This is the most important thing in both the golf swing in general and the Zar Point Address approach itself.
I am sure you know about the swing plane from various sources – and invariably they all teach you how to GET on the correct plane.
Guess what – with the Zar Point Address you ARE on the correct plane right from the get-go.
It automatically puts you on the correct Swing Plane because your HANDS and ARMS are ALREADY ON that plane, rather than starting with you shaft and arms at an angle, trying to "somehow find" the correct plane later on the back swing.
If you use the traditional Setup Point Address known for the last 6 centuries, you can get on the plane at earliest at the 9 o’clock position – at this point the butt of you club should point toward the ball- and the shaft and your left arm should be on the SAME PLANE with the ball. See the Plane Definition discussions later in this chapter.
Before reaching that point, your efforts are concentrated on making a “wide” and “one piece takeaway”, extending your arms in order to correct the inconvenient position at the start where your arms and the shaft are at a substantial angle, with your arms “hanging down toward the ground” as your teacher has probably told you.
With the Zar Point Address there is nothing to correct since you are on plane immediately, even before making any movement.
You arms and the shaft are on the plane that passes through your shoulders and the ball, exactly as Ben Hogan describes it in his classic “Five Lessons” book.
Moving everything on plane is probably the single most important thing for delivering a synchronized powerful blow at the point of impact – everything OUTSIDE the swing pane is basically a wasted effort.
The most important difference between the pros and the amateurs is the swinging on plane – that’s why the power of the pros seams to be so easy and effortless (well, so SOME of them actually).
Effortless - because of no wasted effort – is the key. Everything is working toward the common goal – reaching the peak at the point of impact. As we will see later, most of the PGA tour professionals including top-notch champions and former “#1 in the World” players are actually FAILING in their effort to swing on plane, as strange as it sounds.
The key to that “no waste” is to START on plane from address – the Zar Point Address that is. The position itself engenders easy and natural way to keep everything on plane as we will see in “The Execution” chapter. If you are outside the plane, then the natural body-reaction is to “overdo” the “compensatory move” toward the other side – just like it happens with the “coming over the top” problem.
Here is Fred Funk, the #1 in accuracy with the driver states:
“I just try to return the club back on the same plane it was on the backswing”.
The problem is that he does not START on plane to begin with - he has to first PUT it on plane somewhere half-way to the top of the back swing.
Here is what the king of the Golf Swing Mechanics Nick Faldo states as the key points of his swing:
- “Good Setup allows you to return the club to the same square position it was at address”.
- "That's why I work so hard on setting the club on plane ... "
- "A good downswing is very much a reflexive action…"
Note how all these key points automatically follow from the correct new Zar Point Fundamentals rather than something you have to think about and act upon. Nick is certainly correct (as usual) saying “I work so hard on setting the club on plane ... " … when he starts from the old Setup Point Address, that is.
Hard work is definitely needed in golf, but we have to eliminate the unnecessary hard work and concentrate on what must be mastered.
Think for a moment how exactly this plane isdefined. WHAT is it specifically, and HOW can you “draw” it geometrically! And HOW is it established?
Let’s clarify a couple of definitions first. We will actually focus on 3 things – the Target Line, the Swing line, and the Effective Target Line.
1) The TARGET LINE
It is the line on the ground drawn from the ball to your Final target – like the flag on an approach shot, for example.
2) The SWING LINE
It is the line on the ground “drawn by your club” as it swings through the ball - the line of the divot that is. It is tangent to the curvature of the swing, be it a circle, an ellipse, or some crazy curve. You have heard different people call it different names, like “the line where you want the ball to start”, or “the line of the initial flight”, or … whatever. The real name of it is simple – the SWING LINE. And without the definition of swing line it is impossible to define the swing plane, as we will see real soon.
The ball always starts on the swing line and always ends on the target line, provided at impact your clubface is perpendicular to the target line as it always should be – this is the case with any shot, be it a draw, a fade, a lob, send, straight etc.
In fact, it is also the case with your ERRANT shots – the horrific slices and hooks you manage to “achieve” much to your surprise. You simply have your clubface pointing there at impact.
The bigger the angle between the target and the swing line, the bigger the side spin of the ball and from there the bigger the drift. The side effect of making that angle bigger is that you effectively increase the loft of the club a lot – that’s why you can get the ball above the tree in front of you with a well-executed lob shot. Note that contrary to what some people may have told you, you do NOT open the clubface – you increase the angle between the swing line and the target line while certainly keeping the clubface pointing to the final target – that is why it LOOKS open.
If you really what to “open” your clubface, you actually want to PURPOSFULLY change the target itself - due to some wind conditions, tilted target spot, etc. That is another matter which doesn’t defeat the rule.
If you actually hit from hardpan, bad lie, or from the rough, you will have your clubface open for yet a different reason – to pre-compensate for the turn of the toe of the club at impact. This doesn’t defeat the rule either.
3) The EFFECTIVE TARGET LINE
Now you see why your powerful tee shot ends up at the airport near-by, rather than close to the fairway, which was your fuzzy target… Your swing line was straight down the fairway, but your EFFECTIVE TARGET LINE (which is perpendicular to your clubface at impact), was pointing towards that private jet on the other side of the fence.
I often use the association of your clubface being the eye of a laser-beam device with which you have to light the target – where the laser-beam points, that is where the actual effective target line is.
Before addressing the issue of defining the Swing Plane, let us also point out that whatever the definition is, it should ULTIMATELY FIX the plane – it is impossible to have a correct definition, yet being able to draw 2 or more planes that meet the definition.
There are many definitions that you have heard of, all of them wrong. You can easily make the test making above and see for yourself – if you can make 2 planes under the same definition, it’s no good.
Many golfers (including PRO-teachers inspired by Ben Hogan!) think that the plane is established by the “glass plane” resting on your shoulders passing through the ball. While this is the BEST definition of all the wrong definitions (as strange as it may sound), it depends on the ALIGNMENT of your shoulders. So if I tilt or twist my shoulders to open or close them, everything is ruined. I can make as many different planes as I want just by tilting and twisting my shoulder line … and this is not good.
Others think that it is the plane established by your left straight arm at 9 o’clock on the back swing and the ball. It looks “plausible”, but again I can turn my arm in any direction and produce as many planes as I want. Not good.
Yet others think that it is the plane established by your left straight arm at 9 o’clock on the back swing and the shaft. Sounds good too … but I can produce as many planes as I want by tilting the shaft the way I please… Not good again.
So now that we know how to judge, let’s have a look at the real definition – the one that establishes THE ONE and ONLY plane. The plane is established by:
The straight line of your left arm running down as a continuation of the shaft toward the ball at the Zar Point Address,
The Swing Line, crossing the shaft at the ball!!!
Now you can turn and tilt your shoulders in ANY way you want, yet staying disabled from producing another plane. You are just STUCK there from the very beginning of the Zar Point Address. Neither the shoulders nor the angle between shaft and left arm are involved in the definition of the swing plane!
You certainly understand that this definition is an “inconvenient truth” for the old fashioned address - it just “doesn’t fit the bill” since you can not see that plane from the position of your hanging hands and “the stick between your legs”. It is a miserable picture to watch and the cause of tons of mistakes…
Not only you cannot see the plane, but you have to actually blindly try to find it on the backswing – that is why Nick Faldo correctly states “I work so hard on setting the club on plane ...”. It’s just not easy even for a magician like Nick, let alone you and me. Now the club is set on plane from the start!
If you start with the Zar Point Address, everything naturally falls into place. You ARE already on plane and from there you “slide” the shaft back and up, rotating around your left shoulder and left hip as you transfer the weight back – in a natural and unforced one-piece-takeaway. No need to even think about it.
It is important to know that it is the same definition of Swing Plane that the Iron Byronactually uses without even knowing it. The lateral movement is ignored since it’s not supposed to change the plane – it just moves the arms-shaft combo through the plane in order to create a force toward the target. Armed with this definition, you can now actually “draw” the plane geometrically. Remember:
____Left arm through the shaft to the ball, crossed with the Swing Line._____
As we mentioned in the beginning of the section, much to your surprise the majority of the PGA players does NOT swing on plane. And as we will see, this means wasting substantial power and length.
Let’s take Vijay as an example – using Jim Furik as a tour-payer not being on plane would be too easy of a task, with all due respect to Jim and his remarkable results. Vijay is a classical example of a top-notch player (not that Jim Furik isn’t) wasting his power in vain by getting OFF plane at many different points, as you will see on the pictures below.
Let’s see why it is not only VISUALLY ridiculous to get off plane, but also very important from a couple of golf perspectives:
From POWER point of view;
From DIRECTION control point of view.
Every move in which the shaft and your left arm get off plane is essentially wobbling.
It looks like a “twisted on 8” wheel of a car – you know how it wobbles, slows the speed, and hampers following the correct direction. Worse yet, you are constantly and desperately trying to get back on plane, thus losing even more energy and direction control – it’s just a snowballing process.
Just try to imagine how Iron Byron would look like if you actually twist its wheel “like an 8” – that is how all these respected golfers look like under a careful examination – a “twisted Iron Byron”, wobbling the club on the way towards the ball.