One of the most common swing characteristics I find among golfers is a flat shoulder plane. A flat shoulder plane describes the plane of the shoulders as the golfer turns to the top of their backswing. At address the spine is tilted due to the setup position. In the ideal world the shoulders should move perpendicular to the tilt of the spine on the backswing. A flat should plane is when the shoulders turn on a more horizontal plane than the axis of the original spine angle. A flat shoulder turn can cause the club to be out of position on the backswing and creates a shift in the swing planes on the downswing which reduces the efficiency of the motion. As a result the player will usually have to make compensations on the downswing with the body of hands to square the club face consistently. This can also cause a loss of power in the swing as well as inconsistent ball striking.
A great drill to help with your flat shoulder plane is called “Sweep the Dust Turns.” In this drill, take your driver with the head cover left on and place the shaft across your shoulders in a normal setup position with the head cover side extended longer towards the target. Now you will practice making your turn to your backswing with the focus of keeping the head or “broom” sweeping across the ground as low as possible for as long as possible. You will notice that if you do this correctly, your target shoulder (left for right handed golfers) will point down towards the ground and then go across your body “sweeping the dust” You don’t want to see your shoulder turn flat where the head (broom) is up in the air. Again, this is a great drill to feel that your shoulders turn down and across your body with your lead shoulder to prevent that flat shoulder plane!
Have Fun, Matt Truong