What is Flat Shoulder Plane in the Golf Swing?
The correct set up position requires the player to forward bend at the hips, which means the spine is tilted forwards. In an ideal swing, the shoulders turn perpendicular to the tilted spine during the backswing. Flat shoulder plane is when the shoulders turn on a more horizontal plane rather than perpendicular to the spine angle.
Flat shoulder plane during the back-swing will consequently change the downswing sequence and hence significantly reduce the efficiency of the overall golf swing. As a result, the player would make compensations on the downswing in an attempt to square the club face. This can also cause a loss of power in the swing as well as inconsistent ball striking.
If a player has poor shoulder range of movement then this can lead to loss of posture and their shoulders will turn on a more horizontal angle in an attempt to get width and a full turn in the backswing. These limitations are best evaluated with the 90/90 test and the Lat Length Test.
At address, reduced forward tilt of the spine can force the player to move their arms away from their body during the back-swing, which causes flat shoulder plane. This can be due to a lack of spinal mobility, particularly thoracic mobility, or poor swing technique.
The ability to separate the upper body from the lower body and vice versa is imperative for the optimal golf swing to occur. If the player is unable to do this then it can force them to stand up during the back-swing instead of rotating their upper body around their lower body.
If you think you have flat shoulder plane in your golf swing then this is best evaluated by our TPI Physical Screening. So come and see Bonnie (TPI certified) at Bend + Mend in Sydney’s CBD for a Golf Physiotherapy Assessment and TPI Physical Screen.