One Plane Golf Swing Vs. Two Plane Golf Swing

Swing Planes Explained – Part 2

Plane swing – this is part 2 of a 3 part series. Click here for the golf swing plane part 1

In this article I’m going to explain what a one plane swing is, and what a two plane swing is… in simple language… hopefully! 🙂

The differences between a one plane swing and a two plane swing are quite obvious… when you know what to look for. So let’s start this discussion off with a look at the one plane golf swing.

Two of the most famous one plane swingers were Ben Hogan and Moe Norman.

Moe Norman is more extreme than Ben Hogan, so we’ll look at him first.

When you see Moe Norman setup it looks very odd. Here is a picture of his setup and I have drawn a line through the shaft, which is going through the middle of his back (that’s important, so keep this in mind as we move through this):

Moe Setup

As you’ll notice… Moe’s hands are very high and his club is set back a foot or so from the ball.

Now the key to a one plane swing, is to keep the club shaft parallel to the line that is created at setup. Then the goal is to get the club shaft back onto the same plane line that was created at setup once you reach impact. I will show you some images from a video of Moe Norman doing this.


Moe Backswing
Moe Downswing
Moe Impact
Moe Follow-Through

At crucial parts in the swing Moe’s clubshaft is parallel with the shaft line that he started with at setup. Moe has a pretty unusual looking swing though. I don’t know who came up with the term ‘Natural Golf’ but that doesn’t look too natural to me!

So let’s look at the more “normal” setup and swing of golf legend, Ben Hogan.

Ben Hogan setup
Ben hogan backswing
Ben hogan downswing
Ben hogan impact
Ben hogan follow-through

So that’s a look at a couple of famous one plane swings. There is a measurement you can use to help determine if a golfer has a one plane or two plane swing. I’ll give that to you later in this article.

But before we move onto two plane swings, I just want to make a very important point about one plane swings.

As well as Ben Hogan and Moe Norman hit the ball with their one plane swings… they hit an awaful lot of balls (i.e. MILLIONS)! And that leads nicely into my next point, which may explain why they needed to do that…

Pretty much every golfer who starts playing the game of golf, swings with a two plane golf swing. Jack Nicklaus has a classic two plane golf swing, so let’s look at his swing plane…

Jack Nicklaus Setup
Jack Nicklaus Backswing
Jack Nicklaus Downswing
Jack Nicklaus Impact
Jack Nicklaus Follow-Through

Now here is an extreme opposite of Moe Norman. Jim Furyk and his two plane golf swing.

Jim Setup
Jim Backswing
Jim Downswing
Jim Impact
Jim Follow-Through

Wow… Jim’s got a lot going on with his swing plane! But he’s a great golfer who proves you can play great golf with a two plane swing, just like you can with a one plane swing.

My personal opinion, based on the golfers that are great with the one plane swing, is you need to hit a lot of balls for it to work. If you don’t want to be a range rat, then a two plane swing or hybrid swing plane is what you should be looking to do. In my next article I’m going to be talking about a hybrid swing plane, because I believe that’s the way to go – and I’ll explain why in my next article.

Before I leave you however, I just want to point out an easy way to measure whether a swing is a one plane swing or a two plane swing. Because at the half way point in the backswing and downswing, a person can have what looks like a one plane swing and yet be a two plane golf swing.

You can measure this yourself (for your own swing) if you have a video and some golf swing video analysis software.

What you do is get to the top of the golfer’s swing and measure the angle of the left arm and the angle of the shoulders. If the angle difference is less than 12 degrees then it’s a one plane swing. If it’s more than 12 degrees then it’s a two plane swing. Here’s some examples of one plane swings:

Ben Hogan Top Of Backswing
Ben Hogan – 2 Degrees Difference
Moe Norman Top Of Backswing
Moe Norman – O Degrees Difference
Zac Johnson Top Of Backswing
Zac Johnson – 7 Degrees Difference
Matt Kucher Top Of BackswingQ
Matt Kutcher – 1 Degree Difference

Ok, let’s look at the differences between some famous two plane swingers:

Jack Nicklaus Top Of Backswing
Jack Nicklaus – 28 Degrees Difference
Jim Top Of Backswing
Jim Furyk – 48 Degrees Difference
David Toms Top Of Backswing
David Toms – 35 Degrees Difference
Fred Couples Top Of Swing
Fred Couples – 39 Degrees Difference

So hopefully now you have a clear understanding of the main differences between a one plane swing and a two plane swing. As I’ve already said, I don’t think any extreme version is right.I would never teach a person to swing like Moe Norman. Equally, I would never teach a person to swing like Jim Furyk.I like the middle ground and both swing plane theories have their good points that I think can be melded into a great golf swing. So in my next article I’m going to show you a great Major winning golf swing that puts my theory into practice.Until next time, have a great week. And now you know what to look for if you’re analyzing your own swing plane, to tell whether it’s a two plane or one plane golf swing.

I hope you enjoyed this second article about the swing plane. Look out for the next article, in which Jeff is going to explain the hybrid swing plane he recommends.

Click here to jump to the golf swing plane part 3

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Written by Jeff Richmond

Jeff is the director of instruction for Consistent Golf. He is also the author of 3 Easy Steps to a professional Swing Plane

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Introducing The Hybrid Swing Plane