Saturday, November 7, 2009

Answering Your D-Plane Questions - Part V

Finishing up with the questions:

4. So, in order to hit it straight, I should just concentrate on 'swinging left or swinging right' the proper amount?

This is just my personal opinion, but and no. The one big mistake people tend to make with the numbers is that they go too extreme with them. You'll get golfers talking about a horizontal plane of +10* or -20*. In reality, decent golfers are more in the range of -3 to +3*. So the first thing I would concentrate on is getting your horizontal plane to a good enough range. The big time over the top golfers will probably have a horizontal plane in the -5* or even further left range. The big time underplane guys will probably have a horizontal plane in the +5* and even further right range. So, work on being able to have a horizontal plane close to 0* from a square stance first.

Then I would work on the flip. Now, technically a golfer could flip and be able to master the D-Plane with the flip and be a much better ball striker than the golfer with the Flat Left Wrist and had poor concepts of the D-Plane.

But, I believe that's something you may see very rarely.

Again, this game is about controlling the clubface the best. Trying to control the clubface time and time again while flipping is a very tall order. A golfer with a FLW can control the face better most of the time and minute changes is where they aim can greatly help them get a better horizontal plane and 'true path.'

I've read about 20 Trackman reports from different golfers, about 80% of those are from 'flippers' and the rest from 'non-flippers.' There's a couple of things I have noticed from viewing these reports:

A. The horizontal plane is usually about the same from shot to shot. So, if a golfer hits say 20 shots and on average his horizontal plane with a 5-iron is say -2* (leftward swinging/'outside-to-in'), you will see most of those swings have a negative horizontal plane and probably right around -2*. You probably will not see many, if any, swings with a positive horizontal plane. If a golfer swings left on average, the overwhelming majority of the time they will swing left with that club.

B. The clubface angle usually varies greatly from shot to shot. A golfer can easily have a clubface angle of say -2* (pointing left) on shot and then on the very next shot have a clubface angle of +3* (pointing right). The better the golfer, the tighter the dispersion of the clubface angles from shot to shot.

C. Flippers have very shallow angle of attacks. The non-flipper will have an angle of attack usually around -4* with a 7-iron. A flipper will likely have an AoA of -1.5* or less with the 7-iron.

The last point to me is very vital, regardless if you're a flipper or a non-flipper. But for the flipper with an angle of attack of -1.5* needs to 'swing left' by -0.75*. That's such a miniscule amount that the likely loss of clubface control is not worth being able to have a horizontal plane closer to the target line. Even still, a non-flipper with say a -4* AoA would need to swing left by -2*, which still isn't a lot to swing left buy. And if they don't and have solid clubface control, they can likely hit a good draw over and over again.

So, get 'on plane' first and then learn to get a FLW at impact and then you can learn about 'swinging left' or 'swinging right.'

5. What do you mean by 'D-Plane is alive and well in putting?'

Basically it's the importance of face angle at impact. Too many golfers get way too involved on stroke path and not enough on face angle. The spin axis doesn't really apply with the putter. Most golfers hit up on the ball with the putter, so that combined with the lack of spin axis means you don't need to worry about swinging left.

Give me a golfer who can read greens, has a good touch and has an accurate putterface angle to the target and I'll show you a good putter, regardless of whose putting stroke method they use.

Like I stated in the first post, this game is about controlling the clubface. That certainly includes the flatstick.

6. How is this information helpful to golfers?

First, knowledge of what really happens can't hurt.

Even the most uncomplicated golfer can understand that the initial ball direction is due to the face angle (85% responsible), and that curvature is due to the 'true path' in relation to the face angle. Having troubles hitting hooks, you usually can figure out at the very basic level what you are doing with the face, the path and even the AoA.

It also helps the golfer what needs to happen in order to hit the ball dead straight. The PGA Tour pros usually hit the ball pretty straight. If they fade it or draw it, usually it's not by much. Amateurs tend to hit much bigger draws and fades. If you understand D-Plane and Trackman, it can enable the golfer of what needs to happen to hit the ball straighter and more accurately.

Furthemore, it can greatly increase a golfer's distance off the tee while maintaining or increasing their accuracy. We now know that in order to 'optimize' driver distance, the golfer needs to hit up on the ball. In Trackman's July 2009 Newsletter, they did a case study on Trackman user and PGA Tour player Kevin Streelman. Streelman went from a -5.6* AoA with a driver to a -1.0* AoA with 12 months of play. This caused him to increase his carry by 23 yards, reduce his spin rate an hit the ball straighter.

Lastly, I think this really helps the better player, particularly the golfer who struggles with big draws and is 'almost there' with their play. The golfer with a lot of shaft lean can be helped as well. It explained to me why I would hit my irons very straight despite having divots that pointed slightly left. Or why the golfer who seems to have a good swing, but hits a big draw and how to minimize that.

I can only hope that these series of posts have answered the questions you may have had.


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