Friday, November 6, 2009

Answers to Your D-Plane Questions Part I

I've been getting more questions in regards to D-Plane, 'swinging left' and Trackman. I am by no means a Trackman expert, but I'll attempt to answer them here. If I have anything incorrect, please let me know and I'll make the corrections.

First, I want to go over some basic Trackman definitions to answer these questions I've received.

Attack Angle = Angle that the clubhead takes towards the ball. Should be a negative angle for irons. Can be negative or positive for the driver since the ball is teed up.

Face Angle = Angle of the clubface at impact.

Horizontal Swing Plane = The 'path' of the club (inside-to-out, outside-to-in, square)

Club Path = Factors in Angle of Attack and the Horizontal Swing Plane. This is also called 'true path.' You ideally want your 'true path' close to zero. But it's not just getting the Horizontal swing plane to zero, it's also getting the horizontal swing plane to 'match' the angle of attack. I will go over this a bit more later in the post.

When using Trackman, you will see some negative and positive numbers for these categories. The general rule of thumb is that negative means to the left of the target and positive means to the right of the target.

Now...let's talk about the 'new ball flight laws' according to D-Plane.

INITIAL DIRECTION OF BALL FLIGHT = About 85% dependent on the clubface angle at impact. The other 15% is from the 'true path.'

CURVATURE OF BALL FLIGHT = Due to the true path in relation to the clubface angle at impact.

So, if a golfer has a clubface angle of 0.0* at impact, but a path of 5*, the ball will actually start out slightly to the right of the target (remember, face angle is 85% responsible, but path is 15% responsible) and then will draw to some degree. I haven't worked with Trackman enough to know if the ball will draw back to the target or left of the target, but it will draw.

However, I can have a clubface that is open, say 3* at impact and still hit a draw if the path is 5* (to the right). That's because in order to hit some sort of draw, the clubface has to be closed to the path on some level at impact. Conversely, to hit some sort of fade, the clubface must be open to the path at impact to some level.

Thus, if you are hitting a hook that starts left, then get the clubface to open up because you can hit a leftward starting hook with an open clubface. Conversely, you can't hit that big block slice with a closed face at impact.

Think about it for a second. Those duck hooks always go very low. That's because the clubface is very closed and the clubface gets de-lofted. With the block slice, the ball almost always goes very high because the open clubface adds loft to the club. Basically the clubface with a duck hook is so closed that a pretty good swing path will cause any ball to hook.

In other words, CONTROL THE FACE.

That's what really D-Plane is about. Control the face better and you will play better. And I believe that in any golf tournament, the winner usually controls the clubface the best for that tournament. Not only for the driver and irons, but for the putter as well. Remember, D-Plane is alive and well in putting.



Anonymous said...

New? I'd like to know when the word 'New' was introduced for a concept that's is old as Golf.

So, the net result is control the clubface and then you'll play better golf? So, a -10* path and +7* face angle is ok if the ball goes straight? What about distance? I suppose that in 'Trackmans' World that distance control doesn't matter. Man, I'd like to play on that Golf Course. LOL.

Anonymous said...

if face is square to target line at impact and path is in/out 5 deg then the ball should curve so that it finishes to the left of the target line.

John Graham said...


The easiest way to remember about curve is (assuming solid contact) any time the face is half the path, you will get a ball that lands near the target. You can draw the logical relationships based on that.

10 left with a face 7 right is not a straight ball. Why would you take a shot at someone that stated at the beginning he was trying to help people. How does your comment help anyone? Attacking a person and piece of information doesn't help the process.

Anonymous said...


There's no attack. Is asking a question an attack?

To draw or fade the ball, will you be teaching 2 different clubface alignments with 2 different clubhead paths? Or, will you show someone simply how to rotate the plane line?

Rich H. said...

First, we need to establish whether you're talking about 'true path' or the 'horizontal plane.' It's important to note that 'true path' is basically a calculation. Horizontal plane is the traditional meaning of 'club path' (aka inside-to-out, outside-to-in, square, etc).

True Path is basically a calculation taking into account of the horizontal plane and the AoA.

If somebody had a horizontal plane (the tradition meaning of 'club path') of -10* and a face angle of +7*, it would probably be impossible for the golfer to hit the ball straight. In order to do so, they would need an AoA of -20* which is ridiculously steep. I don't think a golfer can legitimately have an AoA of -20*, even with a Lob Wedge.

Now, if you were talking about 'true path' and that the 'true path' was at -10* with a clubface of +7*, then the golfer would likely hit a shank or a gigantic push slice that would be found in the neighboring county.

Still, those are very extreme numbers. In the upcoming posts, I will explain more what the numbers are really like.

Basically the correct way to go about 'swinging left' or 'swinging right' is you just rotate the plane line and you rotate it very slightly.