A good golf swing keeps everything moving around a fairly parallel arc, from the hips and center of mass, to the handle and the clubhead.
This means that a perfect swing will approach the golf ball from the inside, hit it squarely, and then return back around to the inside again after impact.
But this just describes the motion of the clubhead. The handle is also working on an arc, and should exit back around to the inside again, disappearing behind the body from the down the line view.
The swing plane has both a vertical and horizontal component. While we are trying to point the horizontal end as close to our intended target as possible, the vertical needs to be balanced.
Imagine the Hogan pane of glass from his book ‘5 Lessons’. If you aren’t familiar with the illustration, simply google it and click on images. Now imagine that pane of glass can be raised and lowered.
If we are too vertical, it means that many body and arm errors have likely taken place, and we will have a hard time squaring the clubface or hitting or hitting for maximum power. Too horizontal or shallow of a plane and we may not be able to pivot correctly as our turn must be more centered in a barrel to get the arms and club around to the target line.
Thus we need a happy medium. Most average to high handicap golfers are too steep or vertical with their swing planes, and this accounts for so many slices and over the top paths.
When we have the right blend of vertical plane in our golf swings, we can swing from the inside and hit a draw without having to overly flip the clubface since the handle path is still curving around to the left. This gives us a ton of easy clubhead speed and keeps the clubface from rotating open to closed to quickly through impact.
Not only will you get the distance you are seeking this way, but also you’ll be more consistent from day to day.
Hey Steve – my name is Steve as well. I just “discovered” your site and hope that you can help me. Your post “Mastering the Swing Plane and Handle Path” might be the correct action that I have been looking for. I’m 62 years young and have been playing the game since I was a kid. I have been told that I have a nice & easy/ handsy swing, play to a 6 hdcp on a 6300 yard tree lined course but I only drive it approximately 220 yards. So where do we begin?