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Upright Swing VS Flat Swing

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arbano1 View Drop Down
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    Posted: 13 August 2005 at 11:41pm

I recently found some photos that I am really excited about because they helped me see the difference between a one-plane swing and two-plane swing in a way that I had not seen before. Prior to discovering Hardy's ideas regarding the one and two plane swings, I had always heard them referred to as being upright or flat. Of course back then I was told that flat was wrong.

For those of you who are more technically inclined than I am, you may be surprised to hear that finding these photos (and the articles that accompanied them) has opened the flood gates for my desire to learn more about Hogan's swing since the one-plane swing is based on his Hogan's ideas.  Please be patient with me as I try to understand this for myself. I now realize that my post on high maintenance and low maintenance swings was not accurate. However, one could argue that the 2plane swing is a high maintenance swing, and the one-plane swing is low maintenance.

Photo 1:Upright or 2plane backswing.  

Photo 2: Upright or 2plane swing forward swing 

I think the biggest issue with the upright (2plane swing) is that swinging back on a steep plane requires a golfer to have to reroute the club. I recently found this article:

Teaching Hogan fundamentals, which I do, is an uphill battle when it comes to swing plane. The upright swing has been popular for so long that it's hard to find a golfer who doesn't think upright is right, even though Hogan, with a flat plane, was the best ball striker of all time. The upright swing tends to lead to many serious swing faults, but a golfer with great coordination who can practice a lot can make it work with compensating movements.

Obviously, there has been plenty of good golf played by professionals with upright swings. My point is, tour players with upright swing planes would be even better (more consistent) if they would swing the club back and down in the same swing plane. (Is this what the baseball drill that Chuck teaches ingrains?)The problem is that an upright backswing plane requires a golfer to manipulate the club into the correct (flatter) plane on the downswing. This manipulation, or correction, requires timing and coordination, which has consequences regarding consistency. No one can have perfect timing all the time.

For tour players who practice and play every day, the penalty to consistency is relatively small on a shot to shot basis, but considered over the course of a career, it could add up to a significant number of wins and a lot of money! As for amateurs manipulating an upright swing plane into a correct downswing plane, the point is moot because so few can make it happen.

Below is an illustration of a golfer taking the club back in a backswing plane that is too upright and having to shift to a flatter plane for the downswing.

Ben Hogan had a nearly perfect golf swing, far closer to perfect than any other player. Following is a very brief overview of some of the golf swing fundamentals Hogan incorporated into his swing and discussed in his book Five Lessons, The Modern Fundamentals of Golf, along with some of my observations. Even as lucid as his descriptions were, most golfers still misinterpret much of the information in the book. Keep in mind that Hogan was writing about his own swing—what he thought and felt he did. Because your experiences likely don't have any resemblance to his, the odds of you being able to accurately relate to what he wrote are extremely low.

1) Grip—very well documented in Five Lessons, The Modern Fundamentals of Golf.

2) Address—well documented but note that almost all amateurs have a stance that is too narrow. Check the illustration with the dotted lines drawn from the shoulders to the feet. Also, beware that the illustration with the wrap around the arms is a swing feeling, not the position the arms should be in at address. Hogan's point with the illustration was that the elbows should remain close to each other during the swing and that the arms should remain firmly against the chest until late into the follow through.

3) First Part of Swing (backswing)—SWING PLANE is what the backswing is all about. Hogan described the swing plane, but didn't tell how to get there, so everyone gets this wrong. Also, his swing plane was considerably below the swing plane he described—by about a foot and a half at the top of the back swing. Hogan also spoke of shoulder turn while restricting hip turn so that a proper coiling action is achieved, but if a golfer gets into the correct swing plane, all of these things are basically automatic and generally don't require much work.

4) Second Part of Swing (forward swing)—Hogan stressed the importance of beginning the forward swing with an unwinding motion of the hips. Except for very good golfers, this is generally disastrous advice. If a proper swing plane hasn't been achieved during the backswing, and that swing plane isn't maintained during the downswing, then unwinding the hips is guaranteed to wreak havoc with one's golf game. Additionally, the hips can unwind too quickly, which causes the body to race out ahead of the arms, making it just about impossible to release correctly. Examples of this among good players would be David Duval and Paul Azinger. Their swing planes are good, but they have to compensate for not being able to release by using a very strong grip. Another way of saying this is that their arms and bodies are not synchronized as well as they could be.

If the forward swing plane is correct, beginning the forward swing with an unwinding of the hips can encourage the wrists to remain almost fully cocked until just before impact where they can release their full power into the ball. Instead, most golfers release their wrists at the beginning of the downswing, which dissipates power and prohibits hitting the ball crisply. This movement is referred to as "casting", and is associated with "coming over the top".

There were other things Hogan mentioned in Five Lessons, such as the left wrist bone being ahead of the ball at impact. All of these things are the direct result of performing a few key golf swing fundamentals correctly. They are things you would expect to see a good golfer do fairly well, but they aren't necessarily things you would spend much time working on, if any.

Fortunately, you can develop a great golf swing without needing to possess anything more than a cursory understanding of golf swing fundamentals if you have the help of a knowledgeable Golf Swing Coach. In addition to using a Golf Swing Coach, it would be very beneficial for you to keep in mind that developing a sound swing is a gradual process that is measured in years, not weeks or months.

Photo 3 : Flat (or one-plane swing) back swing

Photo 4: Flat or (one-plane forward swing):

 



Edited by arbano1
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote moonshot Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 August 2005 at 11:51pm

"The average golfers problem is not so much a lack of ability as it is a lack of knowing exactly what it is that he must do." 

-Ben Hogan 1957

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lefty Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 August 2005 at 12:24am

Nice post, Arba, and one with which I completely agree.

After much experimentation (yes, it's in my nature), I have now gone to a very Hogan-based swing, with a few exceptions. I don't have a weak grip - I prefer neutral, which I find brings about a square clubface more often - and I don't fire the hips hard (which wreaks havoc with spine angle if the hips don't rotate and instead slide).

I've found that by simply nudging the back hip (or moving off my back foot to my front foot) my body just responds and turns naturally. I don't have to think about anything because the swing's done in a nano-second. I feel like I'm barely swinging and the ball's flying high and straight.

This is just a personal observation because obviously others have had great success with the Hardy shoulders method and I would recommend that you stay with something that works.

Lefty

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JeffMann Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 August 2005 at 12:41am
I think that too many people think that Hardy's ideas about what constitutes a 2PS is correct -- a very erect posture and a very upright swing path. However, many pros have features that are a mixture of 1PS/2PS elements and they don't look like either pure Hardy-1PS or pure Hardy-2PS players eg. Woods, Mickelson, Singh, Els ---etc. I think that a minority of pros have a very upright swing eg. Montgomerie, DeMarco.

Also, even though Hoian had a relatively flat BS he still felt the need to lower his swing plane during the DS. He specifically states that fact in his book. Obviously he didn't need to lower it as much as a player like David Toms or Tom Watkins who both have upright swings.

Only rank amateurs tilt their body like those photo demonstrations of the 2PS. Pros who are 2PSs don't tilt when they swing upright.

Jeff
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote arbano1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 August 2005 at 12:46am

Originally posted by JeffMann JeffMann wrote:

I think that too many people think that Hardy's ideas about what constitutes a 2PS is correct -- a very erect posture and a very upright swing path. However, many pros have features that are a mixture of 1PS/2PS elements and they don't look like either pure Hardy-1PS or pure Hardy-2PS players eg. Woods, Mickelson, Singh, Els ---etc. I think that a minority of pros have a very upright swing eg. Montgomerie, DeMarco.

Also, even though Hoian had a relatively flat BS he still felt the need to lower his swing plane during the DS. He specifically states that fact in his book. Obviously he didn't need to lower it as much as a player like David Toms or Tom Watkins who both have upright swings.

Only rank amateurs tilt their body like those photo demonstrations of the 2PS. Pros who are 2PSs don't tilt when they swing upright.

Jeff

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lefty Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 August 2005 at 12:52am

If you look at the Hank Haney model of one plane (and he learned from JHardy) he has Tiger take the club back on plane but come down seriously below the plane. Hardy has his players take the club back way under the plane (dragging it behind the body) and then come "over the top" to get it back on plane on the DS. I think they're just two different ways to skin a cat.

The most crucial aspects are in the passive hands, IMHO. Swinging by rotating the body with dead arms and hands is by far the most important idea in all of this. That, to me, is what separates one and two planers. If you look at Tom Watson, who I think is the classic two planer, he has a very hands-active, armsy, up-and-down, upright swing. Chris DiMarco, too.

Lots of tour pros, I agree, mix the two but more often it's the BS on (relatively) one plane (ie, Stuart Appleby) and the downswing not so, or at least not according to Jim Hardy.

Lefty

 



Edited by Lefty
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Yuraway Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 August 2005 at 1:37am

Arbano1,

I too found some photos lately that I got really excited about. But then my wife found them and I had to throw them out.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bob34 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 August 2005 at 6:53am

BTW: That info arbano1 posted comes courtesy of www.cegolf.com

Regards,

Bob

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote One Planer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 August 2005 at 8:05am
Originally posted by arbano1 arbano1 wrote:

I recently found some photos that I am really excited about because they helped me see the difference between a one-plane swing and two-plane swing in a way that I had not seen before. Prior to discovering Hardy's ideas regarding the one and two plane swings, I had always heard them referred to as being upright or flat. Of course back then I was told that flat was wrong.

Didn't you post this before, Arba?  I know I've seen it.  Maybe it was someone else.  Anyway, it's not bad.  It's actually somewhat along the lines of Hardy.  One would expect this similarity since both hark back to Hogan. 

I think we're at the beginnings of a sea change in golf instruction away from the emphasis on the up-and-down, high hands at the top, re-routed and shallowed out, slide the hips through, approach.  We're moving back toward the around-the-body swing that has its origins in the "St Andrews swing" that arrived on these shores with the Scottish pros who came over early in the last century.  It could prove to be very good for golfers, but not so good for chiropractors.

<big snip>

Fortunately, you can develop a great golf swing without needing to possess anything more than a cursory understanding of golf swing fundamentals if you have the help of a knowledgeable Golf Swing Coach. In addition to using a Golf Swing Coach, it would be very beneficial for you to keep in mind that developing a sound swing is a gradual process that is measured in years, not weeks or months.

This is the one paragraph that bothered me when I first read this article.  I think a lot of high handicappers would be discouraged from even trying when they contemplate the idea that it's going to take years to learn how to swing the club.  How can they enjoy the game in the meantime, while they're providing their "Golf Swing Coach" with recurring revenue and chopping the ball around the course hoping to someday arrive at a "great golf swing"?  I think a sound golf swing can be learned in months, or even weeks, or maybe even days for those with some athletic talent and good hand/eye coordination.  It probably would take "years" if they are pursuing the complicated physical moves that have been popular with the teaching community for so many decades now.  It takes the simpler approach of a Hardy or the chap who wrote this article.  Swinging around the body (rather than up and down) is simple, effective, and repeatable.  It can be learned quickly -- much more quickly that Leadbetter's 10 step swing, or McLean's 8 step swing, etc., etc.  Even Hogan presents some very complicated and highly technical swing concepts that aren't easy to grasp by the average golfer.  The best thing about Hardy is that he is a clarified and simplified version of Hogan.

Photo 3 : Flat (or one-plane swing) back swing

Photo 4: Flat or (one-plane forward swing):

I couldn't bring myself to snip these two pictures.  This is exactly what the turn-turn should look like.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Magic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 August 2005 at 2:05pm
Originally posted by One Planer One Planer wrote:

Originally posted by arbano1 arbano1 wrote:

I recently found some photos that I am really excited about because they helped me see the difference between a one-plane swing and two-plane swing in a way that I had not seen before. Prior to discovering Hardy's ideas regarding the one and two plane swings, I had always heard them referred to as being upright or flat. Of course back then I was told that flat was wrong.

Thanks Arba for posting the article and the pics. I can't tell you how many times that I have been told that my swing was too "flat" by well meaning teaching pro's when I would seek their help on improving my swing.

Fortunately, you can develop a great golf swing without needing to possess anything more than a cursory understanding of golf swing fundamentals if you have the help of a knowledgeable Golf Swing Coach. In addition to using a Golf Swing Coach, it would be very beneficial for you to keep in mind that developing a sound swing is a gradual process that is measured in years, not weeks or months.

This is the one paragraph that bothered me when I first read this article.  I think a lot of high handicappers would be discouraged from even trying when they contemplate the idea that it's going to take years to learn how to swing the club.  How can they enjoy the game in the meantime, while they're providing their "Golf Swing Coach" with recurring revenue and chopping the ball around the course hoping to someday arrive at a "great golf swing"?  I think a sound golf swing can be learned in months, or even weeks, or maybe even days for those with some athletic talent and good hand/eye coordination.  It probably would take "years" if they are pursuing the complicated physical moves that have been popular with the teaching community for so many decades now.  It takes the simpler approach of a Hardy or the chap who wrote this article.  Swinging around the body (rather than up and down) is simple, effective, and repeatable.  It can be learned quickly -- much more quickly that Leadbetter's 10 step swing, or McLean's 8 step swing, etc., etc.  Even Hogan presents some very complicated and highly technical swing concepts that aren't easy to grasp by the average golfer.  The best thing about Hardy is that he is a clarified and simplified version of Hogan.

One Planer is right on the money with his comments. If an instrutor tells me that it will take an extended period of time to improve and I wll get worse before I get better, then I can only assume that he is talking about totally rebuiding my swing from the ground up as that is the only reason that I could imagine that could possibly take that length of time. I suppose that my sceptisim stems from the fact that the teaching pro that first taught me my first lessons as a kid, was more in the mold of the Hogan type of swing and he was all about ball flight. Every drill that he ever gave me was designed to improve my ball flight and if I didn't see any immediate improvement in my ball flight, then I wasn't doing the drill correctly, no ifs, ands, or buts. This applied without regard to the issue that we were working on, be it one as simple as the grip to one a bit more dynamic as the transition from backswing to downswing. During the lesson, he would alternate from making me perform the drill to actually incorporating the feel of the drill into the actual swing until I got it. At the end of the lesson, my ball flight was always better than before, and I did not get worse before I got better. This same thing has occurred since I discovered Jim Hardy's book and this site back in early April. I have seen immediate results since going back to a pure 1ps from that of my old swing that had become a mix during the ensuing years of my youth. 

Photo 3 : Flat (or one-plane swing) back swing

Photo 4: Flat or (one-plane forward swing):

I couldn't bring myself to snip these two pictures.  This is exactly what the turn-turn should look like.

Right on again One Planer. The only thing that I could add is to do the same movements as depicted in the photos, but bend forward from the hips to where the spine is at an angle of about 30 degrees. Do this and you have correctly performed the movement of the torso in the 1ps which is 90% of the one plane swing.

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