When was the last time you checked your swing plane? Scratch that...do you even know what your swing plane is and should be?
If you're like most golfers, you probably don't think about your swing plane very much when, in fact, you should! Your swing plane is essentially the angle you swing the club on relative to the ground. Some of us have steeper swing planes, while others have flatter swing planes. The trick is determining which is right for your game. If you're too steep or too flat, there will be a lot of manipulation on the downswing, leading to incorrect contact, distance and direction. The solution? Look to the butt end of your grip at the top of your backswing. The butt end should point along the targetline, which is actually a line from the target through the golf ball. Now get this. If you can manage to get the butt end to point at (or maybe just slightly inside) the targetline with a middle iron, you should do the same with your woods, driver, short irons and so on. But here's the interesting part. As you follow this constant (the butt end pointing to the targetline), you'll naturally see that your correct plane angle gets flatter with longer clubs and a little steeper with shorter clubs. That's a good thing! The worst thing you can do is try and keep the same plane angle for every club in your golf bag. That won't work.
Let your swing plane flex, and point that butt end toward the targetline, as I'm doing here. Follow that advice, and you won't have to think about swing plane as much, and you'll hit straighter and longer golf shots.
Jeff Yurkiewicz, PGA, teaches at the Grayhawk Learning Center in Scottsdale, Arizona. For more info, visit grayhawkgolf.com.