"That's life. The older you get, the tougher it is to score." Bob Hope
Have You Taken Golf Lessons without Improvement? Here's Why!
Sat Oct 15, 2005 - By Bob Dougherty
Current golf instruction is generally based on a two-plane swing. You see it in Golf Digest and Golf Magazine. People read it and say, "I should do that!" If the article is based on someone who has a two-plane swing, it just might work for them; but what if you're a one-plane swinger? If you attempt to follow the instruction, you'll screw up whatever good habits you had and fail miserably.
People, and this includes golf professionals, sometimes have no idea what they're doing. I was recently working with one of the best ball striking professionals in the Carolinas and asked him if he knew what type of swing he had. He had no idea. "I just know I'm not hitting it well right now," he said. This guy was a one-plane swinger and he was trying to shift weight and swing his club down the target line like a two-planer. His swing was on one plane in the backswing ala Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Ernie Els and where Tiger Woods is attempting to go.
One we got him staying on plane and taking his swing back inside again on the follow through, everything came back in sync. He actually hit the flagstick on the fly at 200 yards away 5 out 10 times with a 5 Iron. The other shots missed about five feet to either side of the flag. Case closed. He promptly went out and shot a powerful 65.
His problem stemmed from mixing a one-plane backswing with a two-plane follow through. If you attempt to mix the two, you have nothing but disaster. The power source for the two-plane swing is the arms. The power for the one-plane swing is the chest and shoulders. The one-plane swing is very aggressive with the shoulders and upper torso. The two-plane swing is very passive with the shoulders.
I can teach the swing both ways. I explain to people who come to the school the differences and let them make the decision that's best for them. If they are not capable of one way, I'll tell them so. There have been some great two-plane swingers: Nicklaus, Watson, Colin, Montgomerie and Jim Furyk come promptly to mind. It's a more complicated swing with more moving parts, but it works.
I would remind you, however, that you cannot mix these two swings. It's absolutely amazing to me to see teaching professionals who don't know the difference between these two swing patterns. I will end this little piece with a quote from one of my students:
"I've been playing golf for twenty frustrating years. I've seen forty teachers and have been to six golf schools. I've been fighting a two-plane swing the whole time. I've never shot in the 70's until I met up with Bob Dougherty. He taught me how to stay on one plane. I was ready to give up. Now I can't wait to get to the golf course. I shot around a 100 and now I'm in the mid 70's and getting better. I hit it 275 yards off tee and my short game has drastically improved." Jim Shepherd, Southern Pines, NC...another satisfied Professionals Golf School regular!