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Looking at helpful tips for your golf swing? In this article, our golf expert covers the single plane golf swing for seniors.
The swing plane is a part of the swing that golfers are always trying to perfect. When you are out on the course and struggle with a hook or a slice, chances are you check your plane.
I know I do.
For single plane golf swing players, checking on the swing plane happens much less frequently. When you swing with just one plane, the room for error is significantly reduced, and consistency increases.
However, the single plane golf swing for seniors is not a solution for all players. If you are wondering what the single plane swing is, how you may be able to try it, and whether or not it could work for you, we have you covered.
Understanding the Basics of the Single Plane Golf Swing
A single plane golf swing is one where the golf club stays on the same plane on the backswing and the downswing. The traditional two plane swing has a golfer take the club back on one plane and then swing down on another.
The great thing about the single plane swing is that it simplifies the motions you need to make while swinging the golf club.
The bad news?
There is a lot of rotation in a single plane golf swing for seniors, and that can be tough as we age.
History of the Single Plane Golf Swing
Murray Irwin Norman, or as you likely know him, Moe, was the golfer that put the single plane swing on the map. Norman, from Kitchener, Canada, was able to win 55 professional tournaments in Canada, all while using the single plane swing.
Norman had a nickname of “Pipeline Moe” because he was able to hit the golf ball perfectly straight the majority of the time. He is considered to be among the best ball strikers of all time.
As I said, the single plane swing can certainly offer some consistency.
However, when you look at Moe and his swing, you will quickly realize that it is anything but conventional. In fact, when I first looked at the Moe Norman method, I almost thought it looked flawed.
We should all know by now that there is more than one way to do things in the game of golf!
I think the thing that stands out the most about the Moe Norman swing is the position of the clubhead at setup.
Ben Hogan is another golfer that is often said to have a single plane golf swing. Hogan didn’t use this single plane throughout his entire career, but he did impact the golf ball on the same plane that he started with at address position. This single concept is most important for single plane swingers.
Hogan always had a very shallow and compact motion with very little plane movement.
PGA Professional Golfers That Use the Single Plane Golf Swing
The single plane golf swing is not conventional, making it less popular on the PGA and Champions Tour.
Professional golfer, Steve Stricker has been said to use a modified version of the single plane golf swing. One of the things that Stricker does best in his golf swing is keep his left arm rotating while having firm wrists. The move is powerful and makes up for the rest of his golf swing having very little movement.
You will see players such as Matt Kuchar and Bryson Dechambeau, who have elements of their swings similar to a single plane. However, most golfers stick to the traditional golf swing. Don’t let this completely discourage you from trying the one plane swing.
Single Plane Golf Swing vs Conventional
The main difference between a single plane golf swing and a conventional is the plane that the golfer swings on.
However, the setup is also considerably different. The stance is much wider when setting up to hit a single plane golf shot, and the toes are flared out.
Backswing length often differs as well. Since there is so much rotation in the single plane swing and very little movement of the body aside from this, the backswing is a bit shorter.
With the stance being wider and there being more of a stable rotation, the follow-through on the one plane also looks a bit different.
The Pros and Cons of the Single Plane Golf Swing
There are both positives and negatives to the single plane golf swing. As I mentioned, I can recognize that the one plane swing is good for some players, and it returns the clubhead quite easily to hit a straight shot.
However, there are some issues with the initial learning process of the single plane swing.
- Easy to repeat: the single plane swing can be repeated, almost without thought, once you learn the movements of the hips, shoulders, and arms
- Transition becomes easier: the dropping of the club into place from the backswing to the downswing confuses golfers; with the one plane swing, this is not going to happen.
- Draw ball flight: the shot that most one plane swing golfers can repeat is a draw, the plane is a little flatter, and it’s an easier position to get this right-to-left flight.
- Power can be reduced: we have learned a lot about rotation force in the last few years, the one plane swing can hurt some players from a power standpoint, but this is not a negative that affects all golfers.
- Workability: since you are repeating the same single plane motion each time, trying to work the golf ball (i.e., hit fades and even straight shots), it can be hard, be prepared to play the draw.
- Not nearly as common: with the single plane swing being a bit less common than the two plane swing, it’s hard to find a group of great players to use as a model. Moe Norman will be your best bet, but Ben Hogan did use what is often referred to as a one plane swing for a little while when he was younger.
Why Golfers Like the One Plane Swing
The main reason golfers like the one plane swing, especially seniors, is that it removes some of the variables that we see in a traditional swing. If you are tired of wondering whether or not your golf club is on the right path or you have properly initiated that transition to the downswing,
The one plane swing simplifies things for you.
One Plane Golf Swing for Seniors
Do you know that “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” concept? If you are a senior golfer that’s a great ball striker, don’t even consider making a switch to a one plane swing if you’re a conventional swing.
However, if you have found that as you age, the complexity of a traditional swing becomes an issue for you, then the one plane swing is often a perfect fit.
I would be very careful about the setup for your one plane swing. Make sure that your feet are angled slightly out so that there is less rotational pressure on the hips. Remember, with senior golf, preventing injury is incredibly important.
How to Execute a Single Plane Golf Swing
Now that I’ve painted the picture of what a single plane golf swing is, let’s look at how you can use it to hit a golf ball. I will keep the steps really simple so that you can try this quickly and know whether or not it works for you.
Step 1: Setup Position
The setup in a single plane golf swing looks quite a bit like the impact position. Your stance will be wider. In addition, you will want to point your toes out to help relieve a bit of pressure from the rotation.
Keep your left arm straight and your hands in line with the golf ball; make sure the right shoulder is lower than the left.
Step 2: The Single Plane
By keeping your left arm straight at setup, you create the plane you will swing back on. The backswing should ensure that you have a bit of hip rotation but that your spine tilt always remains the same. The swing plane swing requires a pivot; there is not much movement off the golf ball.
If you do these things, the golf club will stay on one plane.
Step 3: Transition To The Downswing
One of the best things about a single plane swing is that there is no real transition to the downswing. All you need to do is rotate the shoulder and swing the arms, not dropping the golf club into place; simply turn back and turn through.
Don’t be surprised if this swing is a little shorter in the back. That is common, and you see it with Moe Norman as well.
Step 4: The Release
One plane golfers need to swing the club out to the right. The golf club comes in shallow, so if you swing left, the possibility of a hook comes into play. Many players notice that transferring weight in the single plane swing looks slightly different.
However, if you rotate properly and maintain tilt, weight is still transferred from the center to the right to the left side.
Common Mistakes to Avoid with a Single Plane Golf Swing
With the single plane swing claiming to be so simple, you may wonder why more golfers don’t use it.
Let’s face it; there is no perfect method in golf. The sport just wouldn’t be as much fun!
Single Plane Golf Swing Grip
Most single plane golfers have a slightly stronger grip. The stronger grip can ensure a more shallow swing plane with a natural draw ball flight. However, grip changes here should be subtle. If you exaggerate this, you could see some major hooks.
Single Plane Golf Swing Setup
The setup for the single plane swing needs to be wider than the standard. Make sure both toes are pointing out and that your base of support is incredibly stable.
Single Plane Golf Swing Distance
As I’ve mentioned, the single plane swing is all about simplicity. However, most golfers overcomplicate things.
If you start adding in extra movements, taking your head back away from the golf ball, or changing the spine angle by even the slightest amount, you will lose distance. In my experience as a golf teaching professional, the seniors who have succeeded with the single plane swing had quite a bit of strength.
It’s not a method I would switch to it if distance and strength are a concern for you.
The Best Training Aids for a Single Plane Golf Swing
Golf training aids can be a great way to reach your goals faster. However, not too many companies make training aids specifically for single plane golfers.
It simply comes down to market size. There are not too many single plane swingers out there.
When choosing the best golf training aids for single plane, I would look for the following:
- Alignment sticks to ensure that setup is accurate and swing path is consistent through the ball
- An impact bag that ensures you are making solid contact and consistently striking the golf ball can be helpful.
- A launch monitor lets you track progress and ensure the single plane is worth it.
Graves Golf has a single plane trainer that may work for some players, but if you take a quick look, it’s very similar to an alignment stick that you can use in various ways.
For more of the best training aids in golf, check out our complete guide.
Best Golf Books for the Single Plane Golf Swing
The best golf book for single plane golf swing is The Single Plane Golf Swing: Play Better Golf the Moe Norman Way. This book outlines the positives and negatives of the single plane swing and gives some great visuals on the proper positions.
If you are a fan of golf books, check out my other guide to the best golf books of all time and see how many you have already read.
Single Plane Golf Swing Drills to Practice at Home
If you are ready to transition to a single plane swing, there is no better example to follow than the one offered by Graves Golf.
Todd Graves set out to help golfers understand the single plane swing because there is not much information. Many teaching pros refuse to teach the one plane single simply because they are not trained in it, and don’t have enough knowledge to help put you on the right path.
Below are some of my favorite golf swing drills that the Graves Golf Academy does to help you nail down the single plane swing.
Moe Norman Single Plane Swing Drill – First Move
Single Plane Swing Set Up – Shoulders
Vertical Drop Drill
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a few of the most commonly asked questions about the swing plane method.
What is the difference between a one plane and two plane golf swing?
The one plane swing takes the golf club back and down on the same plane. The two plane swing goes up on one swing plane and down on another.
Who should use a single plane golf swing?
If you want consistency in your swing and to stop thinking about the plane, the one plane swing is a better method. I have also found that it helps golfers who use a steeper plane and slice the ball.
Should I use the one plane swing?
If you look at videos of Moe Norman and feel as though you could complete a swing that goes back on a straight line and through, then the single plane method is a good choice. Most players find it to be too different from conventional and hard to master.
Is the single plane golf swing better?
The best golf swing is the one that works for your golf game. Some players that like a simpler swing based on tilt and rotation find the single plane swing to be better. Some senior golfers like the simplicity found in the single plane swing.
Does Tiger have a one plane swing?
Tiger Woods does not have a one plane swing.
Final Thoughts on the Single Plane Golf Swing for Seniors
As I mentioned, I would not switch from a two plane swing to the single plane golf swing if hit great golf shots. However, if you feel you need to simplify your movements on the course or try something to change the consistency of your swing plane, the single plane swing could be worth a shot.
Try to find a golf instructor that is knowledgeable and understanding about what it takes to properly execute a single plane golf swing.