I get asked a lot about shoulder plane in my lessons.
For me, if you can rotate your shoulders in the correct manner during your swing, you are more than halfway to building an efficient, repeatable golf swing that supports and controls the weight of the clubhead during the motion.
Why is it so important?
The key word here is rotation. You need to rotate the clubhead one way behind you in the backswing, bring it back to the golf ball with speed and power, before rotating into the other side of your body to a controlled finish.
Your left shoulder should be pointing at the target at the beginning of the swing, and your right shoulder at the target at the end of your swing. It stands to reason that the better and more consistent you move your shoulders in relation to the clubhead, the better and more consistent your ball striking will be.
Try standing straight with the clubhead approximately chest height, keep the club at this height and swing it around you, in a baseball style.
For most, this will be a relatively easy motion, because your body is stacked and aligned in one of its natural positions. Your shoulders maintain a ‘T’ position in relation to the rest of your body.
This would work great if the golf ball was played from waist height but, unfortunately, it’s not. As golfers, we complicate this position when we add a hinge at the hips that tilts the upper body forward at set-up in order for the clubhead to sit behind the ball.
This angle can cause a lot of problems and confusion, mainly because of flexibility, mobility and stability questions you are now asking of your body. But you know what? As a rule, the ‘T’ should still try to be maintained for as long as possible. It is just now at a slight angle.
Why keep the ‘T’?
You may find that your shoulders don’t want to turn and maintain their relationship with your body on that angle for whatever reason - technique, flexibility or mobility - so be careful and start with slow, controlled movements.
As the shoulders move away from their natural rotational sequence, you will find that you need to do more and more work with the hands and arms to control the rise of the clubhead to the top.
The natural plane of the club and body introduced at set-up is now being supported and mainly controlled with the hands and arms. You effectively move your swing centre and control away from your body to the outer limits of your swing, where the hands and arms have to work harder than they should.