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Clubface Square to the Plane - Page 3

post #37 of 77

Re: Clubface Square to the Plane

Originally Posted by iacas View Post
I highly doubt you're incapable of learning a better, more efficient way to swing the club. You're putting yourself down and basically calling yourself incapable of learning... I doubt that's true.

And, not to be too "moderator" on you, but I don't see the relevance to the topic. It's almost opposite of the topic. I'm trying to tell people "the clubface is square to the plane when it's like /" and your reply is "who cares what square is, just swing the way you always have."

The way people have always swung is what makes them unable to break 90. Or 80. Or whatever... Knowledge helps people. Well, it helps those who think they're capable of learning, anyway.
No, no, not true. I work harder than anyone I know to get better, I practice nearly every single day. I can show you a video of my swing now and a year ago, and you'll jaw will drop.

I am not saying your argument is wrong, it's indeed correct. I don't think any of us can disagree with your point, placing a club on a central point and rotating it around will show that to be 100% true. However, I am playing devils advocate here and asking, "is it better to have a flawed, but easily repeatable swing; or a fundamentally sound one that may be harder to repeat?"

Add: Another question, does the argument hold up when you consider that a golf swing has more than one central points. The club's butt end changes position during the swing, and the plane shifts. What defines the plane, and how do we go about adapting our own physical shape to it?
post #38 of 77
Thread Starter 

Re: Clubface Square to the Plane

Originally Posted by Shanks A Million View Post
However, I am playing devils advocate here and asking, "is it better to have a flawed, but easily repeatable swing; or a fundamentally sound one that may be harder to repeat?"
That's not really on topic.

And to answer you quickly before moving on, repeatability clearly matters, but since it's so hypothetical about what "may" be harder or easier, we can't really discuss it. Everyone I've met and discussed this with finds it easier to keep the club square than to time the extra opening/closing required to get "toe up." Of course, "everyone" could be 1 or 100 people - you don't know. And I'm too lazy to count (it's > 1).

Originally Posted by Shanks A Million View Post
Why do the announcers say that's square?
Because that's what they've been taught. Doesn't mean they're right. Michael Breed still thinks the club's path determines the starting direction of the ball for cryin' out loud.

Let's stick to the topic please. You agree that / is more square to the plane than |. Good.
post #39 of 77

Re: Clubface Square to the Plane

Not that I'm a pro or anything but i did not really start striking the ball until I starting thinking about keeping the face of the club straight back and straight forward... I dont think that way now, but it helped me start hitting draws and to this day that is what i do when i want to hit that low hard draw.
post #40 of 77

Re: Clubface Square to the Plane

What is square on the top of the backswing? What part of the body or stance can you compare it against? The left arm? Would that make a square position when the leading edge of the club is parallell with the left arm? This angle, relative to the ground, will change from driver to wedge. Should it always follow the arm?

On the photo below, should the leading edge, marked in yellow, be angled down and closer to the angle of the arm?

post #41 of 77
Thread Starter 

Re: Clubface Square to the Plane

Originally Posted by Zeph View Post
What is square on the top of the backswing?
I started out with a two-minute answer, and now, 5+ hours later, I'm satisfied. Or tired.

My original intent was only to talk about the club at parallel because a) that's what instructors and TV types talk about, and b) it's early enough in the swing that it's easily checked and fixed, yet I see a LOT of people getting it "wrong." Probably 90+% of golfers don't hit the parallel positions.

First let's examine the circular path the club travels on.

The top of the backswing puts the shaft at roughly 270° from its starting position. 180° or so of that is rotational (the arms about a swing center roughly between the shoulder blades). We know this because the left arm moves from straight down (and right) to straight up (and left) when viewed DTL. The left arm moves roughly 180°. The other 90° to get the shaft parallel at the top comes from left wrist cock, right-elbow bend, right wrist folding, and the gap between your hands. I'll talk about those later.

I made a long golf club out of pipe cleaner to help me visualize all of this. I constrained the angles to 45° for simplicity. If you swing this imaginary (or real in my case) club exactly on the plane, the leading edge changes from toe horizontal to toe vertical (or "toe up"). At parallel going back the leading edge will be 45°.

This makes sense because the clubface is always perpendicular to the shaft, and thus, always perpendicular to the plane, or square to the plane. So long as we only rotate the club on the plane and around the point between the shoulders, it will always be square. The clubface marks is effectively the tangent line of the inclined circle.

The toe and the heel trace circles about the same center, but because the toe is farther, its circle is larger. If you draw this out, you get something like this (in 2D DTL and 3D from an angle):



What's clear to me, and is easily seen in the DTL view, is that these concentric circles could be viewed as a cone with two inscribed circles. In 2D, that's a triangle, but in three dimensions we have a cone. The cone is resting on its side so that the leading edge of the clubface is flat at the bottom of the swing (i.e. your club is properly fit).

Here's another way to look at it: a good video on YouTube demonstrates this idea in another way that may help you conceptualize this. I took still frames from this video at "address" and the backswing and follow-through (it doesn't quite get to parallel, but you can see what's going on):



So why doesn't the clubface in Zeph's image match the lines I've drawn to represent the clubface in my diagram? The reasons I said we'd get to later: the right elbow, the left wrist, the right wrist, and the gap between the hands.

The right elbow folds. In the image Zeph included, that's illustrated nicely. When the right elbow folds, the plane gets steeper. If you take either of the cones (2D or 3D) and rotate them so that the plane is steeper (i.e. the toe would be down more at impact, or "clockwise about the tip of the cone or triangle as viewed down the line"), you can see that this changes the angle of the leading edge of the clubface. It's no longer angled up as much - it rotates the angle clockwise (from the heel end), as if going from 1:30pm to roughly 3:00.

(Note: If your right arm separates from your body, that also effectively steepens the plane. I consider that a corollary to the right elbow folding - they accomplish the same thing in this discussion.)

But we still need to get to roughly 4:30. And we do that with the second part - the left wrist cocking. The left wrist cocking swings the club another ninety minutes or so, from 3:00 to 4:30 (again, roughly). This move will put the leading edge of the clubface (in 2D and from the DTL view) on the same line as the back of your left wrist and/or left forearm (assuming a fairly neutral grip, of course).

Unfortunately those aren't the only moves we make at the top of the backswing. If we only did those things, the club would leave the surface of the cone and point towards the middle of the cone - the shaft would start pointing perpendicular to the plane instead of riding on the plane. Try this drill: hold a putter in an address position. Cock your left wrist up as much as you can without doing anything else. Where does the club go? It swings straight up in front of you, perpendicular to the plane of the swing.

So what gets the club pointing down the target line? A combination of the right wrist folding, the separation of your hands on the club, and a little bit of rolling (because of the right wrist folding). The folding controls the rolling.

Here's a video of Ryan Moore. Ignore Peter Kostis and look at his swing. The club stays way out over the plane with the shaft almost perpendicular until the shaft "lays down" because he rotates when his right wrist folds at the top:



Originally Posted by Zeph View Post
What part of the body or stance can you compare it against?
It depends on where in the swing you're looking to compare. If you have no folding or cocking, the club's leading edge at the "top" (after 180° of rotation will be vertical. Wrist cock and right elbow folding (and the fact that the club isn't gripped straight in line with our left arm) can tip that angle to horizontal.

You can't get to the top with the leading edge vertical with both hands on the club, but you can with just one hand - your left hand.

That said, the clubface is obviously always within a few degrees as the back of the left hand. But that's an obvious one - the club never spins in your hand, and even if you roll your forearms or wrists the club doesn't actually turn relative to the back of your left hand.

Originally Posted by Zeph View Post
On the photo below, should the leading edge, marked in yellow, be angled down and closer to the angle of the arm?
Technically a weak grip would be required to for the back of the left hand to line up with the clubface here. A neutral grip puts the back of the left hand angled to the right of the target at setup - almost enough to explain the differences in your picture. The rest is explained because he's not quite at parallel.

Now, a few differences between the theoretical and the real-world:
  1. Nobody (Moe Norman aside) hits the ball with their arms in line with the club as illustrated. For the purpose of this discussion, lines from the center of rotation to the heel of the club represent the hypotenuse of the "center-of-rotation" - "grip" - "heel" triangle (a very obtuse triangle). That angle accounts for the theoretical "toe up" at the TOP of the backswing versus my illustrations showing a slight lean.
  2. Additionally, the plane of your swing steepens when your right elbow folds.
  3. Your right wrist folding helps to counter-act your left wrist cocking to keep the club pointed at the target at the top of an actual golf swing.

Now, here's a simple exercise:

Stand at address without a club and point at a pretend golf ball with all of the fingers of your left hand, thumb on top and pinkie on the bottom. The back of your left hand will face the target and is effectively your "clubface".

Swing your arm back on this plane (remember, this is the plane from your shoulder to the ball, so your arm will be higher than it would normally be at address). Do not rotate your wrist or forearm. Stop at horizontal on the takeaway. What's the angle of the back of your left hand? If you've not rotated, it'll be perpendicular to the plane.

Continue all the way to the top of the backswing. Don't cock or roll your wrist. What angle is the clubface now? It'll be angled perpendicular to the plane... or "square to the plane." Just like it was at address and halfway back.

Now let's see how the right hand affects this. Go back to address. Put your palms together and weave your fingers together but try to keep the fingers pointing at the imaginary ball so that your "clubface" is easy to see.

Go back to parallel to the ground. Your right elbow will not have started bending yet. Nothing should be different - your hand should still be perpendicular to the plane just as before and at address.

Here's the tricky part where you'll feel what the right elbow folding does. Continue back slowly and try to get your left arm to the "top" position, rotated 180° from address like before. Slowly do this, and let your right elbow fold, but be sure to keep your left arm straight. It's going to be tough because your right hand is going to want to twist in relation to your left hand. The only way to maintain the hands in the same locked position is to either cock the left wrist OR to do something that's completely goofy and de-cock the right wrist (go in the opposite direction of cocking a wrist).

This is easier in the golf swing because your hands aren't palm to palm and the right wrist can fold.

This exercise illustrates why the moves made from parallel to the top of the backswing (left wrist cocking, right wrist folding, right elbow folding) keep the clubhead near the plane (the hand plane).

One more illustration to show that and then I'm done (whew). This is a purely Down-the-Line version of the same Golfing Machine type idea from before. Angles are 45 (or 135) to keep things simple (thus not accounting for the natural arm-shaft angle):



P.S. I had more typed but I'm limited to 10,000 characters.
post #42 of 77

Re: Clubface Square to the Plane

That's one of the longest replies I've yet to see.
Great stuff. I'll have to read it a couple of times to get all the details, but I understand most of it.

Hit some balls today on a simulator, focusing on the position of the clubface at parallell to the target line, like here: http://www.thegolfevolution.com/files/tim_clark_p2.jpg
Made a huge difference on my accuracy. I use to spray the ball both left and right. Tonight I hardly hit anything right, but some to the left. Most likely because I'm programmed to roll the forearms to shut the clubface since I open it in the backswing, combined with swinging a bit over the top. When I made an effort to not roll the forearms, I hit a lot of good shots. Way more accurate and reliable. Feeling or visualizing the position past parallell is difficult, I may do something wrong there too, but the parallell feeling was definitely different and made a huge impact. It feels like the club is square and the way to get it open or shut is by holding it off or rolling it over.
post #43 of 77
Thread Starter 

Re: Clubface Square to the Plane

Originally Posted by Zeph View Post
Feeling or visualizing the position past parallell is difficult.
I would agree. Too many things begin happening at different rates. Ryan Moore does the same things - just in a different order and at different rates - as every other PGA Tour golfer. It's just that parallel to parallel, the bottom half of the circle - is typically fairly consistent and easy to check (you can look at the clubface without having to somehow look out of the back of your head, for example).
post #44 of 77

Re: Clubface Square to the Plane

A good drill to promote the correct positions at parallel to the ground going back is the "PVC" drill. It is where you take a broom handle or a piece of PVC pips and grip it and have the handle extend so that it touches the left side of your torso, just under the rib cage. Now, put two balls down on the target line, one for the ball position, and one 6 feet back. The point of the drill is to take the club back and point it at the ball 6 feet back and still have the PVC touching your torso just under your ribs. If done correctly, you have started the backswing and have not rotated the hands. The club is on it's way back and has not changed in relation to the swing plane. From there you just continue with the arms and the hands will set naturally, without rotating..... It is my only swing thought when things are not quite right.
post #45 of 77
Thread Starter 

Re: Clubface Square to the Plane

Originally Posted by MiniMoe View Post
A good drill to promote the correct positions at parallel to the ground going back is the "PVC" drill.
I thought you didn't like drills MiniMoe and that everyone should just hit the ball? Just teasin'...

You can grip down on your golf club and stick the butt end of the grip in your belly button (or thereabouts) as well and do the same kind of thing. Dave gave me that drill once or twice throughout the year and I've used it a few times to really feel the lack of rolling/square-to-plane stuff.

Good drill, good suggestion.
post #46 of 77

Re: Clubface Square to the Plane

I've read most of this thread and I'm glad to see iacas sticking to what he said when so many have gone against him. Just because others do it one way doesn't mean its the EASIEST way. It's just the way they are used to doing it.

Rolling the arms, wrists or hands (which in turn rolls the clubface) conciously at any point in the swing isn't necessary and like iacas said, just adds a timing element. The only time the clubface will roll very slightly is in the first foot of the backswing when your arm rotates in slightly (this is natural and an unconcious movement) to accomadate rotating back and around your body. When you have introduced timing, you have introduced concious thought into the middle of the golf swing. Never good. Power comes from a strong coil, sliding your hips forward and holding an extreme wrist cock until you reach the p2 position in your downswing at which point you release the club and "slap" down through the ball with your right hand.
post #47 of 77

At the :18 mark in this video of Tiger, the leading edge of the clubface is parallel to his spine.  Erik, is this what you mean?

 

post #48 of 77
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golf Grouch View Post

At the :18 mark in this video of Tiger, the leading edge of the clubface is parallel to his spine.  Erik, is this what you mean?

 

At that stage in the backswing, yes.

post #49 of 77

I have never been a participant in online group discussions, but this one has my full attention.  

I cannot believe that I wasted so many years of my "golfing life" by trying to make the "toe up" philosophy "work".  I recently (and I'm 52 yrs old), decided that enough-is-enough and signed up with GolfTech to have my swing completely analyzed. It is amazing how much better my ball striking has become by keeping the angle "square to arc"!!  It takes a lot of practice because of the ingrained "toe up" crap.  With the "square to arc", my spine angle is better.  My shoulder tilt is better. I may not reach "scatch" status, but that is my quest.  I'll let you know how I progress.

post #50 of 77

Iacas - Another great topic.   I'm self taught (trial and error) and have never analyzed it in-depth as in this thread but I have had some good success with the swing thought/feel of "keeping the club face looking at the ball" during the initial takeaway.   To me this feels a bit closed, because I'm sure I've been a wrist-roller most of my golfing life, but having just got up off the couch to get a club, I see at P2 with this approach, the toe of my club is more in the 'square to path' position as you describe, not "up".  Thought I would share this as it may be a good thought/feel for others.   Does anyone have any drills/or suggestions for maintaining the square position thru impact to  horizontal on the follow-thru?...  as it seems as if sometimes my reflex is to hold on or roll clockwise on the downswing because I feel "closed' when I am taking it back square to the plane.  Hope that makes sense.   I'm going to recommit to "square to path".

post #51 of 77
Thread Starter 

The clubface does not stay square to the plane throughout the entire backswing. Virtually everyone will rotate their left wrist (via their forearm - your wrist can't rotate independently) about 90° during the backswing. Virtually all players will then hold off on rotating this back to square quite a long time - at A6 the toe is often up. This extra rate of rotation ("rate of closure") often leads to the clubface being slightly closed to the path after the ball is hit, because the RoC doesn't just immediately stop, it has some momentum.

 

Personally I prefer to see a golfer with a slower rate of closure (it doesn't add much distance at all) because it's easier to know where the face will be pointing at impact.

 

This is an old(er) topic spurned by someone else telling us how they kept the clubface square the entire time they swung, which is unlikely given that everyone rolls their wrist a little on the backswing. I hope I've answered any new questions that have come up.

 

P.S. My stick diagram isn't awesome because the "adjusted plane" in the last step doesn't account for quite as much roll, nor does it get the angle of the right elbow right. It's close, though.

post #52 of 77

Great thread.  I need to re-commit to square to plane.  I tend to convince myself that I can get by with more over-rotating the clubface open and then slamming it square-to-closed through impact.  I get romanced in to this because when I time it right, I can hit some spectacularly long, majestic shots.  However, I can also hit some real dog babies with that approach. 

My swing thought was mentioned above. I imagine that the clubface is 'looking' at the ball as I initiate my backswing. 

Good stuff, thanks.
 

post #53 of 77

This thread was before my time, so I'm resurrecting it, because it's relevant to my game right now. 

 

Iacas, I get the idea that the rather than the toe being exactly perpendicular to the ground when the shaft is parallel during the takeaway, it should be more along the lines of 45 degrees(ish) to the ground, i.e., from down the line, the club face should look like / when the shaft is parallel rather than |.  

 

My first question is, since everyone acknowledges it's impossible to not have SOME rotation in the back swing, doesn't the clubface end up in the same position at the top of the backswing anyway? 

 

My second, and much more important question, is whether this will help me square up my ****ing driver and not his ****ing push slices?  Right now I'm working on rolling the forearms in the downswing, but I'm always open to new things. 
 

post #54 of 77
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoundandFury View Post

My first question is, since everyone acknowledges it's impossible to not have SOME rotation in the back swing, doesn't the clubface end up in the same position at the top of the backswing anyway?

Just talked about this today. It's true, yes. But most golfers over rotate and swing left. The swing will rotate 90 degrees (club face to plane) roughly so I don't care much when that rotation occurs. I might slightly prefer it to happen a bit later but it doesn't have to.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoundandFury View Post

My second, and much more important question, is whether this will help me square up my ****ing driver and not his ****ing push slices?  Right now I'm working on rolling the forearms in the downswing, but I'm always open to new things. 

Please don't work on that... See the "advice I hate" thread on that. Better to work on moving your path right. Or look at your grip.
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