What is the shoulder plane in your golf swing and why does it matter?

demonstration of shoulder plane

Shoulder plane is an important component of the swing.

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In order to check your shoulder plane, simply get in front of a mirror. Set up in your golf posture with a club across your chest. When you turn into your backswing, is your left shoulder or the butt end of the golf club pointed more at the ground or is the club more parallel to the ground? If your shoulders are more parallel to the ground, you have a flat shoulder plane at the top of your backswing. If your shoulders and the club are pointed at or inside of the golf ball, you most likely have too steep of a shoulder plane. We are looking for a happy medium here.

The majority of amateur golfers I see tend to get the shoulders too flat at some point in their golf swing. If you are someone who has flat shoulders at the top of your backswing, your shoulders are essentially parallel to the ground. I have seen this swing flaw cause the club to get very steep in the downswing, which equates to slices, topped shots and more. Flat shoulders can also cause the club to swing too much around your body causing thin shots, hooks, and pushes. Flattening of the shoulders can happen in the backswing or the downswing, it is important for you to understand when it happens in your golf swing in order to know how to fix it effectively.

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Steep shoulders can also happen in either the backswing or the downswing. When the shoulders get too much angled toward the ground, it can cause the club to also be steep and result in early extension, fat shots, slices and more erratic shots. This is certainly a less common problem for mid to high handicap players, but something to be addressed if this is an issue in your swing. Whenever your shoulder plane (or any part of your swing for that matter) gets too far from what is generally considered acceptable, you have to include other moves to compensate. When there are compensations in the swing, especially for amateurs, it makes it difficult to make consistent contact with the golf ball.

Fixing your shoulder plane, relative to your individual golf swing, can certainly help you play better golf. Check out my latest video below for a few drills that will help you fix your shoulder plane so that you can start playing better golf!

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