Todd vs. Bryson (Part 2)

Hello SinglePlaners,

Here is Part 2 of my swing though vs. Bryson DeChambeau.


Bryson: Making a single-plane swing is so easy, it feels like cheating. At address, picture a tilted circle around your body—the bottom runs through the ball and the sides arc through your shoulders. (If it helps, think of your move as a “shoulder-plane swing.”) The goal? Swing your hands, arms and club along the imaginary circle from start to finish (photo, left). That’s it! Years ago, my longtime coach, Mike Schy, built a ring for me at his training center in Madera, Calif., and I’ve spent countless hours in it grooving this simple up-and-down motion—never above or below the shoulder plane. On the course, I like to feel that I’m swinging my hands and arms toward my right shoulder and adding a tinge of wrist hinge and forearm rotation. This way, the club stays in line with my hands and on-plane. Then I just retrace my steps back down to the ball. This image isn’t just for full swings, either. “The circle” works on chips, pitches and bunker shots.

Todd:  Imagination and reality are different.  When you move your arms around your body, they form a natural circle and path we call a plane.  This Natural circle is different on the backswing and downswing because when you rotate into the backswing and then into the downswing, your body is rotationally different. In other words, you have more rotation in your backswing than in your downswing. Therefore, the Circle / Plane must shift to accommodate the body.  Think of Skipping a rock.  The arm moves back in one direction and then forward in another.  The arm is on a Single plane with the body, (not rotating relative to the body) but not on the SAME plane back and forward. 

 Todd: The problem with Bryson’s circle is that it is not Natural and not the Natural path of the arms and hands around the body.  In many ways, attempting to stay on the SAME circle around the body is very unnatural.  The Single Plane should be Natural arm movement around the body.

Here is a video that discusses this:


Bryson: Back in step one, I mentioned the importance of gripping the club in your left palm. That’s non-negotiable. But feel free to make your grip as strong (hands rotated to the right) or weak (rotated to the left) as you like. The single-plane swing can work with either one. What’s critical is that you match the angle of your left wrist at the top and at impact to the angle you establish at address. If your grip is super-strong at setup, with a noticeable cup in your left wrist, the cup had better be there at the top and at impact. If your left wrist goes flat at either position, the ball will hook. If you prefer a weak grip, but allow your left wrist to go from flat at address to cupped at the top or at impact, you’ll probably hit a slice. Yes, I know Dustin Johnson starts with a strong left hand and then bows at the top, but DJ is an athletic freak. You and I aren’t so lucky.

I call this “equivalent left wrist,” and it’s yet another way to eliminate unnecessary swing variables. (Less is more!) To practice, make slow-motion backswings, monitoring your wrist position throughout (you can swing next to a full-length mirror, if it helps) and minimizing your wrist action. I’m not big on effortfully hinging the wrists. Rather than making a conscious swing move, let it happen smoothly and naturally.

Todd: I disagree. Bryson’s “equivalent left wrist” ignores an important variable – the club face.  For a person who is eliminating variables, I would think he would want to eliminate variables here too.  If you are going to match address with impact, the solution is to find the biomechanical easiest way to square the club face from address to impact.  You cannot ignore the club face in this scenario. You also cannot ignore how the hand position affects body motion.   By the way, you don’t see Bryson with a strong grip.  He definitely does understand this at some level.

Todd: Furthermore, Grip size determines where the club rests in your hands.  Gripping in the palm is relative to grip size.  As far as the left hand is concerned, you must align the Lead hand with the club face.  You cannot grip a stong or as weak as you like because the hands work together in unison.  Your body must accommodate your lead hand and arm position at impact. 


Bryson: It’s difficult to make a good single-plane swing if you have a lot of lateral motion. There’s no need to aggressively shift weight back and forth when you swing. But you do need to rotate. Simply put, rotation is your swing’s engine. Just make sure to rotate in place, keeping your head in the same position from address until after impact. Check out the photos at left: I’ve merely rotated my body to the right on the way back, then turned it in the opposite direction into a full finish—all while keeping my weight spread evenly in my feet. Removing lateral weight from your swing is yet another example of eliminating a needless variable.

Rotation has two big benefits over lateral movement. It helps the club swing along the plane established by the shaft’s lie at address. And the more you rotate, the faster you swing, so you make up for speed you may have lost by switching to a palm grip. This swing is just as fast, twice as accurate, and simpler than ever. Congrats. Golf is about to get a lot more fun!

Todd: To discuss Lateral Motion and Rotational motion you need to understand the how the spine works when it is tilted.  I know that sounds mechanical however, Bryson says he bases his swing on Science, so there needs to be discussions about Kinesiology here.

Todd: I agree with the analogy that rotation is the swing’s engine however the lower body must be stable to use the engine.  (You can’t move a car when it is on ice no matter how powerful the engine).  Lateral movement is a part of stability and it occurs because of Rotation.  Again, this sounds complicated and it might be what Bryson is trying to describe but a simple observation of the pelvis movement (Sacrum) you can see in this video.

Lower bod video here:

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