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Reverse- Engineering the One Plane Swing - Part 1

I often see golfers focused on phrases we hear when discussing the golf turn, coil, lag, slot, or release. I played this past week in Destin, Florida with family and saw, up close and personal, the frustration of trying to force these terms. I observed lots of issues with way too much over-analysis!

Most of these phrases result from other things, and trying to "engineer" them into a golf swing is futile at best and disastrous at worst. Almost every part of a golf swing is a product of what came before. It can be confusing and frustrating to force engineer the proper swing sequence to hit quality shots. I couldn't help but think of the beauty of the One Plane Swing and reverse-engineering...

I love the phrase 'reverse-engineer'. Adam Young, renowned PGA instructor, says..." That (reverse-engineer), is the essence behind self-organization. With the right concepts, task and constraints, the body can automatically figure out the technical elements. There are inherent dangers in engineering your swing (as most people are doing), and many advantages to reverse-engineering." I think Young is correct...To me, reverse-engineering means looking at the end result of what you desire… doing it correctly…, and then going back and ensure you get there each time.

What is the result I'm looking for…IMPACT…When I get it correct…feel the ball first, square contact…I get quality shots! To reverse-engineer the golf swing, one must start at the most critical moment of hitting a golf ball...IMPACT! If we can get impact right, everything that comes before (the swing sequence) is easier, and as Adam Young put it. "the body can figure out the technical elements."

Young goes on to say what traditional golf, with it's 2-plane swing, teaches about quality impact…and yes, they are precisely the same for the One Plane Swing…

  • Ball first contact, then ground contact second.

  • Proper clubface position.

  • Proper sweet spot contact.

Impact...What does it look like?

As you can see in the pictures above of great historical players...Impact really has stayed the same over time. All of the great players in the world, throughout their careers, look very similar at impact.

  • Clubshaft on a straight line through their trail elbow in DTL view.

  • The hands lead the clubhead.

  • Trail heel is off the ground.

  • Shoulders are square and the chest is over the ball.

  • Upper body has side tilt with the trail shoulder lower than the lead shoulder.

  • Hips are rotating towards the target.

  • Head is behind the ball.

The beauty of the One Plane Swing…If this is what Impact looks like...then why don't we simply start there at the beginning... Why don't we simply setup like we're at impact!

Reverse-engineering the One Plane Swing:

If we start with the above essentials of impact, then go back to how we setup to the golf ball at the beginning, we can begin to develop common aspects of both...this is the beauty of the One Plane Swing!.

Setup...What does the reversed-engineered One Plane Swing look like?

In Picture 1, you see at setup the:

  • Clubshaft on a straight line through the trail elbow in the DTL view.

  • Hands ahead of clubhead.

  • Shoulders are square and the chest is over the ball.

  • Upper body has side tilt with the trail shoulder lower than the lead shoulder.

  • Head is behind the ball.

You see above the process of reverse-engineering my One Plane Swing...the pictures are backwards, as I start with the extension after impact Picture 6 and 5, and continue back through impact in Picture 4, then back through the downswing and top (Pictures 3 and 2), then back to the start at setup in Picture 1.

What’s the best way to feel the reversed-engineered swing? More in Part 2.

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.


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