One of the best things about golf is that there are so many unique ways to swing the club. There’s no exact “right” way to swing, and every player on the course employs a slightly different method to strike the ball. Everyone has something unique within their swing mechanics. Each golfer has to discover the type of swing that will allow them to achieve their maximum potential on the course and for some of us, that’s flat golf swings.
As you’re sorting out your swing, it’s crucial to contemplate what sort of plane you would like to use in delivering the clubface to the golf ball. In golf, the “plane” is the angle of the clubface during the swing. A swing with a steep plane has the club going high in the air through the backswing. On the other hand, a “flat” plane keeps the club lower to the turf. Let’s take a look and examine the benefits and drawbacks of employing a flat golf swing.
To be sure, you already have a swing plane of some kind going on throughout your swing – whether you recognize it or not. Swing plane is one of the facets within the golf swing that doesn’t change too much between shots. So, it becomes a question of whether or not you ought to make a change to a flat swing plane at all. Making any swing change is difficult, so you should only switch to a flatter swing if you’re confident that there will be a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
This type of decision should be weighed carefully before put into action. Many golfers alter their swings out of sheer frustration. While occasional bouts of annoyance are understandable, you will certainly not improve your game by making rushed changes to your swing technique. Really consider the following information before deciding if this will help you improve on the course. Many great golfers on tour use a flat swing – although an upright swing is far more common. There really is no right or wrong with this. There’s just a swing plane that will work best for you. Let’s consider when and why a flat swing might be a good option.
Advantages of a Flat Golf Swings
It doesn’t make sense to move to a flat swing if it’s not going to translate into a dramatic improvement in your performance on the course. Therefore, you should make sure that it’s really what’s best for you before committing your time and energy to make this transition. Let’s look at a couple of the benefits that come with employing a flatter swing. There are also some very obvious disadvantages to consider, but we will come to those soon enough. For now, let’s check out what you may stand to gain if you opt to flatten your swing.
1) Cleaner contact from good lies
Contacting the ball through impact with a flatter clubface angle makes it easier to strike the ball pure. Hitting the ball cleanly is key to playing good golf.
Once you start hitting the ball crisply, you’ll be able to move it predictable yardages frequently, and you’ll be much more likely to keep your ball out of trouble as a result.
If you’re a player who has been frustrated over the years by an inability to strike the ball, then a flatter swing may well be worth looking into.
2) More height on the golf ball
Many amateur golfers struggle to generate enough height on their shots to stop the ball quickly when it lands. By employing a flat swing, you can get the ball up into the air without needing a super-fast swing speed.
A steeper swing can indeed cause a high ball flight, but that only happens if you can create a high enough backspin rate – and impressive swing speed is required to make that happen.
If you lack the swing speed to get higher backspin rates, think about using a flatter swing. This will help you launch your ball higher with every club.
3) Whole-body engagement
An upright swing predominantly uses your arms to swing the golf club back and through the golf ball. There’s not necessarily anything wrong with this arm-centric swing, but it seldom works for shorter golfers.
If you are not tall or unusually strong, you’ll find that your swing lacks speed and power. Therefore, by keeping your swing plane flatter, you ought to be able to generate more power, working your whole body throughout your rotation.
It’s easier to employ your entire body with a flatter swing, So the swing speed you need to produce through impact will be easier to attain.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach in golf. Some players actually find that their ball flight gets lower once they switch to a flatter swing. Every golfer is unique, and so your experience is going to be individual to you. Practice and see what works for your game.
Disadvantages of a Flat Golf Swings
There is nothing you’ll do in golf that’s all upside and no downside. Every decision you make is a compromise, so you’ll always be gaining something at the expense of something else; This is just a fact, both in golf and life.
So you need to think very carefully about the pros and cons of any change you make to your swing before committing to it. The last thing you want is to train the wrong muscle memory and end up having to fix new bad habits later on.
1) Decreased backspin
Backspin, with iron shots, is generated when you hit down on the golf ball.
By employing a flat swing plane, you will not be hitting down on the ball as aggressively as a player using a steeper swing. With that said, you can certainly still hit down on the ball with a flatter swing, and it’s possible to get a fair amount of spin. However, if you play somewhere that has particularly hard greens requiring high spin rates in order to stop the ball, then you’ll find that a steeper swing is going to be necessary.
2) More trouble from the rough
As your clubface impacts the ball, it’ll catch several blades of grass behind the ball before making contact, especially when you find yourself in the rough. This interference slows the clubhead, and it can also cause the clubface to open or close before you strike the ball. When employing a flat angle of attack, you’re likely to catch even more of the grass than you might with a steep swing path. So, you may struggle to play quality shots from the rough if you opt to use a flat swing. However, you can compensate for this by creating a steeper swing when needed or if you discover your ball is in the deep rough. Ideally, you’ll have two swing paths – one for your regular shots and a steeper swing when your ball is buried.
3) Increased difficulty with approach shots
Generally, most players execute better on short shots when employing a steeper swing plane. Specifically, pitch and chip shots often turn out better by bringing the clubhead down and through the ball more aggressively, and that isn’t the path you will be creating if you transition to a flatter swing. While it’s absolutely possible to put a steep swing on your short shots and a flatter swing on your full swings, flipping back and forth between the two will take skill and a good deal of practice. Unless you’re already a player with a really robust and dependable short game, this aspect of the game can be a bit of a drag.
4) More rotation is needed
Depending on your physical shape and agility, this final drawback may not even be an issue for you. If you’re someone with a high degree of flexibility in your lower back and your legs, you should have no problem at all making an excellent rotation through the ball. But, if flexibility is a problem for you, then employing a flat swing might be a bit more of a challenge, and it may not be the best choice for you. You’ve got to execute an excellent shoulder rotation and move the club back far enough to generate some power. Golfers who can’t make this pronounced shoulder turn will likely want to stay with a steeper swing in order to form the angle of attack, which is needed for them to hit the ball with power and generate distance.
Do not be frightened by the number of potential downsides. It’s definitely possible to golf very well with a flat swing, and it’s going to be up to you to determine if a flat swing will be the best choice for your individual game. As always, until you get out on the range, you really won’t know for sure. So get out there, put the time in, and, most importantly, have fun.
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If you did enjoy this guide to flat golf swings we hope you check out some of our others. Like our guides to slices in golf or our guide to hitting out of tight lies.