What Is a Single Plane Golf Swing? Pros & Cons of a Single Plane Swing
Is your swing in trouble and making you contemplate the game?
Are you looking for a new way to swing the golf club and become a more consistent player? Do you want a simpler method without endless instructional content that leads you feeling more confused than ever?
If so, you might benefit from developing a single plane golf swing.
This unique method helped Moe Norman and other players find more consistency in a non-traditional manner. Some players swear by this system while others think it doesn’t deserve all the hype it’s received in the golf world.
Before you go changing your swing, we’ll break down what is the single plane swing, how to adjust your setup/swing, and the biggest pros/cons to switching. Now, let’s get into this method to see if it can help your game.
Single Plane Golf Swing 101
The single plane golf swing, often referred to as the one plane swing, is a unique way to swing the golf club. The system became popular with Moe Norman – a Canadian golfer who was known as one of the best ball strikers of all time. His swing was very different from most players at the time (and still today). He definitely got some weird looks for his self-taught swing but it worked incredibly well for him.
Moe was a charismatic individual and had no problem “swinging his swing.” In fact, Tiger Woods once said, “Only two players have ever truly owned their swings — Moe Norman and Ben Hogan. I want to own mine.”
Needless to say, if Tiger Woods, one of the greatest players of all time, has praise for Moe it’s saying something. During his long career Moe had 17 holes in one, had multiple rounds shooting 59s, and dominated Canadian golf. After having so much success, he turned to teaching as well.
According to Moe Norman’s website, “During one of his clinics, Moe hit over 1,500 drivers in a little over seven hours, all of which where within 15 yards of one another. It was this accuracy that eventually earned Moe Norman the respect and notoriety that true genius deserves.”
While he passed away in 2004, he’s still a legend in the golf world. His self-taught swing became the one plane swing and is still taught to this day through Todd Graves and the Graves Golf Academy.
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Understanding the Single Plane Golf Swing Method
Before teaching you how to test out a single plane golf swing, let’s first understand the difference from a conventional golf swing. The premise is that there are two ways to swing the golf club – single plane or two-plane swing aka conventional. The two plane swing is the much more common way and likely how you swing the golf club now and the majority of golfers swing too.
A one plane swing is different from a conventional swing in almost every aspect. The biggest change isn’t the swing itself but the address position.
In a one plane swing, you set up in the same position in which you hit the ball at impact.
The shaft position mirrors the club shaft at impact, coining the term “single plane.” This is the secret of Moe’s swing and it’s supposed to make it easier for a player to get back to the same position at impact.
Your grip, stance, shoulders, and other parts of the setup might need to change as well (more on that in a second).
Benefits of a One Plane Swing
So, why should you even bother with this method? Is it really worth the hassle of changing your golf swing?
Some benefits of the one-plane golf swing include:
- A more repeatable golf swing. Every golfer wants more consistency and this style of swing makes it easier to repeat once you learn the system. There is a clear, easy to follow system so you can always look at one of the checkpoints to make sure your swing is in the correct positions.
- Less lower body movement. With fewer moving parts, it’s easier for senior golfers to still generate power and create a more consistent swing. Plus, it can make it easier to hit a draw which can also help increase distance.
- Easier on your back, making it a great idea for seniors or players with back issues. Let’s face it, golf is not easy on your body and back issues have ruined many golfers careers. This method has less movement which should help alleviate back injuries and future injuries.
Problems With a Single Plane Golf Swing
While there are some benefits, it’s important to outline the downside of the one plane swing too. Most golf instructors do not teach this swing and instead prefer a conventional golf swing that focuses on each player’s natural abilities. This is how I learned the game and have worked with five different instructors in 25 years… none have ever suggested this unique swing.
A lot of golf teachers don’t agree with this method and have some doubts about the effectiveness including:
- Difficult to generate power and distance.
- Leads to an in to in swing which can create big misses and widen shot dispersion.
- The swing flattens out too much making it nearly impossible to release the club which results in right misses. A miss that most golfers struggle with already and can compound current swing issues.
Plus, don’t forget that some of the best players in the world have all used two plane swings. These include golfers like Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, and other legends of the game. If it was so effective, wouldn’t they have done it too?
How to Use Single Plane Golf Swing
If the pros outweigh the cons and you’re ready to try out a new swing, I want to help you get started. I will say if you’re swinging well, don’t try this style of swing just for fun though. Sometimes a swing change this drastic is hard to bounce back from and can have negative effects on your game long-term.
But if you’re 100% sure and ready to swing like Moe Norman, here’s what you need to do.
Change Your Address Position
The biggest change you will see with the one plane swing is the setup. Moe Norman and other one plane advocates are set up drastically differently to the golf ball than traditional players.
If you like to learn via videos, the below YouTube video shows the POV from a single plane setup. Let’s first start with how you hold the golf club.
Adjusting Your Grip
Depending on how you currently grip the club, you might need to change or you can keep it the same. Moe Norman used two different types of grips in his career; he originally started with an overlapping grip which is quite traditional in today’s golf world. Eventually, he changed to a 10 finger grip position but out of necessity, not because it led to better golf.
It’s been reported he only made this grip change because of his sponsor, Natural Golf, in order to promote their large grips. Which makes it a little confusing if you think you need to try a very unorthodox, 10 finger grip.
Teachers of the one plane advocate a standard, overlapping grip, not a 10 finger one that Moe developed later in his career.
Stance and Posture
Once your grip is secure, the next noticeable change from a two plane swing is the stance and posture. First, your feet need to be wider than shoulder width apart to make this system work properly (regardless of which club you’re hitting).
Then, expert coach Todd Graves has said there must be two lines to make for the one plane system to work properly. First, the shaft needs to align with the lead arm due to the proper tilt of the body. The other line is created by the club and the arm from a down the line view.
Finally, make sure you tilt your upper body, so your sternum is behind the golf ball. Getting this right will allow the rest of the system to work as you’re already in the impact position during set up.
Swing Plane: Backswing and Downswing
During your backswing, maintain the side bend from address. You won’t rotate around the body as much as you do in a conventional two plane swing.
From the top of your swing, the first move down is to get your weight off your lead foot and return the club to its impact plane. But here’s the kicker, your back foot remains planted, and your back knee flexed toward the target.
Lastly, you need to stay in your posture (or as Todd Graves teaches, “stay in your bends”) throughout the swing. It will feel like your head stays down longer than a normal swing. It’s important to note the back foot remains down the entire swing.
To learn more about this swing system, make sure to check out Todd Graves YouTube channel as he has tons of tutorials.
Keep reading to answer some of your most burning questions about the one plane golf swing.
Is a single plane golf swing better for golfers?
If you look at the majority of the golf population they are using a two plane, conventional swing. So I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily better but more of an alternative for certain types of golfers.
If I had to pick which style to teach a new golfer (especially a junior golfer) I’d opt for the two plane swing. It’s much more reliable and caters to the player’s natural ability. If you learn the eight “P’s” (aka positions) in the golf swing it will also make it easy to analyze your swing in each position.
Does DeChambeau use a single plane swing?
Bryson DeChambeau has more of a single plane swing than a conventional move. It’s helped him become one of the most dominant names in golf and even led to winning the 2020 US Open.
In a 2017 Golf.com article here’s what Bryson said about his single swing plane. “Anyone can make a good swing. The trick is repeating it. That’s why I spent a decade ridding my motion of needless movements.
Why? Because simplicity creates consistency! My biggest epiphany: You don’t have to “drop down” in the transition—two swing planes is one too many. You’ll hit it better using one plane, back and through.”
Is a single plane swing easier on your back?
Yes, due to the changes in your posture it can help ease back pain and allow you to play better golf. This is why it’s such a popular teaching technique among older golfers who might have some back issues and restrict swing movement.
Does Tiger Woods use a single plane swing?
No, Tiger Woods does not have a single plane swing. His takeaway, backswing, and downswing are a two plane golf swing that is common among most PGA Tour golfers.
Tiger has changed his swing multiple times in his career and worked with several coaches as he’s battled a lot of injuries. Despite his laundry list of injuries it’s very unlikely one of the best golfers of all time will switch his swing to a one plane.
The single plane method is not for every type of player.
Changing your swing from a conventional two plane to a one plane will take time and likely an awkward adjustment period. But if you’re in need of changing things up and want to alleviate back issues, this could be the solution for you.
While there are some questions on its effectiveness, what I like about this swing is there is a system to follow. A certain set of checkpoints makes it easy to self-correct your swing and not have to hire a golf instructor when things aren’t going well.
To learn more about this swing style, make sure to read the book, The Single Plane Golf Swing by Todd Graves.
Have you tried a one plane swing? If so, what was your reaction to it?
Let us know in the comments below!