Jim Hardy's One Plane Swing
Learn the ins and outs of a one plane golf swing.
Why the One Plane Golf Swing is the Swing of the Past and Future by Chuck Quinton, Fall 2005
The golf swing is the most over analyzed athletic motion in all of sport, hands down. Millions of dollars each year are spent developing new technologies in an attempt to improve ailing golfers' swings, yet the scores have remained the same. Why? Technology has changed but the teaching hasn't.
Jim Hardy was the first to come up with the concept that there are two sets of fundamentals in the golf swing. He first talked about this on an episode of Golf Academy Live on The Golf Channel in 2003 with Peter Jacobsen and more recently in his book, The Plane Truth fo Golfers. In The Golf Channel episode, he talked about how almost all golf instruction today is based on a swing that attempts to perfectly time and blend the relatively flat rotation of the body with the upright swinging of the arms. This, he called a two plane swing. This swing works, as many great golfers on the PGA Tour have had success with it such as Tom Watson, Jack Nicklaus, David Toms and Retief Goosen. However, Hardy believes there is another type of a golf swing that relies far less on timing and synchronizing and employs a more natural rotary swinging motion. This swing attempts to match the arm and shoulder planes throughout the swing, rather than trying to match them up during the downswing. Hardy called this a one plane swing and, in my opinion, many of his views follow very closely with that of Ben Hogan in his book "The Five Fundamentals of Golf." There are many great examples of one plane golfers today on the PGA Tour and one individual in particular who, in my opinion, spent much of 2004 converting to a one plane swing - Tiger Woods. But when you think of a one plane swing, there is one golfer who should come to mind before any other - Ben Hogan - the greatest ball striker of all time.
For years, information on the one plane swing has been scarcely available apart from Hogan's book and the Hardy/Jacobsen episode on Academy Live. I have scoured the web, books and everywhere else in between for a single repository of information about this concept, but I came up empty handed. My swing and my teaching had always been based on this concept of swinging on a single plane, but I had never heard it presented quite like Hardy did, so I wanted to learn more. Fortunately, my instructor, Adrian Wadey, (all great teachers should have teachers, in my opinion) spent a day with Jim Hardy talking about the one plane swing and I was able to learn more about Hardy's approach. Hardy's ideas truly changed the way I think of the golf swing and most importantly, it changed my ball striking immediately. The concepts made sense and unlike those of most golf instruction today, they actually worked without taking months or even years to "work through" the changes, it took one swing. Today, I am commonly known for my students only taking one lesson from me and then moving on. Not because they didn't find it useful, but because their swings were transformed in less than two hours. You can read actual posts from many of my students by visiting our discussion forums.
As I mentioned, Tiger Woods is learning how to swing on one plane with Hank Haney. Vijay Singh has always swung on one plane. Ben Hogan had the classic one plane swing. Stuart Appleby, Scott McCarron and many other PGA Tour players swing on one plane. Yet very few golfers outside the Tour know anything about it and detailed information is nearly impossible to come by. Fortunately, the concepts of the swing are very simple, which is part of Jim Hardy's brilliance, and I have presented my views on them in this website.
My aim in developing this website was to provide a resource for other golfers who have heard of the one plane swing and wanted to learn more. I also wanted to create a public forum of knowledge sharing for all golfers to come together and share their own thoughts and experiences regarding the one plane swing, as well as my own experiences with the swing and how I teach it. While some of my opinions may differ fromt Hardy's, it is to him and other swing theory pioneers such as Ben Hogan that I owe much of my own golfing success. Without Hardy's ideas about the two swings I, too, would still be struggling with my golf swing as so many golfers still do. For me, his ideas changed my golf game, the way I teach the swing and the entire way that I think about the golf swing. In no way, whatsoever, do I wish to take any of his ideas and make them seem as if they are my own. Just as Jim McLean produced a video series on the swing and ideas of Ben Hogan, and just as David Leadbetter did the same by writing a book about Hogan's Five Fundamentals, I wish to do the same with Jim Hardy and his ideas of the golf swing and how I applied them to my own game and instruction. Like Leadbetter's views on Hogan, some of the things Hardy says I may not fully agree with. Golf is very individualistic, and no one, in my opinion has ever swung the club in such a way that they can fit perfectly into one model or theory.
The golf instructors I mentioned above understand the mecahnics of the golf swing better than anyone else. The likes of Hogan and Harmon, Leadbetter and McLean have forged a path in understanding the technical details of the golf swing. However, it is interesting that rarely, if ever, do they talk about the mental aspects of the game. It is commonly talked about that golf is 90% mental. If so, then why do these instructors seem to spend 100% of their time talking about something that only makes up 10% of the game?
If you've been around golf long enough, you realize that there is just something missing in your swing. Some days it's good, most days it's bad. You go from one swing tip to the next, but nothing ever sticks, nothing works for more than a few rounds. In the following pages, I'm going to help you understand the path to what I consider the true one plane swing. It is not just a swing where the arms and shoulders swing on the same plane, but a swing where the mind and body swing on the same "plane."
Learn more about the One Plane Swing at these great golf instruction resources: