Posture = Plane
I often hear students tell me that their club, or shaft, or arms are “off-plane”, or “on-plane” at certain points during the swing. When I ask then what they mean by this, I get a variety of answers and almost none of which make any sense. People seem to be concerned with what position the club is in at a given point during the swing, and point this out on their videos. Does the ball know (or care) whether your club is laid off at the top? Or if you’re inside the plane on the downswing? Or if the plane of your left forearm is different from your shoulder plane? I’m confused just by reading this!
Think for a minute about your spine angle. In the proper golf posture, your spine is tilted forward (toward the ball) at address. Now if you make a rotation of your torso during the swing and this spine angle does not change, it’s nearly impossible for the club to change the direction (or plane) on which it travels. This is the root cause of most inconsistent ball striking, and changes in swing plane. It’s also a main reason why Tour players and other expert players’ swing look so effortless. They have fewer moving parts than the rest of us. And changing your spine angle is a HUGE moving part.
Every time you change this spine angle on the backswing, you have to make a corresponding change on the downswing in order to make contact with the ball. The ball is only 1.68” in diameter and the sweet spot of your club is even smaller, so it does not take much of a move or change in your posture to cause bad contact with the ball. So posture = plane.
Often times, people feel like they need to lift or help the club up on the backswing and this causes them to stand up and out of their posture. Because of the tilt forward at address, the club will come up all by itself by making a proper rotation—no need to help lift it with your arms and hands.
If your ball striking is inconsistent (some fat, some thin, some solid), take a video of your swing and watch your spine angle. I would bet that it’s changing during the swing. Added moving parts just mean additional things that can go wrong.
Brant Kasbohm, PGA