Get Your Swing Back On Plane This Winter!

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Have trouble with coming “over the top” and hitting weak shots to the right? It’s because your “over the top” motion steepens the shaft on the downswing forcing you to cast the club head at the ball, robbing you of power and consistency.

How do we get your swing back on plane? There are many ways to correct this motion and here are a couple of methods I’ve found to develop the proper feel and get instant feedback.

The first we’ll call the Wall Drill. This can be done inside or outside since this is simply for rehearsal and you won’t be hitting shots. All you need is a wall that you can slide your club head against (Remove all picture frames before beginning!!!).

  • Wall Drill at the top of the swing
    Wall Drill at the top of the swing
  • Wall Drill halfway down keeping club head on wall
    Wall Drill halfway down keeping club head on wall
  • Stick Drill at setup
    Stick Drill at setup

Start by setting up with your heels about a foot away from the wall. Move the club to the top of your backswing and rest the club head on the wall (Frame 1). Slowly transition into the downswing and keep the club head against the wall as you go. Pause once your hands are back to waist height in the downswing (Frame 2). Note how this feels in relation to your normal downswing. You should notice that the club head will be more behind you and that you have not cast or released the club head like in your regular swing. If your club head comes off the wall you are getting too steep with the shaft. Slowly move back up to the top of the backswing (Frame 1) and repeat the process 10 times. Now step away from the wall and make some practice swings trying to recreate the feel you had on the wall. Transition this into hitting shots starting slow and increasing speed as you become more comfortable.

This next drill may make some of you with more severe overtop a little uncomfortable (which is a good thing!). The image in Frame 3 shows me in my normal setup with a 7 iron and an alignment stick one foot outside my ball and one foot to the right of my ball. The angle of the alignment stick matches my shaft plane at address.

The goal of this drill is to return the hands and shaft to impact position on the same plane as they started. Having the stick slightly to the right of the ball will force you to strike more from the inside and reduce the over the top steepening of the shaft on the downswing. You can use any club for this drill; just make sure you adjust the alignment stick to match the shaft angle of that club.

Both of these drills create a physical guide for you to follow which removes guessing and the common heard phrase on the range “did I do it that time?” It is so easy to revert to your old habits, so add these drills to your daily practice routine. You will know when you execute correctly, and the result will be a more on-plane swing, better club path and straighter, more efficient shots!

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About Author

Pat Steffes is a PGA member and the 1st Assistant Professional at Milwaukee Country Club.  Pat has been at Milwaukee Country Club for six seasons.  He is a Ferris State University graduate, where he went through the Professional Golf Management Program and played college golf.  Pat was named the 2014 Assistant Player of the year in the Wisconsin PGA.  He also won the 2014 Wisconsin PGA Section Championship.  Pat has played in three PGA Professional National Championships (2013, 2015, 2016), and finished T28 in 2016 at Turning Stone Resort & Casino.  Pat is available for offseason lessons (November-March) and can be reached at patsteffespga@gmail.com for more details.

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