard you work on your game.

Study the picture below of Vijay Singh and David Toms. Which golfer more closely resembles your golf swing? If you look more like Vijay at the top it is important that you work on One Plane swing fundamentals. If you look more like David Toms, you need to understand the Two Plane fundamentals of the golf swing.

david toms top of swingvijay singh at top of swing

To learn whether you are a one or two planer, visit our Golf Instruction website at Inside you will be able to find dozens of instructional golf videos and thousands of golfers on our golf message board who have rediscovered their golf games after determining whether they were one plane or two.