The One Plane Golf Swing: The Fundamentals of the One Plane Backswing

By Tom Hill
July 13, 2016


The backswing takes about one second but you can spend hours practicing and learning about it.

Good instructional videos are available on YouTube that can be watched and re-watched, slowed down and listened to until the teaching concepts that they’re explaining are fully understood. One video that’s been viewed over half a million times is on developing a one plane backswing as part of a one plane golf swing.

Learn more about the One Plane Golf Swing, here:

Instructor Josh Zander, a teaching professional at Stanford University Golf Course, starts out by explaining what the one plane golf swing is, and what it is not.

“My mentor Jim Hardy came up with this term,” Zander explains. “But I think it’s been misinterpreted. A lot of people think it means you’re swinging the club on the same plane the whole time. That would be a very short backswing and you could hit the ball okay doing that, but it just wouldn’t go very far.”

Instead Zander says what Hardy means isn’t about the plane the club is swinging on, it’s about the relationship between your left arm [for a right-handed golfer] and your right shoulder.

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“What we’re trying to do is get to the top of the backswing [into a position] where the left arm is on the same plane as the shoulders so they are both on one plane,” Zander says as he demonstrates both the correct alignment of shoulders and arm, and the incorrect method, or two plane backswing.

To achieve the correct one plane golf swing, Zander breaks it down into two positions and states that the swing begins from a slightly more bent over address of the ball.

“You’ve got to be a little more bent over from the waist. Then, as you swing, you connect your left arm to your chest as you move the club back until it is parallel to the ground and also parallel to the target line.” That is position number one, the club parallel to the ground, the club head pointing 180 degrees from the target.

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Of course in a real one plane golf swing the club will simply pass through this position on its way to the top, but for practice purposes, Zander slows the swing down and stops it right at this spot so the viewer can see and appreciate exactly what position number one looks like.

“Notice that at this position my left arm is across my chest, my right elbow is behind the seam of my shirt, my clubface is in line with my hands and the club is parallel to the ground and the target line,” he explains.

Not only does Zander’s seven-minute video show what position one looks like from both side and frontal views, he briefly teaches a couple of drills that help golfers achieve that position, and he demonstrates the most common mistakes that golfers make while trying for a one plane golf swing.

Then it’s on to position number two.

“Position number two,” Zander continues, “is getting the club and your arms and your posture correctly to the top of the backswing.”

Starting at position number one, Zander illustrates the proper method for bringing the club to the top.


“From this position, what we want to do is reach the clubhead as far back as I can, get my left arm, remember it was my bottom arm, to become my top arm at the top of the backswing.” On the video this happens as Zander flawlessly finishes the backswing and explains, “Now my left arm, shoulders and club are all on the one plane, hence the one plane backswing” that starts the one plane golf swing.

Again he spends a few moments repeating the process so the golfer can view it from the front and side and he shows a drill to help the arms get to their proper places at the top. He also goes through the most common miscues golfers make as they try to finish their backswing.

The video concludes as Zander brings the entire backswing together as one fluid motion demonstrating how the club passes position one on its way to position two.

For golfers interested in the one plane golf swing, Zander’s video provides a good opening tutorial with solid teaching that can be incorporated into your own swing.

It may only take one second, but this video proves the backswing can be studied and practiced for hours.

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