The Single Plane Golf Swing: Pros, Cons, and Practice Drills

Have you ever heard of the single plane golf swing? 

Lots of golfers feel that it’s a simpler way to swing the golf club. Our goal with this article is to help you decide if the single plane golf swing will work for you.

 

The Mechanics of a Single Plane Golf Swing

The single plane golf swing is used by golfers to help them learn the correct golf swing positions by using only one plane for the backswing, downswing, and impact positions. 

Most golf instructors teach the two-plane golf swing because it’s the most commonly used and the most widely studied. However, there are a lot of advocates for the single plane golf swing. Let’s break down the mechanics of the single plane swing.

  1. While addressing the golf ball during your setup, try to mimic the impact position. The easiest way to do this is to keep your hands in front of the clubhead. This will automatically line up the club shaft with your lead arm.
  2. During the backswing, be sure to keep your lead shoulder and lead arm on the same plane as you work the golf club to the top. You should also have a small amount of hip rotation during the backswing so that you can keep the same spine tilt that you had while addressing the golf ball.
  3. During the downswing, make sure to turn your core while swinging the golf club across your body and to the left.
  4. When using the single plane swing, the impact position will look almost identical to the conventional two plane swing. However, there’s a lot less that can go wrong with the one-plane swing since it requires less movement.
  5. During the release, you want your lead knee to be flexed but not too stiff. The trail foot will remain quiet as the trail arm folds. This keeps the overall swing nice and stable.

 

Pros and Cons of The Single Plane Golf Swing

We often talk about how there is no perfect approach to building a smooth, effective golf swing. It’s the same case with the single plane swing, as it has its advantages and disadvantages. 

Here are some of the pros and cons of this swing.

Pro #1: The Single Plane Golf Swing is Easier to Repeat

When creating a smooth, effortless, but powerful golf swing, repeatability means more than being mechanically perfect. To play exceptional golf and shoot lower scores, a golfer must learn how to minimize their thoughts during the swing. 

A golf swing that is easy to repeat is a huge advantage because it will eventually feel like second nature to the golfer. This will help the golfer quiet his mind and not overanalyze every aspect of his swing.

Pro #2: Simplicity

Golf is a difficult game to learn and impossible to master. A key to being successful is to simplify the swing as much as possible. 

The one plane swing accomplishes this because it doesn’t have nearly as many moving parts as the traditional two plane swing.

Pro #3: Promotes a Natural Draw

Do you struggle with a slice? The single plane golf swing may be just what you need to remedy that huge banana ball that is plaguing you. 

Golfers that have switched to a single plane swing have noticed that it’s much easier for them to draw the golf ball and hit more fairways.

This is because keeping the arms and shoulders on the same plane results in a flatter swing. This creates a swing path that is more in to out, which promotes a natural draw.

Con #1: The Single Plane Swing Can Limit Power

This point hasn’t been proven but lots of golfers feel like the single plane swing limits their yardage, especially with the larger clubs like the driver and fairway woods. 

Many golf instructors think that this is because the left arm has to stay so close to the body during the one-plane swing.

Other folks argue that their power is not limited by the smaller arc of the single plane swing because they use more rotational force. It remains to be seen which camp is right on this issue.

Con #2: Tough to Hit a High Power Fade

Most golfers who are long off the tee prefer to hit big power fades. Some folks believe that fades are easier to control. 

Since the single plane golf swing promotes a natural in to out swing path, it can be very difficult to hit a fade while using it.

Con 3: Can Lead to Hooks

Though rare, using a single plane golf swing can start to cause hooks. Again, this is due to the in-to-out swing path and the sweeping force that is required to execute the one plane swing properly. 

Golfers who have especially fast hips often aren’t a good fit for the single plane swing for that very reason.

 

When Golfers Typically Use This Swing

There are lots of reasons why golfers use the single plane swing. Here are some of the most common…

1. Golfers Who Are Just Starting Out

The single plane swing is used by tons of beginner golfers because it is much easier to learn than the two plane swing. Many golfers who are just starting to learn the game will be more comfortable with the single plane swing.

2. Golfers Who Are Lacking Consistency With Their Swing

Though the two-plane swing is more commonly taught, it can be a real beast to figure out for some golfers. 

Lots of folks get fed up with all the moving parts of the two-plane swing so they decide to give the single plane swing a shot. Many golfers love how much their consistency improves when they switch to the single plane swing.

3. Folks Who Want Better Ball Striking

The single plane golf swing makes it much easier to make solid contact. Making better contact usually leads to more distance and more precise accuracy. 

If your ball striking isn’t quite what you think it should be, consider trying the single plane golf swing.

 

Pro Golfers Who Use This Swing

Though the two-plane swing is the top choice for most PGA Tour pros, several pro golfers use the single plane golf swing. Here is a brief list:

Moe Norman

Norman is known as the father of the single plane golf swing by much of the golf world. Many people consider Norman to be the greatest ball-striker of all time. 

Though the Canadian native only played for a short time on the PGA Tour, he achieved 55 victories on the Canadian Tour.

Ben Hogan

Mr. Hogan experimented quite a bit with his swing but he did utilize a single plane swing during some of his best years on the PGA Tour. Like Norman, Hogan was a master at keeping his address position and impact position on the same plane. 

Hogan went on to win 64 times on the PGA Tour, 9 of which were major championships.

Todd Graves

Graves never made it to the PGA Tour but he did play professionally on the Canadian Tour and the Asian Tour. Graves teaches golfers from all over the world the finer points of the single plane swing. 

Jim Hardy

Hardy played pro golf on both the PGA Tour and Senior PGA Tour. He is a big proponent of the single plane golf swing and is a world-renowned golf instructor. 

Hardy was inducted into the Texas Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

 

Drills to Help You Nail This Swing

Want to practice the single plane golf swing? There’s a fantastic six-step drill video included at the end of this article to help get you started. Here is a quick breakdown of the important points for each drill in the video.

Drill #1

The main focus of the first drill is to work on turning the legs and hips. You want to make sure that the trailing hip turns in and that the head remains still throughout the process.

Drill #2

The second drill emphasizes the first two-thirds of the backswing. Lots of people would refer to this as the takeaway drill. The goal is to work on the proper wrist hinge and on keeping the left arm close to the body.

Drill #3

This drill focuses on making a full backswing. You want to cock the wrists and let the hands release at impact

Drill #4

This is a good drill to help you get used to the proper impact position. With this drill, simply graze the golf club along the ground until it goes past the lead foot.

Drill #5

The fifth drill makes the golfer work on finishing through impact and turning the clubhead over after making contact with the golf ball. This is also a good opportunity for the golfer to work on keeping the head as still as possible.

Drill #6

The last drill focuses on practicing a complete follow-through after hitting the golf ball. The golfer wants to make a full turn with the chest pointing toward the target while finishing the swing.

 

Mike Noblin

Mike has been involved with sports for over 30 years. He's been an avid golfer for more than 10 years and is obsessed with watching the Golf Channel and taking notes on a daily basis. He also holds a degree in Sports Psychology.