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The One Plane Swing - Is it Real?

The One Plane Swing…Is it Real?

My wife says I’m a golf nerd. Why does she say that…Well…read on…

I was doing some golf research this past week…and yes, you read that right!…I was doing some golf research and found a study from the Journal of Sports Engineering and Technology. They completed a study in 2018 on the effectiveness of the golf swing plane of delivery. For those interested, here it is:

Analysis of the delivery plane in the golf swing using principal components

Morrison, A., McGrath, D., & Wallace, E. (2018). Analysis of the delivery plane in the golf swing using principal components. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part P: Journal of Sports Engineering and Technology, 232(4), 295-304.

Here are some key portions of this study:

"This is the first study to present findings of a possible relationship between the golf swing movement and the impact location variability. These findings may be applicable to coaches in their current methods of analysis of the golf swing."

"Results presented here do not suggest an optimum golf swing technique; they do suggest that simplicity in the golf club's movement during the swing is related to decreased variability in the impact and, potentially, the performance. To arrive at the final trajectory of the golf club, characterized by the delivery plane, fewer manipulations of the club appeared to be favorable. Fewer manipulations in the swing may make it easier for the player to make required adaptations...“

"The movement of the golf club relative to the delivery plane during the golf swing was investigated in relation to the impact characteristics. The results suggest that less deviation of the club from the delivery plane was associated generally with less variability in the club face impact location.

"Two players with very different plane orientations may both keep the shaft parallel to the plane through the swing but have completely different looking swings. These findings suggest that simplicity of the route and alignment of the club to that (route) are important in maximizing striking precision."

This study cites other research articles - 2007 Coleman and Anderson: An examination of the planar nature of golf club motion in the swings of experienced players: investigated whether the clubshaft could remain parallel to a single plane...while they suggested that the club movement could be fitted into one plane, the fit varied considerably between players. Also in the published paper written by Morrison, McGrath, and Wallace... The relationship between the golf swing plane and ball impact characteristics using trajectory ellipse fitting. Journal of Sports Sciences 2017...they found that the clubhead trajectory from the mid-downswing to impact and into the mid-follow-through, fitted very well to a single plane. More recently, Morrison, McGrath and Wallace quantified a strong relationship between the orientation of this trajectory based swing plane, or delivery plane, and the impact characteristics of the club.

Translation = if the movement of the golf club is simple with fewer manipulations, as in the case in a One Plane Swing, there will be an increase in impact performance! This is the beauty of the OPS...If you can setup with impact in mind and simply move the club back and through on a single plane, where your setup clubshaft angle matches your clubshaft angle at impact....great golf shots can result!

It's also interesting that the study stated: "Given a situation in which a golf coach wishes to improve the precision of ball striking, the results from this study suggest that both simplicity of the route and alignment of the club to the final trajectory before impact could be a course of action. However, this does not suggest technique should be based on a ‘model’ swing plane." So much for those teaching the single-plane swing that insist we must follow their model and exactly copy another golfers' swing!

Here are my key points from this study:

  • The One Plane Swing is real, simplifies club movement, and provides a more consistent impact!

  • This study also concluded that the simplicity of the club route and alignment of the final trajectory before impact is vital to precise ball striking!

  • No golf technique should be based on a "MODEL SWING PLANE."

So, is the One Plane Swing real? YES, it is, and it can lead to better ball striking. It’s simple and provides a better clubhead trajectory through to impact.

My One Plane Swing experience matches the conclusions of this research...everyone's swing plane is different than other golfers who swing on One Plane. I could not follow a particular “model” of how to swing on a single plane. For me, spending my time trying to exactly copy another player's swing plane and golf technique was an exercise in futility that led to frustration and poor results.

Here’s to everyone in our One Plane Golfers Group who strive to play their best golf!

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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