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Golf Article - A Golf Lesson on Plane Angles Shifts

Every golfer, no matter what his golf handicap, must go from the backswing to the downswing. Making this transition, as you know from reading my golf tips newsletter or attending my golf instruction sessions, is critical. Make a poor transition and it costs you. Golfers use different methods to make the transition. These plane angle shifts all work, but they require different adjustments. To develop a swing that helps chop strokes off your golf handicap, you must master one of these plane angle shifts.

These shifts involve the four planes, the clubshaft plane, the right elbow plane, the squared shoulder plane, and the turning shoulder plane. These four planes show where the clubshaft can go in your swing and determine the actions the shaft must take on the way down to the ball. Most players shift planes to execute a smooth transition from backswing to downswing. In our golf lessons and written golf tips, we like to refer to the different ways to make the shifts as models.

The Single Shift
This model encourages a single shift from the shaft plane at address to a vertical plane during transition. Think of it as an 'out and over' move. It's commonly seen in players who hit a fade. The danger with this shift model is that it can easily turn into an uncontrolled, over-the-top motion that causes mis-hits, especially when the tempo is off.

The Double Shift
This is the most common shift model. Taught in individual golf lessons and multi-player golf instruction sessions, it starts with the clubshaft plane at address, moves into a more upright position into the backstroke, and then falls back to the clubshaft through the ball. This is a good motion—provided you can keep the clubshaft from lifting too much into the last part of the backswing. This model requires a lot of flexibility.

The Triple Shift
This is the classic in-up-and-over move. Basically, the club moves to the inside of the shaft plane on the back swing, then above it on the downswing. If you use this plane angle shift, you must control your release or you'll hit left-to-left shots (right-to-right shots if you're left-handed).

The Reverse Shift
This shift model includes lifting the club steeply to the top with a high right shoulder and then re-routing the club back to the clubshaft plane established at address. This shift model requires powerful lateral and rotary hip motions to aid the reversing action.

The Reverse Loop
Players using this shift model lift the club to the top slightly; yet have shoulder turns level or perpendicular to the spine's axis. These players have no need to re-route the arms and shoulders, but only need to re-route the shaft back to the clubshaft plane on the downswing.

The Pivot Motion
Another key move that players must master is the pivot motion. Not quite as critical as the plane shift, this move is still important. When the club is in a manageable delivery position, you'll find that the club is either trailing the hands slightly or slightly out in front of the hands, but not by much in either position. From here all you have to do is let your weight continue to move in the forward foot as your torso rotates.

The best way to learn the correct pivot motion is to hit belt-high pitch shots, feeling your weight move through as you rotate into the finish. The ball should go straight and you should feel little or no hand action through the ball.

Every golfer no matter what his/her golf handicap must master the pivot motion and one of the plane angle shift models. When combined correctly, these actions help you hit the ball straighter and longer, and chop strokes off your golf handicap. If you master both the pivot motion and a plane angle shift, you'll develop a graceful yet powerful swing.


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