On Plane by Todd Graves

Skills, such as playing a musical instrument or striking a golf ball are complicated tasks learned through repetition. The brain requires a certain amount of reinforcement and repetition to retain a sub-conscious – non-thinking action that we call “skill”. When it comes to the amount of reinforcement and repetition, there is no “simple” way to give the brain the number of experiences.  If it takes 100,000 repetitions, for example, you must put in the time to give ourselves at least this many experiences.  Even Moe, who I once asked why he kept practicing even at the age of 70, said “To make it (his swing) stronger.

Repetition of a task makes the skill stronger. This might seem a bit discouraging however, studies show that anyone who diligently practices two hours a day, can master any skill in five years. This evidence alone should be enough to get you off of your couch. But when you do, another question arises – “Where do I start?” And the answer to this question is the evolution of simple.

Simple is a term often used by the golf instruction industry to attract customers. Once the customer buys in, however, he often finds himself once again confounded by the amount of effort it really takes to achieve a good golf swing. To me, the golf swing is very simple however, my learning process was not. I put in many hours and I would be lying to you if I said that it was easy. When I asked Moe how he learned to hit a golf ball so well, he answered very profoundly, “hard work, it takes hard work”.

So if you understand at the outset that it is going to take time and effort, you are then ready to realize what it means to be simple. Simple, by this definition is the difference between easy and hard. In other words, there is an easy way to do something and a hard way to do something. The goal, therefore, is to use the easy way of striking a golf ball and in doing so, you will be able to achieve a lasting, pain-free, and maintenance-free way of playing golf. Simple means longevity and when compared to “conventional” methods, just makes sense.

Moe Norman’s golf swing is simple for a number of reasons often discussed in our teaching. It’s simplicity, we call the Single Plane, is founded on common sense – the common sense of starting the club on the same plane as impact. What could be more simple than that?  And because of the “start where you impact” Single Plane, there are stresses and rotations of the conventional swing are no longer necessary. But be careful. This does not mean that there aren’t any rotations in Single Plane Swing which is often the assumption of those who first observe Moe’s swing.

The fact is that there are the perfect amount of rotations in Moe’s swing. What we call bio-mechanical efficiency. Another way to look at bio-mechanical efficiency is the perfect amount of movement to achieve the task. In Moe’s case, the task was moving a golf club in such a way as to strike a golf ball with perfect backspin. When you look at the golf swing from this perspective, your task is to move the club – not strike the ball. From this perspective, simple becomes more easily understood. Simple means efficient.

With this in mind, you can now begin by modeling Moe’s Single Plane Golf swing and allow yourself to refine the movements necessary to achieve Moe like efficiencies. This means a bit of trial and error and much practice. So as I always recommend, start using video analysis to monitor your movements.  This is a sure way to keep on track and short-cut the process of learning a truly Simple Single Plane Golf Swing.