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My Philosophy - The Golf Swing PDF Print E-mail
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Wednesday, 11 October 2006 22:13






Charles Mickle Golf Academy




'Mit Sicherheit Charles Mickle ist einer der besten Golflehrer Europas in der heutigen Zeit'

'Without doubt Charles Mickle is one of the finest and most accomplished golf instructors in Europe'




My Philosophy - The Golf Swing


How and why do players such as David Duval slip from being Number one in the World to 288th position in the World rankings and not be able to make the cut in tournaments. The answer lies quite simply in the wrong mix of swing components or mixing the moves of the four separate types of swing.




A One-Plane swing is easier to learn if you are flexible and requires less maintenance; a Two-Plane is easier to learn if your joints are not as flexible, however it relies on timing requiring much more maintenance over time.




Unfortunately, within the golf instruction community there is a lot of confusion with golfers hearing conflicting tips on the golf swing. Every swing coach today has his or her trademark "tips" that they use to differentiate themselves and their tips often conflict with another swing coaches opinion of the swing. There is nothing more frustrating for a golfer than reading an article in a magazine from one instructor who says one thing and then to turn a couple pages to another article that says the exact opposite. It is this exact scenario that led me to developing my website.

The simplest way to think of the differences between the two swings is this: In a two plane swing, the arms and shoulders swing on two different planes at the top of the swing, in a one plane swing the arms swing up to be more or less on the same plane as the shoulders.




For the two plane swing, imagine Davis Love III or Colin Montgomery or Bernhard Langer. Their arms swing more upright while their shoulders rotate fairly level. For the one plane swing think of Ben Hogan, Justin Rose, Michelle Wie Ernie Els, David Duval or the new Tiger Woods. In general, their swings are more around with the arms swinging on the same plane as the shoulders at the top of the swing.






Ernie Els                                                                  Bernhard Langer

Ernie Els at Address




The One plane set up as pictured by Ernie Els has much more forward bend from the hips, this causes the player to stand further from the ball which means the hands and arms must also be positioned further from the body as a result. The body weight is positioned further forward and more towards the balls of the feet. Ernie’s address position sets the scene for a more rounded and compact swing. These changes in the address position cause the club head path to be more rounded during the beginning phase of the backswing and the shoulders should be in a much steeper position as a result. This is the classic one plane address position shown by great players.




Ernie Els’ primary Backswing stage 1



Ernie has a much more rounded start to his swing with more shoulder turn. It is clear to see how the club is swung on a more rounded path than that of Langer’s opposite.




Ernie swings the club on a path where the club-head is under plane he established at address, note the green line and compare it to Langer’s opposite.

Ernie is well on the way to completing the one plane backswing, the arms through continuous body rotation will be swung up so that they are on one plane with the shoulders on completion of the backswing. In the one plane swing there are fewer moving parts in the kinetic chain because the body rotates more with little lateral weight shift. During the backswing the upper left arm remains pinned to the chest and this contact point must be retained otherwise the player risks adopting a two plane component which can only lead to inconsistency. Because of the body rotation in a one plane swing, the body weight stays mainly central, there is no need to create width through weight shift, which is an essential component in the two plane movement. Should the two planer not transfer weight to the right during the backswing there would be an inherent lack of width in the  swing which would mean a one plane component in a two plane swing… resulting in inconsistency.

Ben Hogan the classic one planer tended to be more on his left-hand side on completion of the backswing and he then rotated his upper-body back hard to impact, this winding or coiling of the body during the backswing reduces the essential and key hip slide that a two planer requires.

Bernhard Langer at Address



The Two plane player stands much more upright and also closer to the ball which also positions the hands and the arms more vertically than the One plane address position. The body weight is also spread over the whole foot, these alterations change the start of the club head path in the backswing and the rotational properties of the shoulders are very much more horizontal or flatter in plane, than in the One plane swing. Bernhard Langer has a very upright but balanced stance with the weight evenly distributed over the feet, his arms hang down naturally from the shoulders which presents a more upright and ‘straight up’ backswing.





Bernhard Langer primary Backswing stage 1





Bernhard has a much straighter start to his backswing in keeping with his key address position principles. The shoulders turn less due to a more pronounced arm swing.






Bernhard swings the club-head slightly above the plane line, which is in keeping with the angles he set in his address position.

Bernhard is in a great position here for a two planer, the club head is above the plane line, which is an essential key position at this stage of the back-swing. He is beginning to raise the arms ‘up’. In contrast the key move for the one planer is to allow the arms through the  rotation of the body to move around and behind the upper body whereas the two planer must swing the arms up more in front of the body on a steeper plane as the following photos will show.

Other than in the address position it is plain to see how Ernie and Bernhard have a totally different positions at this stage of the swing, both are incidentally correct for the swing type being used. In the next stage of the backswing, Bernhard’s left arm must disconnect from the little chest contact it has, this in combination with the lateral weight transfer that id essential for this type of swing.

Nick Faldo was a classic two planer and for those who know his swing well, he always began the backswing with a lateral weight shift to the right, to create the important two plane key, ‘width’, and followed it with a lateral hip slide to the left which is key to establish the shallower downswing plane that the two planer requires.





Els and Langer both at their respective half swing positions, Langer’s shaft is on the tip of the left shoulder while Els’s is lower down and more through the upper arm. Langer has little hip turn at this point which is uncommon for a two plane swinger but from this point on he will lift his arms and rotate the hips into the two plane position. Els is in a fantastic position and from here will rotate his upper body to achieve the classic and powerful one plane position. Langer will continue to work the club up throughout the backswing instead of using the rotation that Els will use.




Els has much more body tilt and his left arm mirrors the plane line of his shoulders, this again for the one plane swing is a wonderfully, coiled and very powerful backswing position.


Ben Hogan was perhaps one of the few players who could match his arm position exactly to the line of his shoulders; Sergio Garcia is another player who mirrors Hogan in so many key one plane swing positions. Note the angle on Els’ back and compare it to Langer’s, notice the difference?


Ernie has much more forward bend and a bigger angle between upper and lower body.


The shoulders are in a much flatter position as the club reaches the end of the backswing and are more horizontal to the ground. Bernhard stands much taller or more upright in comparison to Els and his left arm is much higher by comparison.


A line drawn down directly from Langer’s left shoulder is around 10 Centimetres in front of his left toe, whereby Els has around 30 Centimetres, which is a classic position for the one plane swing. Langer is beautifully poised at the top of his two plane swing, and must now begin to shift his weight to the left.



Bernhard has much less body angle as a consequence of standing more upright.



One Plane Swing

If the arms are on plane as in Ernie’s case and in line with the shoulders which are in plane in relation to the spine angle. The upper body can simply begin its rotation back towards impact, shoulders, body, arms, club is the kinetic reaction and this can be as hard and aggressive as you like, the main object in the full swing is to rotate as hard as possible back to the ball, which is why most ‘one planers’, are bigger hitters, they simply produce and deliver much more power, speed and energy into the shot. The one plane player is not dependant on rhythm and timing as is the two plane swinger.


Two Plane Swing

The major obstacle while using the two plane swing is that you simply must develop a pause in the transition stage of the swing to allow the arms to fall back onto the correct plane. This is where most players make the mistake of using a two plane swing model (swinging the club and arms high over the right shoulder and then tragically rotating the upper body back towards impact which makes you begin the downswing with the shoulders bringing the club over the top (casting) and striking the ball with an outside to inside swing path causing lots of ugly slices and pulled shots which all start left of the target. This is a typical mix of one plane and two plane components, which just does not work


Good two plane type players know that swinging the arms up on a steeper plane means that to get the club back on plane they must wait until the arms have returned to a shallower plane before they can actually begin a body rotation towards the target and generate speed. The key to this two plane downswing is that you must first transfer the bodyweight back to the left (right-handed player) that move allows the arms and club shaft to drop back down onto plane and the rotation of the body can continue to deliver the club via the correct swing path to the ball.



This is why the two plane swing causes more swing problems than the one plane swing, players are dependant on getting the timing and swinging rhythm and speed right and for the average two round a week player getting that timing right can be a real struggle, especially if you happen to have a very good sense of rhythm.





Large differences are to be seen between the players here, Ernie is beginning a hard body rotation towards the target and his legs and feet have moved significantly less than Bernhard’s this is due to the lack of lateral hip or leg action in Ernie’s type swing and the increased upper body rotation.






Large differences are to be seen between the players here, Ernie is beginning a hard body rotation towards the target and his legs and feet have moved significantly less than Bernhard’s this is due to the lack of lateral hip or leg action in Ernie’s type swing and the increased upper body rotation.





The club shaft is slightly higher than Els would like it to be, but he does tend to stand up slightly as he enters the hitting zone and that would account for the slight deviation in the shaft angle, but he is close to perfect shaft plane here, one of the reasons that he is one of the worlds greatest players.

Ernie’s position in the impact zone is much more natural looking than that of Bernhard’s, who appears to be more blocked, but make no mistake, both of these vastly different swings work to exacting standards, proof can be found in the amount of Major championships they have both won.



Ernie has the shaft in perfect plane with shoulders and also the plane angle set by the shaft at address. He has a much more ‘in to in’, swing path caused by the more round the body swing.




Ernie stays perfectly in the one plane axis and portrays a wonderfully balanced finish to his swing. The right shoulder at this point of the swing will point very much more towards his target than a two plane swinger because of the bigger upper body rotation that is needed in the downswing. A wonderful finish to the swing by Ernie .





Ernie has spent 9 weeks as World Number 1








World Number 1 Lee Westwood


Lee Westwood displaying a balanced and central One Plane address position.

Nice move with good upper body rotation.



Lee Westwood displaying a classic one plane position on completion of the backswing with great body angle.


Sergio Garcia

Notice the clubhead under plane?



And the big shoulder turn, Sergio has so many similarities with Ben Hogan.


The left arm mirrors the shoulder plane and a good angle is shown between upper and lower body.





The club shaft is well down the right forearm and a little too flat.





A big shoulder rotation has taken place and Sergio’s club is swung more around his feet, another key position for this type of swing.



Sergio maintains good posture well into the follow through retaining much of the angle he created at address and stays importantly within his swinging axis.






Good balance and a nice finish to a world class swing.










Some One PLane Players


Ernie Els


Graham Macdowell


Adam Scott


Vijay Singh


Tiger Woods


Lee Westwood


Ben Hogan


Greg Norman


Trevor Immelmann


Jose Maria Olazabal


Michelle Wie


Morgan Pressel


Luke Donald


Sam Snead


Peter Jacobsen


Chad Campbell


Fred Funk


Cammilo Villegas


Charles Howell


Justin Rose


Natalie Gulbis


Lorene Ocoha


Antony Kim


Ian Woosnam


David Duval


Severiano Ballesteros




Bernhard’s lateral weight shift to the left, is imperative in any two plane swing to create the shallower downswing and to get the club back down onto plane. There is a big difference between Ernie’s right foot and Bernhard’s, this due to the lateral weight transfer.






Bernhard’s lateral weight shift to the left, is imperative in any two plane swing to create the shallower downswing and to get the club back down onto plane. There is a big difference between Ernie’s right foot and Bernhard’s, this due to the lateral weight transfer.





Bernhard also has the shaft very high through the impact area, which is normal because the upper body has not rotated as much as a one plane players impact position during the same phase of the swing.

Bernhard stands very upright in the impact zone and notice how the shoulders are still mainly square and parallel to the target line, this is due to the lateral hip shift during the first stage of the two plane downswing and as a consequence the upper body moves slightly backwards causing the straightening of the shoulder line and also the lifting of the club shaft above the plane line.




Bernhard has the shaft a touch steeper than the plane angle that was set at address, this is caused by the club head being released more down the target line and totally in keeping with a two plane swing.




Bernhard stands very upright and in keeping with the two plane finish. The right shoulder especially with the irons will be more in line with where the ball was, this would be caused by the more up down up swinging of the arms, which is in direct contrast to the rotational properties of the one plane swing.

A beautifully balanced position from Bernhard above.


Bernhard spent 3 weeks as World Number 1








Felix Eibl EPD Tour player and winner of the Augsburg Open 2010


Eibl displaying an excellent One Plane address position.


Exactly parallel to plane


An excellent position on completion of the backswing, Eibl’s longer arms place the hands a little more outside the right shoulder when compared to Westwood’s.



Fully wound up and in excellent position.





Perfectly parallel to plane midway down







A hard rotation shows the shaft on plane prior to impact





Again here the shaft is perfectly on plane


Felix Eibl


One plane  (backswing on-plane)







Felix Eibl displays the difference between the backswing (green) and the downswing (red), few players stay this close to a perfect plane position.









Some Two Plane Players


Bernhard Langer


Jack Nicklaus


Payne Stewart


Tom Watson


Colin Montgomery


David Toms


Curtis Strange


Fred Couples


Mark O Meara


Nick Faldo


Chris Dimarco


Hale Irwin


Ian Poulter


Hal Sutton


Kenny Perry


Jim Furyk


Mark Calcavecchia


Karie Webb


Nancy Lopez


Nick Price


















Gary Player (after a bad shot) “Golf’s a funny game, isn’t it”.?

Caddie: Aye, but its no meant to be”;


Charles Mickle Golf Academy





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