1st Tee Talk

Free live video group lessons for Members online via YouTube – details at the end of this article.

What is swing plane?

Quite simply, the swing plane is ‘the optimum rotational angle the sweet spot of the club makes around the body to maximise power and accuracy into the back of the ball’.  There, dead simple.

Pictures tell it better:

Darren Clarke, opposite, is demonstrating a very simple looking, but hard-earned swing line (looking from this dimension, the club swings on a line) as the club and hands move on a plane which directs all the power down to the ball.

That line looks about 60 degrees measured from the horizon up and we would call this an on-plane, neutral swing. Swings can have flat planes, neutral planes or upright planes. The world’s best players have a variety of planes between them.

What do the BOMBERS do?

They swing on an upright plane. Bubba looks like he is on about an 80-degree plane, very upright.

History tells us BOMBERS are more upright with their plane

Nicklaus and Woods are the number one and number two best players of all time and both had very upright swings relative to their generation. Interestingly, both did all this in the pre-science era. Hitting balls, grinding away, capturing secrets with every practice session and squeezing out yardage through endeavour. Modern players stand on the shoulders of these giants as well as utilising all the very best science has to offer with data from Trackman and high-speed video cameras.

Jack often had to flatten his over upright swing when it went too far. This was a question I asked him when I met him last year and he confirmed it as being just something logical and explains his longevity; the indifference to change being an ingredient of longevity. In the image, the red plane is his swing too upright, the yellow plane his preferred.

Tiger flattened his plane when his back started to wear and now swings more neutrally. Early Tiger below left and a later picture below right when Tiger was in his slump. I much prefer his upright swing and he played his best golf with it.

Tiger and the greats are never afraid to change or tinker.

What does this mean to you, dear Member?

Hello big slice if you are not careful! This article and the images above demonstrate that we should not be looking to copy everything these great athletes do. They propel the ball such vast distances because they can physically do what we cannot, so we cannot always ape their swings. The key is to locate the swing plane for you and we are all different with different limitations. I play my best golf with a slightly upright plane and my worst golf on any form of flat plane. I am currently coaching two Members who are great friends, play regularly and are both single figure golfers. One hits it best on a flat plane, the other I am creating for him an upright swing. Both are hitting it further and better with a 30-degree difference between their respective swing planes. That’s golf.

When are finally all back together, come and let me measure you for your optimum swing plane. It is a simple process.

If you have any questions on the swing, just email me richard.harrison@roehamptonclub.co.uk and I will use these questions in future articles or in my online lessons for Members.

Online lessons

In the meantime, check into my YouTube channel:


I will be posting drills and exercises for you to do in the lockdown period as well as live videos for online tuition. The first dates and times for our live daily meets are:

Friday 3rd April 11:30 and Saturday 4th April 09:00

Keep a club handy if you can.

Richard Harrison