To Remedy Bad Ball Flight, Look at Your Swing Plane


Many amateur golfers at EN Golf Club days struggle with poor ball flight. This may be caused by poor contact, but in many cases, this is caused by an off-plane swing. The idea of swing plane was first introduced by professional golfer Ben Hogan in his book, Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf in the 1950s.

Hogan envisioned a pane of glass extending from his shoulders to the golf ball and stated that in order to maintain a proper swing plane, the golfer must keep his left arm under the envisioned pane of glass. If a player possesses a proper swing plane, he/she is well on their way to becoming a very fine golfer on a Myrtle Beach golf course.

However, many things can go wrong for a player with an improper swing plane. If the player’s swing plane is outside the proper swing path, the player will come across the ball from the outside. This will cause the ball to curve right for the right-handed player and left for the left-handed player. This ball flight is often called a "slice."

On the opposite extreme, if the player’s swing path is inside the proper swing plane, the player will come across the ball from the inside, often causing a pull. The ball flight will be curved to the left for the right-handed player and right for the left-handed player. This is often called a "hook." If you have trouble with either slices or hooks, they can be remedied by a proper grip and a good swing plane.

Similarly, many different ball flights may occur through differences in a player’s swing path and clubface direction, each with their own name. If a golfer was to swing perfectly on plane and their clubface was pointed at the target, the ball would fly perfectly on target. Of course, these instances are rare with amateur golfers on any Myrtle Beach golf course.

If a player’s swing plane was slightly outside-in and the clubface was square, then the ball would curve gently to the right for the right-hander and left for the left-hander, a flight often called a "fade."

If the swing plane was slightly inside-out and the clubface was square, then the opposite would be produced: a ball flight that curves gently to the left for the righty and right for the lefty. The draw is generally favored over the fade by most experienced golfers.

A proper swing plane is a very good way to begin correcting ball flight, but it is not the only ball flight factor. A square clubface is also very important. If a player has a proper swing plane but a closed clubface at impact, a pull shot (a shot that flies straight left for the right-hander) will be produced. If the player has an open clubface at impact, a push shot (flies straight right for the right-hander) will be produced.

When an improper clubface angle is combined with a poor swing plane, however, results are quite poor as have been seen at EN Golf Course. A devilish pull hook can be produced with an inside-out swing path and a closed clubface, and a push slice can be produced with an outside-in swing path and an open clubface.

However, some results of an off-plane swing and an improper clubface angle may not be so obvious. The pull slice, produced by an outside-in swing and a closed clubface, often ends up in the middle of the fairway, as does the push draw, which is produced by an inside-out swing and an open clubface. If you are having trouble with swing plane, some Myrtle Beach golf courses provide swing plane trainers that are used to correct improper swing plane.