top of page

One Plane Swing - Distance Force Modifiers - Part Two

Keeping the trail foot flat at Impact...

Is keeping the trail foot flat on the ground during the downswing and at IMPACT vital? There are some single plane teaching groups that insist this is necessary and advocate it as an essential component to swing on a single plane. At the very least, this technique can cause considerable stress on the trail knee and back and, at worst, cause physical damage. Look at the picture above and notice how uncomfortable the right knee looks! Keeping the trail foot flat on the ground to impact isn't a natural move! Let me explain...

Look at professional greats Aaron Judge and Patrick Mahomes...All you have to do is throw a ball as far as possible, with as much speed as possible, while keeping the trail foot flat on the ground. You will quickly see that this foot position severely limits the distance you can throw the ball. Now, throw the ball as far as you can while lifting the trail heel off the ground as you release the ball, and transfer your weight to the lead leg. You will immediately see how much further you can throw the ball when you lift the trail heel off the ground!

Also, you can look at Aaron Judge hitting a home run with the New York Yankees and watch him gain maximum power by rotating hard and lifting his trail foot off the ground at impact! This would be nearly impossible if he kept his trail heel/foot flat on the ground during his swing!

The trail footwork with the heel coming off the ground is a very natural and instinctive move!

There is also less torso rotation and virtually no use of the ground forces when you keep the trail foot flat on the ground. These two crucial swing components maximize how far the golf ball travels. So, you might ask, "How does raising the trail heel off the ground at impact give us more distance? The answer is ground forces! Ground forces can optimize the leverage generated in the backswing to accelerate down to impact with more clubhead speed. Proper use of a strong connection of our foot movement with the ground allows us to facilitate the weight force transfer to the lead side. A significant component of foot movement in creating maximum leverage is lifting the trail heel off the ground in the downswing and at impact! Let's look at two of the best players in the world, Scottie Scheffler and Jordan Spieth...

Raising the trail heel in today’s modern golf swing, as illustrated above with Scottie Scheffler and Jordan Spieth, allows them to maximize their ground force distance multipliers. They begin raising the trail heel early in the downswing (Pic 1), just past shoulder height, and then continue to lift the trail heel, as shown above (Pic 2), where the club is at parallel in the downswing. At impact (Pic 3), the trail heel is high off the ground, and the torso is rotating hard through the ball. If you watch some top players like Justin Thomas, you will see them almost jump at the ball.

I firmly believe in using Distance Multipliers, such as ground forces, in helping generate and maximize power in the golf swing…When developed properly, the speed of the clubhead is increased, and when delivered squarely into the ball at impact, it will provide us the best opportunity to hit the golf ball farther! At 71 years of age, I’m under no delusion that I could mimic the footwork of Scheffler, Spieth, or Thomas. There is no way I could match their flexibility! But what I can take from them, is their use of ground forces to improve my One Plane Swing! I’ve found that allowing my trail heel to lift on the downswing into impact, maximizes my use of the ground force. This also gives me better torso rotation through the ball, another Distance Force Multiplier. Using these force multipliers has regenerated my game by increasing the clubhead speed at impact, resulting in more distance with all my golf shots.

And YES, this can be accomplished with the One Plane Swing! Bryson Dechambeau, tour professional, is one of the longest hitters in the world and uses the One Plane Swing. He has been using the OPS his entire career and below you will notice how he utilizes the ground forces and footwork to launch his drives. Here he is at the 2023 PGA Championship where he finished 4th...Especially note his trail heel lifting off the ground in the downswing and through impact...

Here I am hitting my driver last fall… Notice that I’m beginning to raise my trail right heel early in the downswing and it continues to lift more as I reach parallel and even higher as I get to impact! I cannot rotate like I did when I was young and I certainly can’t measure up to Scheffler, Spieth, Thomas, or Dechambeau, but my use of ground forces isn’t bad for an old guy!

Here’s to everyone who plays golf with the One Plane Swing and may you hit it straight and FAR!

Dr. Chris Nix

**For more information on the One Plane Swing, the One Plane Golfer eBook, is available for sale on the home page of this site, It's a beautifully illustrated description of the One Plane Swing and how to apply it to your game.

bottom of page