Golf Tips Newsletter
Issue 554 - Wed. April 24th, 2019
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USGTF Class "A" Teaching Professional
WGTF "Top 100" Teacher
IGPA Certified Golf Psychology Coach


If you don't take action, you'll never improve.
Prepare to play your best golf by doing something now!

Tom's Featured Tip: Hula Hoops and Swing Planes
Lesson Comments: What Students Have To Say
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Tom's Featured Tip: Hula Hoops and Swing Planes

For simplicity, all advice on actual swings or drills is provided from a right handed perspective.

The more I learn about the golf swing, the more that I realize it's very personalized to each player.

The solitary exception would be positions and weight distribution at impact, other than that there are a lot of different ways to peel the apple.

The most glaring example of this is the evolution of Tiger's swing to it's present iteration.

I'm going to be addressing Tiger's swing plane change in this article, and how his changes can apply to your swing.

There have been hundreds of articles and several books written on swing plane. I've found some of them to be contradictory as well as confusing, so I'm going to keep my definition real simple.

We all swing our club in a circle, and we angle that circle in a certain way. To keep it simple, think of your swing plane like a large hula hoop.

If you stood the hula hoop on end, straight up and down, that would represent a vertical swing plane. If you swung the club that way, it would be moving like a ferris wheel.

Now think of the hula hoop lying flat on the ground. If you elevated that hula hoop to your chest level and swung the club around your body, we would call that a horizontal swing plane. It would be moving like a merry go round.

The golf swing has a plane that falls somewhere in between a vertical swing plane and a horizontal swing plane. Somewhere between the ferris wheel and the merry go round.

The hula hoop can also turn from side to side to define different attack angles on the ball, such as
  • inside to outside - the angle that produces the most swing speed.
  • down the line - produces less swing speed than inside to outside
  • and outside to inside - produces the least amount of swing speed
I'm not going to dive too deep into these three elements, because I want to address the horizontal and vertical aspects of the swing circle as it applies to Tiger's swing in the present compared to Tiger's swing in the past.

Very early on, Tiger had a swing plane that was more on the vertical side.

Then for most of his career his swing plane became more horizontal than vertical, and that flatter swing plane applied a lot more torque to the back. It also produced an enormous amount of power and speed, and in his prime Tiger was one of the longest hitters on tour, if not the absolute longest.

Now in 2019, Tiger has changed his swing plane to be more vertical to ease the pressure and torque on his repaired back. That switch should have affected his swing speed and power drastically, but it didn't because he has also switched to a lighter shaft. As a result he still cranks his drives out there, just behind the longest hitters but still very long. He stills maintains rotation through the ball, but without the torque on his back in his backswing.

The results spoke for themselves in the Masters, and I hope they speak volumes more as he continues to play well.

So here's the takeaway for us mere mortal golfers.

1) If you are an aging player, or if you are experiencing back pain during or after a round, experiment with a more vertical swing plane. You'll probably need a little more club to cover distances, but that's why we have fourteen clubs in the bag.

I had to do this last year on a golf trip when my back was acting up, and although I didn't like the loss of distance, I scored well because I made the adjustments and took more club for every approach shot.

After all is said and done,the name of the game is the number on the scorecard, not swing style points.

Last year in season I also fell off of my training routine due to an injury , and that contributed to my back problems. I couldn't play two days in a row due to back pain. This winter I trained religiously and it paid off. I'm on vacation in Florida now and have played four days in a row with no pain.

2) So another takeaway is to work out to keep your back healthy. Do whatever it takes to motivate yourself, but just do it.


Love your practice, own your swing, own your health,


Golf Lessons

I conduct lessons at The Plum Creek Driving Range & Practice Facility
there's a link for Plum Creek info here:

Lessons are available for all ages and skill levels, please contact
me - Tom Tucker - at (716) 474 3005 or email me at
for more information.

Outdoor Lessons Details and Rates:

Indoor Lessons Details and Rates:



Plum Creek Driving Range and Simulator  Outdoor range and play indoor golf on any of our 40 Simulator Courses. Call 585-993-0930 or email Mark at to reserve time for simulator play or practice!

Batavia Country Club   (585) 343-7600
Great rates, the best greens in WNY. Golf Digest Four Star rating for public courses to play in New York State.

Tee times online or by phone in season.

FISH FRYS AT BCC and other delicious dinner specials with soup and salad bar - Fridays, 4pm - 9pm

Chestnut Hill Country Club   (585)-547-3613
Only minutes from Buffalo, open to the public.

Tee times online or by phone in season.

All the best,

Tom Tucker
Teaching Pro, Plum Creek Driving Range & Practice Facility
WGTF ' "Top 100 Golf Teacher"
USGTF Class "A" Teaching Professional
IGPA Certified Golf Psychology Coach
Cell: (716) 474-3005

"There are no substitutes in the quest for perfection!"
~ Ben Hogan