As a golf instructor, I can not see why golfers should not use a vertical swing plane regardless of their body or flexibility.
However, if you go online to search for "golf swing plane" you will find a lot of explanations about the subject and as many other versions about what's right and what's not right.
As I will show moments from a lot of mechanics and physics point view, the benefits of distance and accuracy are much larger than a flat plane swing and for reasons alone I recommend and teaches the concept of adopting a more upright role in all my students.
The swing angle of the plane is usually associated with the height of the golfer player.
Golf players shorter in height are said to have a flatter swing plane.
Often also see golfers use a flat swing motion because of their body's characteristics limiting their swing flexibility range, such as their chest and section size in the middle.
On the other hand, taller golfers naturally swing on a more vertical plane simply because the higher the height of their shoulders from the ground.
But, the physical characteristics of a golfer are not the only things that govern their swing angle of the plane.
What also defines the plane's swing is how they position themselves in their setup, and how they can loop their shoulders backswing …
Swing Plane Angle
Before I get to the specifications of a straight swing, let me first identify how often the angle of the swing plane is understood.
I say that because I'm sure like the most passionate golfers you've read Ben Hogan's "Five lessons" book. The modern fundamentals of golf "and his explanation of the swing plane is probably one that's stuck firmly in your mind.
Here is his explanation …
Try a golf player image forming a right angle triangle in their position of setup.
The vertical part of the triangle is formed from the top of their shoulders / neck to the ground around their foot position. The horizontal portion is formed from the club head and ball position to that point on the ground that meets the vertical side of the triangle.
The hypotenuse, or long portion of the triangle, is determined from the head of the club to the point on their shoulders.
The classic perception of swing plane angle is that it is the angle between the hypotenuse and the horizontal portion of this triangle. (Note the glass plate description in Hogan's book on golfers shoulder …)
You can now imagine how increasing or decreasing this angle is due to the height of the golfer and why the swing plane is often associated with the height of the shoulder golfers.
The reason I say this is how the swing angle of the plane is often referred to is that there is a big assumption in this theory that is incorrect in most of the time …
It collects the path of the club head swing at this same angle by backswing so that the high swing point depends on an expanded line drawn from the ball through the top of the shoulders to the hands on the top swing …
The truth is that the angle where "really" spins can be quite different results in hands reaching the top swing point either below or above the point of "Hogan plate glass definition."
The reason for this is that the swing angle of the plane is not only influenced by your setup, it is mostly determined by the plane around which your shoulders rotate.
Your setup may show a swing angle of the plane that may differ from the actual plane of your shoulder round.
Here's why …
All around your Planets
To understand the movement of your shoulder, stand straight in front of the mirror. Hold your hands hard from each side. You can rotate your shoulders on a horizontal plane around the spell of your spell … easy to do.
Now try and spin your shoulders on a vertical plane by lifting your right arm and dropping your left arm so you can keep a straight line from hand to hand on your shoulders. The axis of rotation on this plane is a point in your chest just below your chin …. this motion is not very easy to accomplish.
The truth of your shoulder behind backswing is that it is operating in a combination of both vertical and horizontal movement.
As you anticipate, one shoulder that moves beyond the horizontal plane creates a flat plane swing.
One who runs more than one vertical plane will make a more vertical swing plane.
So when we return to the classic Hogan explanation of the swing plane covered by the setup and height of the golfer, the only way that a golfer will have the same plane at the top of their swing is if the joint horizontal and vertical the movements of their shoulders occur to match that angle.
It is rare …
Having the understanding that the swing of the plane is affected by the rotation of your shoulder than your setup and height allows you to make adjustments to your backswing to get some of the benefits from a straight path of swing.
Here are some of the main reasons why I always recommend a more vertical plane aligned based on swing mechanics and physics.
Enhanced Variation of Your Swing Accuracy
The first reason is to affect the accuracy and flight path of the ball in your shot.
If you've checked out my free video on "Understanding the mechanics of common flurries of mistakes" where I outline the physics of why your shots are "flying" in a way that works, the output of all Your golf shots are dropping on two main factors:
The direction of your shoulders is aimed at the point of contact with the ball
o The orientation of your head club head to the point of contact with the ball
Flatter your swing plane as your shoulders extend beyond the horizontal plane.
This means they are only "targeting" the target at a point before contacting and shortly after contact. That is because the club's head moves moves more "beyond" the target line like a baseball swing instead of toward the target line like swinging.
Outside the tiny region, the direction of your shoulders is aimed at the right of the target in the down swing and beyond the left side of the target mediation (opposition for lefties).
The success of a flatter swing plane requires a high "timing" level and swing balance through the contact point because there is very little margin for the error.
The level of "spin ball" generated by a weak timing swing also determines the accuracy of the shot.
The relative difference between the shoulder shoulder plane and the orientation of the club face at the point of contact refers to the amount of spin generated on the ball.
The more shoulder moves "beyond" the target line is the greater the spin of the ball being created leading to the exaggerated hooks or slices.
On the other hand a straight swing is made of the shoulder moving more than the vertical plane which means that the time the shoulders are moving down the target line will take longer during the swing.
The result is that the club head moves down the target line to a larger swing area that provides a higher margin of error for timing and balance problems.
The impact on the spin of the ball is also reduced, because the shoulders are less of the "total" of the target contact line for a poor timed shot.
In both cases the consistency of your swing accuracy will improve the more vertically your swing swing angle …
Higher Swing Power and Distance
Observe all the major hitters in the tour and one of the common features you will notice is most adopted by a straight swing.
I wrote about this in a previous Turnberry newsletter but it is worth examining the reasons why an upright swing plane builds more energy for the swing:
The hands and the head of the club will be higher than the ground at the top of the swing which creates more "potential energy" for the swing. When you think of the energy that can be done by increasing the weight of 20-30lb above your shoulders and dropping it, you can understand where the energy is for swing. That weight is the combined weight of your club and weapons.
o You use your strong muscles on your right side and at the top of your left shoulder that can produce more energy for the swing than using the power of your lower back muscles that are around the base of your spine in a flat swing.
Your balance of backswing and downswing is affected by the centrifugal force of the club head rotation as it is in motion and at what force angle is acting on your trunk.
The centrifugal force formed by the club head that moves on a circular path moves to pull your shoulders forward into the ball that may affect the stability of your trunk during your swing.
To give you and an exemplary exact example of the effect you may have on your balance, try to imagine the action of an athlete throwing a hammer.
In this case the athlete must overcome the extreme centrifugal force needed to spin the hammer by "back removal" to keep the balance during rotation.
A flat swing of the plane has a similar effect on the balance of the golfer who has to counter the impact of the centrifugal force that needs to rotate the club head with lower back muscles to hold the trunk in position during swing.
With a straight swing this centrifugal force builds more through the trunk and leg of the ground that make less impact on your lower back muscles allowing your trunk to remain more stable.
How to Make a Vertical Swing
You can not expect your setup to affect the angle of the plane, it is more affected by the rotation of your shoulder.
I encourage you to start your swing in a "down rotation" of your left shoulder …
Many golfers start their swing by moving their hands.
For golfers who can harden their bodies flexibility, their shoulders or may have inches more than their middle section than they want, the swinging of the swing in their hands encourages them to "wrap" their swing around their body causing flat flat swing.
That is because their shoulders are moving beyond the horizontal plane.
The results of the net swing can be excessively sloping, that the ball begins to fly heavily on the left, or push the ball to the right.
This is because the region where the club head is moving down the target line is very small decrease margin of error for precision in swing as I covered earlier.
Start your swing with a downward movement of the left shoulder and you will counter this problem.
This ensures that your swing starts at more than one vertical rotation of the shoulders. In doing so your shoulders will be rounding further down the target line.
Mirror Exercise for the Correct Setup
Other areas that affect your swing plane are your setup.
I encourage you to make this swing swing initiation on your left shoulder in front of the home mirror.
As you watch the movement of your hand. Arrange your setup to make it easier to vertically and move your hands through a more vertical swing plane.
Here are some points to help you:
or Let your arms hang vertically down to the stance in your hands positioned no more than six inches away from your legs
o Keep your back straight from the hips up. Do not let your shoulder hunch forward
o If you are large chested you may want to lean more than bearing to give your arms more clearance to move straight back instead of wrap around your body
As you walk through this experience you will most likely feel the muscles behind the swing you do not use in … especially on your left shoulder.
That's because it's easier to rotate your shoulders horizontally around your spine than to rotate them vertically.
This is normal because the vertical plane moves uses different muscles in your golf swing.
Many golfers are too hard on the shoulders to do it effectively and when they first try a vertically swing plane in the range they find the results disappointing.
It should be occasions, shorten your backswing consider because the stiffness of your golf muscles on the vertical swing plane causes other areas of your swing to breakdown.
Warning: Do not allow your left elbow to break when you try to speak more vertically. You will defeat the purpose of arranging a higher plane of swing and will only cause you more problems at the end of the day.
An exercise I recommend to improve the flexibility of the shoulder on the vertical plane is to take a broom handle and place it on your shoulders and then wrap your elbows and arms over the handle.
For some people this may be an stretching exercise itself, so make it gently without emphasis on shoulder muscles.
Now move the handle straight down to one side until you can go, and hold 60 seconds. As you hold the stretch, do not allow your hips to move sideways in the opposite direction as it is conflicting stretching.
Also keep your trunk vertically and straight until the stretch.
Now do the same motion in the opposite direction.
After a few days of stretching, you will see your distance range be improved as you begin extending your backswing more. However, you should see marked improvement your precision parity from the start the more you swing down the target line.