Which Swing is Better?
Neither the one plane or two plane swing
is necessarily better than the other.
There are numerous examples of world class ball
strikers that fall into both categories. But,
if you haven't already picked up a club and started
working on learning the one plane swing that Jim
Hardy talks about, then perhaps you might want
to consider the following:
1. Look at the two photos below taken of Tiger
Woods at the 2005 Buick Invitational (left) and
the 2000 British Open. There is no question that
he is moving more to a one plane swing with the
aid of Hank Haney. Understand, that no matter
what Nike tells you, you're NOT Tiger Woods. But,
you can learn some things from the best golfers
in the world. The most compelling thing to take
note of this is one of the main reasons Tiger
has said he is switching: to have more managable
misses. This is the ultimate of goal of all golfers
at every level. To be able to score with your
Tiger has mentioned that
he has always "struggled" with a very
aggressive body rotation back to the left because
it left his arms behind in the swing. This often
put him in the "stuck" position he bemoaned
so often. Tiger was taught by Butch Harmon to
make his hips wait or rotate more slowly to give
the arms more time to drop back down on plane
from their very "high above the head"
position. His other option was to swing his arms
faster so they catch up with the body. When he
successfully did this, he hit the ball superb.
But, when Tiger's body outraces his arms - when
his timing is even slightly off - he struggles
wildly. Because he is able to generate tremendous
clubhead speed in the 120+ mph range, a slight
mis-timing and the ball misses right three fairways
over or duckhooks 200 yards out from the tee if
he flips his hands trying to save the shot.
Tiger mentioned in the January 2005 issue of Golf
Digest that he wanted to "own" his golf
swing and that only two other golfers in the history
of golf have ever owned their swings - Moe Norman
and Ben Hogan. For any golfer to own his swing,
he must strip out any unnecessary movements, reduce
his dependency on timing and not rely on the small
muscles of the hands and arms to control the golf
club. The one plane swing that Hogan used accomplished
UPDATE 3/3/05 -
I happened to catch some coverage of Doral today
on TV and took a look at Tiger's swing on TiVO
out of curiosity. It is very clear that he has
continued to work on keeping his left arm and
shoulders more on plane during the backswing.
However, it also became clear that he still works
on swinging his arms out in front of his body
at impact rather than using his body to "pull"
his arms through. The one plane swing makes it
easier to get his arms in front of chest through
impact since there is no lifting and rerouting
of the arms. I like that he is doing this, not
because I recommend it or could even do it consistently
as it requires a great deal of arm strength to
control the club through impact, but I like it
because Hank Haney does things a little differently.
He spent time learning from Jim Hardy and took
what he thought worked and then formulated his
ideas on what a "one plane swing" is.
Are his ideas right? There's no such thing, only
opinion. I like what Jim Hardy has to say about
the one plane swing, but like Haney, I see things
a bit differently and that is what makes the golf
world go around. The evolution of the golf swing
will continue as long as the game is played. All
that matters is proving that your ideas work by
applying them first to your own game and then
see if they carry over to others' games as well.
If you can do it yourself and it works for others
as well, then that makes a "swing theory"
more than just a theory - in my opinion, of course.
- One Plane vs. Two Plane Swing >>