Tuesday, April 6, 2010

How Understanding D-Plane Helped My Game

First, I would like to show a post that Tom Wishon made over at his forum talking about the new groove rule:
The GW equipment editor, Mike Johnson, has been keeping track of the statistics related to the performance and effect of the new scorelines. Through 13 PGA Tour events in 2010 vs 2009 this compares data on the same exact courses.

1. Driving Distance - 279.4 yds (2010) vs 283.7 yds (2009)

2. Driving Accuracy (% of fwys hit) - 61.54% (2010) vs 60.88% (2009)

3. Proximity to the Hole for shots hit from ROUGH from 50-125 yds -
25' 9" (2010) vs 26' 8" (2009)

4. Proximity to the Hole for shots hit from ROUGH from 125-150 yds -
32' 8" (2010) vs 35' 5" (2009)

5. Scrambling (% of up and down) - 30.30% (2010) vs 27.88% (2009)

6. Scoring Average - 71.26 (2010) vs 71.26 (2009)
As you can see, the new groove rule has not had any effect on the game as expected. The driving distance has gone down a bit and the accuracy has stayed the same. However, the weather this winter in the country has been noticeably colder than last year so I think pretty much the new groove rule has not made an impact so far.

Like I stated in a previous post about the new groove rule (http://3jack.blogspot.com/2010/02/square-groove-rule-indicative-of-golfs.html), if the USGA and PGA Tour really wanted to make an impact they would stop the golf balls and drivers from going any further, make the rough heavier and place 'local rules' O.B. stakes on holes so golfers could not miss so badly that they wind up in good position because they actually missed all of the trouble.

I received an e-mail from a blog reader asking specifically how D-Plane/'the new ball flight laws' helped me and how they can help you.

Here's a few examples.

1. A friend I play golf with about once a week usually hits the following shots:

- push draw at the target
- push right of the target
- push fade far right of the target
- pull hook left of the target

This golfer usually hits shots pretty solid and doesn't have an issue with hitting it thin or fat.

If we understand the D-Plane we have a basic idea of what is going on with the clubhead path and clubface at impact.

I think it's safe to say that he doesn't have low point issues. I think his problem is controlling the clubface. The push draw, the straight push, the push fade and the pull hook are good indications that the golfer's path is inside-to-out because you can hit ALL of those shots with an inside-to-out path. But this is an indication that the golfers clubFACE is an issue.

Push draw shows a slightly open face. Straight push is a well open clubface and the push fade is a wide open face. Then the pull draw is a very closed face. One thing you will notice if you talk to enough PGA Tour players is how important it is for them to only have a 1-way miss. If this golfer can figure out how to stop closing the face, they would probably be better off. Then from there they need to 'tighten' how open the clubface gets so they won't hit that push fade.

2. My dad hits a low pull-cut. He hits it pretty consistently, but doesn't have much power partly because the ball goes low and partly because he doesn't generate much clubhead speed.

If my dad wanted to get better, IMO I think he needs to work on his PATH first.


Because his consistent low, pull-cut shows that his clubface is very consistent and closed at impact. The closed face gets the ball starting off left and going low. However, IMO I believe he has almost subconsiously closed the clubface in response to a very outside-to-in path. That's also a big reason why he's not generating enough clubhead speed because his downswing plane is so upright, he doesn't create angular momentum.

What we know about D-Plane, my dad would start seeing progress with his path once he starts hitting pull hooks. Then from there he could start working on the clubface.

3. Lowpoint is pretty easy to understand if it's a problem. It's such an important concept to understand because most golfers see topped and fat shots as 'looking up.' This golfer would probably be accused of 'looking up' by his buddies.

But this pic of him with this swing at impact shows a different story.

The tough part with lowpoint issues is it can be a number of things. This golfer's glaring problem is his clubhead PATH which starts off with his takeaway and backswing, particularly how he disconnects the #4 Pressure Point, which is an extremely important pressure point in the golf swing.

So what about the golfer who misses the sweetspot a lot?

I believe that is usually a PATH problem. You can still hit the sweetspot with a severely closed or opened clubface. Or a better way to put it, if you have ever tried to hit a shot when the ball moves during mid-swing it's extremely hard to hit it on the sweetspot because your are effectively changing your clubpath.

Understanding D-Plane gives the golfer a better chance of making an initial correct prognosis. Something like Trackman is like using an MRI to give an exact diagnosis.



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