The Importance of Plane and Backswing

Scott Sackett
Director of Instruction
McCormick Ranch Golf Club
Scottsdale, AZ

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Vertical Swing plane is something that has been looked at since the advent of video, V1 and now phones. You can instantly film a swing, draw a swing plane line and immediately have a general idea of where things are at. You can ask any one of my students how much I focus on the initial part of the golf swing because in my almost 30 years of teaching if that part of the plane isn’t good, then you’re likely going to see issues later on.  

Now, with the advent of TrackMan, we have a measurable Vertical Swing Plane number which corresponds nicely. In the picture I have one of my better players and myself working on the initial takeaway. His tendency is to get the golf club going too far on the outside going back and consequently will have the club coming vertically over the plane coming down. For him and most other good players, this results with an effort to route the club on plane late in the downswing. I see the majority of mishits coming from a golf club that is too vertical on the down swing.  

The image progression is top left, top right, bottom left, bottom right. This first move is the absolute key to making anyone’s golf swing. You can see the club is right on the plane line. This sets up all the data variables we talk about during the lesson, Swing Direction, Attack Angle, Vertical Swing Plane, etc. Frame 2: you have a shaft parallel to the original plane line. If you can get positions 1 & 2, you are likely to produce a solid rest of the swing. Frame 3 is almost a mirror image of Frame 2 except on the downswing. This is primarily a result of a good backswing than good downswing mechanics. Frame 4 (the larger image) is impact. Dead square in the center of the face. This shot moved a yard in the air at most. Lastly, you have Frame 5: the follow through. Again, this is a byproduct of the backswing.  You cannot get to this position with focusing heavily on the first few moves of your backswing.  

Bottom line is: If you want straight shots (better TrackMan data, too), better contact and better lines on video, focus on the initial takeaway and next move just past halfway up on the backswing. You’ll see a huge improvement in your ball striking focusing on these two points alone. 

Scott Sackett, GOLF Magazine Top 100 Teacher the past 14 years. Voted as one of Golf Digest’s Best Teacher in the State the past 21 years. Trackman Master Certification. Titleist Certified Club Fitter. Director of Instruction at Park Meadows CC in Park City, Utah and while in Scottsdale teaches private lessons at McCormick Ranch Golf Club and conducts all Scott Sackett Signature Schools at SunRidge Canyon Golf Club. If you would like to reach Scott, contact him through his website at