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Clubface Square to the Plane

post #1 of 77
Thread Starter 
The revived thread on how I hate "release the club" for most average golfers prompted this thread

Oftentimes when watching television you'll hear that someone did a great job on their takeaway of getting the toe of the club pointing up towards the sky at what's called P2 - when the shaft is horizontal to the ground on the takeaway.

Or you'll hear it on the follow-through - again often when the club shaft is parallel to the ground or even before that point - how good a job the golfer did of getting the club's toe pointing straight up at the sky.

Thing is, those clubs are both too open and too closed at those points in time.

If you attach a club to something and rotate it about an axis, the proper position of the club's leading edge is not vertical in either of those positions, but rather perpendicular to the plane - i.e. roughly the same as your inclination to the ground ("spine angle" if you want to use the common but, IMHO, incorrect term).

If you hold a putter out straight in front of you so the shaft is horizontal to the ground and rotate it 90° back, it's vertical. If you hold a putter straight up and down and rotate it the same 90°, the putter is still flat, horizontal.

The only way to really get the club toe-up in either of these positions is to rotate the clubface open with your forearms and wrists on the backswing and closed on the follow-through. Now, virtually every good golfer has a little of this rotation on the backswing. There aren't many golfers with no #3 accumulator (rotation). Even more have it after impact on the follow-through.

But that's not "square to the plane," and it requires timing to rotate the club back to square at impact.

Again, I prefer to see a leading edge roughly perpendicular to the shaft angle at address in both of these positions. That'll look "closed" and then "open" to people expecting the toe to be up, but I think it's a "more correct" version of the swing. Decreasing the amount of #3 accumulator you have in your swing will lead to higher shots (more #3 = lower shots) and shots that more consistently start on-line because you don't need the timing.

Incidentally, this is why I - and 99% of PGA Tour pros, and Scotty Cameron, and Stan Utley, and virtually everyone except Dave Pelz - believe the only or best putting stroke is an inside-square-inside putting stroke. Same principles are at play here - the blade stays square to the inclined plane.
post #2 of 77

Re: Clubface Square to the Plane

Yeah, toe-up people are morons. Unfortunately for golfers (and fortunately for me) they seem to occupy most of the spots on television and in magazines.
post #3 of 77

Re: Clubface Square to the Plane

Pelz does teach a stone age type technique imo.
post #4 of 77
Thread Starter 

Re: Clubface Square to the Plane

Originally Posted by iammpspeer View Post
Pelz does teach a stone age type technique imo.
This thread isn't really about putting. It's about the full swing.
post #5 of 77

Re: Clubface Square to the Plane

I have to agree with iacas on this one. I had the tendency to roll the wrists/forearms and get the club into a toe up position. On the downswing, how much I rolled my wrists back again varied. This proved to be very inconsistent for me. I read a post on here a few months back that said the club face should match the spine angle at the paralell to the ground position on the backswing. Making sure I do this has helped me square the face at impact considerably. My problem is that I swung for so long with the rolling action, I have to try to almost reverse roll, or think about the wrists rotating counter-clockwise. I realize that my wrists are not actually turning counter-clockwise, it is just a swing thought to counteract my old bad habit.
post #6 of 77

Re: Clubface Square to the Plane

This topic makes me think about getting my swing analyzed. I have no idea what angle my clubface is at any points other than address and the milliseconds before, during, and after impact. No wonder I'm a hack.
post #7 of 77

Re: Clubface Square to the Plane

Originally Posted by iacas View Post
I prefer to see a leading edge roughly perpendicular to the shaft angle at address in both of these positions..
i agree in theory that that is the correct assessment. however, in reality, when the shaft is horizontal, i am not sure how many can reliably assess shaft angle to start, let alone something perpendicular to that. it may be too spatial-orientationally challenging for many,,,

perhaps for most folks, it is easier to start with the gross concept and feel of being "vertical" and then trial and error to fit individual needs.
post #8 of 77
Thread Starter 

Re: Clubface Square to the Plane

Originally Posted by golfdad View Post
i agree in theory that that is the correct assessment. however, in reality, when the shaft is horizontal, i am not sure how many can reliably assess shaft angle to start, let alone something perpendicular to that. it may be too spatial-orientationally challenging for many
Well, that's kind of irrelevant. I'm not asking how people assess it, or if people can assess it, I'm asking what people think is "square to the plane." Plus, video or a mirror can be used to assess it, and the shaft angle is often close to perpendicular to the "spine angle" as well, so that's one way to assess it.

To clarify, I don't like "spine angle" because your spine has many angles at setup. Your neck is often bent a little and everyone's back has a natural curve to it anyway. So if I'm talking about the general "spine angle" and how the leading edge of the club should parallel the "spine angle," then I'm talking about the line drawn roughly from the tailbone to the neck. Better terminology would be your "inclination to the ground."

Originally Posted by golfdad View Post
perhaps for most folks, it is easier to start with the gross concept and feel of being "vertical" and then trial and error to fit individual needs.
I'd disagree. I think that the thought of having the toe be "vertical" is one of the leading causes of people fanning the clubface open on the takeaway and rolling the forearms and wrists too much, too early, and that if they had instead been taught that the toe should kind of match the "spine angle," golfers would be better off.
post #9 of 77

Re: Clubface Square to the Plane

I think the leading edge of most clubs are not perpendicular the the shaft due to lie angle.
So leading edge of clubface will never parallel to the spine angle
post #10 of 77
Thread Starter 

Re: Clubface Square to the Plane

Originally Posted by KaiL View Post
I think the leading edge of most clubs are not perpendicular the the shaft due to lie angle.
So leading edge of clubface will never parallel to the spine angle
We're looking at it in two dimensions, though. When the shaft is horizontal on the takeaway, a camera down-the-line can accurately show the leading edge in two dimensions. The third dimension, depth (i.e. further away from the camera at the heel, closer to the camera at the toe) is irrelevant - it's compressed and can't be measured in two dimensions.

The leading edge should also, ideally, remain square to the plane from horizontal to horizontal (and beyond that too - it's just that when one arm begins folding at the elbow the plane shifts).
post #11 of 77

Re: Clubface Square to the Plane

First of all, I am new to this game.

I thought that leading edge should not be square to swing path. Instead the toe of club should lead the back swing after 90 degree, or at least start to lead.
2 reasons:
It's easier for my right arm to lead when thumb is up.
During down swing, center of weight is on swing plain and follow the shaft up till contact zone.

BTW: Great forum, learned a lot here.
post #12 of 77

Re: Clubface Square to the Plane

When my club is at my waist line on the backswing my toe is up, then after my full backswing and i hit the ball if you pause the slow speed camera when its at my waist line after i hit the ball the toe is a little open and not pointing straight up. I had numerous talks with 3 different pros and they all tried to get me to roll my right forearm over to where you couldnt see my glove on my left hand to where my arms made and X and my toe was up at my waist line on the follow through. I found this very uncomfortable on my follow through and it has a tendency to make me hit hooks. When i swing the origanal way and my toe is a little open i hit the ball straight. Maybe once in a while hit a fade but not much. I dont understand why everytime i see a pro and hit balls thats the only thing i am told is wrong with my swing. This is and exact quote from the last pro i have seen. " You have a great swing, your backswing stays on plane, your downswing is right in the strike zone and you have alot of power. The only thing you need to work on if you want to get a little better ball striking is put a glove in your left elbow and take half swings. Go half way back to toe up, swing down and hit the ball, roll your forearm over and get the toe up on the half swing follow through". I dont think its really helped my ballstriking at all to tell you the truth. Im going back this Friday to talk to him again. Im going to see what he says about my swing now.
post #13 of 77
Thread Starter 

Re: Clubface Square to the Plane

Originally Posted by Nickynoodles View Post
When my club is at my waist line on the backswing my toe is up
It sounds like your backswing is technically what I'd deem "open" to the path (rolled open slightly, as I contend that toe-up is actually an open position) while on your follow-through you remain squarer. You seem to think the follow-through is open, even if it's slanted like / when viewed from down-the line.

Again, I'd contend that in both positions you want the club to be more like / than |.
post #14 of 77

Re: Clubface Square to the Plane

Originally Posted by iacas View Post
It sounds like your backswing is technically what I'd deem "open" to the path (rolled open slightly, as I contend that toe-up is actually an open position) while on your follow-through you remain squarer. You seem to think the follow-through is open, even if it's slanted like / when viewed from down-the line.

Again, I'd contend that in both positions you want the club to be more like / than |.
Yea my club looks exactly like / when im waist high on the follow through and i hit the ball dead straight, if i miss hit it will fade right but not bad maybe 5-10 yards at the most. The pro's who i talk to and swing with are the ones telling me that its bad and it should be like the 2nd one straight up and maybe even a little more closed. Im having a huge problem with it because im trying to explain to them that the way it is like / is hitting it straight. They dont want to hear that. So im going back Friday and going to fool around and hit some balls with John who is a pro around here and tell him i have been practicing with his roll the forearms and club face straight and im hitting hooks. Nothing worse then paying $ and getting negative results. Not saying what he is saying is wrong because i ahve watched some videos of great golfers who do do that and are great golfers. For some reason its not working for me tho. I like the way it feels and the way the ball flies with the club face at / rather then closed or straight up. Im trying to get better ball striking with my irons thats why i have been talking to him so maybe i just have to stick with it a couple more weeks and it will work. I dont know. What do you think?
post #15 of 77
Thread Starter 

Re: Clubface Square to the Plane

Originally Posted by Nickynoodles View Post
What do you think?
I think troubleshooting your own swing is kind of off topic. I also think you could probably improve if you weren't | on the takeaway but were instead also /. Your takeaway should match your follow-through and both should be square to the plane, which is /. You have it right on the follow-through, it seems like, but wrong on the takeaway.
post #16 of 77

Re: Clubface Square to the Plane

I don't think it makes a difference whether the toe is straight up or on a parallel plane to your spine angle at that point in the back swing. There are players who may have the club a little more "shut" (or more parallel or even past parallel to the spine angle) and there are players who have it closer to toe up on the backswing.

I think what is important is the final position at the top of the swing. The position at the top determines how much you have to use your body to rotate vs. your arms, etc. to get the club "square" at impact.

Besides, I also think that someone who has a flatter back swing (such as S&T'ers) would have a leading edge position more parallel to the spine angle as opposed to someone with a more upright swing who would have a more toe up position. I myself have a pretty flat back swing and definitely have a more parallel to spine angle position halfway up the back swing.

Of course there are exceptions to this tendency and it seems that you would have to use more wrist/hand motion going back in order to really get the club toe up. Someone who "cups" their wrist to avoid a hook will probably have a more toe up position, whereas someone who has inactive hands going back will have a more parallel position.

Just what I've concluded after a quick reflection...
post #17 of 77

Re: Clubface Square to the Plane

Unlike the "release" thread, there's no misinterpreting this advice. And man, the to toe straight up at parallel in the backswing advice seriously messed me up for a long time. It made me very spinny and inconsistent, and I had trouble closing the club face for impact unless I came over the top and overdid it and hit weakish pull hooks. I eventually figured out that I hit the ball much better if my club face was like you say, maybe even more closed than the slash you drew above. I get much better lag, much more consistent ball flight, and a draw instead of a fade/slice. But I've always thought that I must be doing something a bit "wrong" that just happens to work for me.
post #18 of 77
Thread Starter 

Re: Clubface Square to the Plane

Originally Posted by verse214 View Post
I don't think it makes a difference whether the toe is straight up or on a parallel plane to your spine angle at that point in the back swing.
I think it does. It's a checkpoint in the swing.

Originally Posted by verse214 View Post
There are players who may have the club a little more "shut" (or more parallel or even past parallel to the spine angle)
I don't think that's "shut." I think that's "square." And that's what I'm hoping to discuss here.

Originally Posted by verse214 View Post
I think what is important is the final position at the top of the swing.
Why that and not something earlier? You see, you think something else is important but not the point of this discussion. The same thing, but later? Why?

Originally Posted by verse214 View Post
Besides, I also think that someone who has a flatter back swing (such as S&T'ers) would have a leading edge position more parallel to the spine angle as opposed to someone with a more upright swing who would have a more toe up position.
I disagree... at this point in the backswing the steep plane swing and the flatter swing is very similar. Plus, a flatter plane would be more likely to be more toe-up. Hold your putter out straight in front of you and swing it very flat - it's toe up. Now swing it purely vertically - it never gets to any position other than horizontal.

So perhaps that's a compensation the more upright swinger tends to make - more hand rotation to open up the clubface on the backswing. The player has made a move they'll have to compensate for later.

Originally Posted by mdl View Post
I eventually figured out that I hit the ball much better if my club face was like you say, maybe even more closed than the slash you drew above.
Yeah, the slash is just an indication to show the general look, it's not meant to be precise. But I think you knew that... / vs. |. Common thought is that you want to be | but I contend that | isn't square to the plane. / is.

Originally Posted by mdl View Post
I get much better lag, much more consistent ball flight, and a draw instead of a fade/slice. But I've always thought that I must be doing something a bit "wrong" that just happens to work for me.
That's the value of this discussion. Again, I contend that / is "square to the plane" and thus | would be open to the plane.
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