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How to Determine The Proper Golf Swing Plane? Enter The Shoulder Tap Test!

The "shoulder tap test" is one of the most useful tests to determine the proper plane of the golf swing.

Determining the proper plane for a swing is often difficult. You are often left wondering if it is too flat, or whether it is too upright?

What's the shoulder tap test? You take your golf swing but as you near the top, loosen the grip enough to let the club keep moving back until it hits you (on your shoulder... duh!).

If it strikes you on the point of your right shoulder, the plane is correct. That's the magic of the shoulder tap test!

If it hits you on the upper arm, the plane is too flat, and if it strikes you on the neck or anywhere between the point of the shoulder and the neck, it is too upright.

If we loosen our grip at the top of the swing and let the club drop until it touches us, we feel it tap us on the point of the right shoulder.

The shoulder tap test establishes the correct plane of the golf swing. If the club taps us nearer our neck, the swing is too upright. If it touches us on the arm below the shoulder point, the plane is too flat.

The position at the top of the backswing is important. If it is reached correctly it means you are halfway through the swing correctly.

It means that now, at least, you are in a position to make a good downswing and hit a good shot.

"The importance of the shoulder tap test is that, if the position of the club face at impact is one side, the speed of the club head at impact is the other."

With most of our students we can tell pretty well, as can any pro, whether a shot will be good or bad just from their position at the top.

The position is not an infallible guarantee that the shot will be either good or bad. But a good shot very often follows a good position and a bad shot a bad position. At least with a good position you are ready to hit a good shot. With a bad position you are not.

The flaws we have turned up so far, and the moves and positions we have taught you in getting to the top of the swing, have dealt mostly with the position of the golf club face.

The grip and the stance did. So did the first move away from the ball, with the early backward wrist break and the retention of the wrist position to the top of the swing.

The magic moves so far have been mostly concerned, in a word, with direction.

And direction is not only half of the long game but perhaps the "bigger" half.

There's not much trouble, as a rule, straight out in front of the tee.

The golf swing taught here, which might be called the Square Face System, produces direction.

We have a student, an elderly but vigorous owner of a sports establishment, who played good golf for years using the old orthodox methods.

He now swears by the magic moves, because, as he says, "I always hit the ball straight. Even when I miss a shot I miss it straight." He uses the shoulder tap test as a guide to his position.

But golf is decidedly a coin with two sides.

The importance of the shoulder tap test is that, if the position of the club face at impact is one side, the speed of the club head at impact is the other.

As we have moved toward the position at the top of the swing we have also gradually become concerned with the speed of the club head.

At the top you have been brought into a position from which you can easily bring the face of the golf club square to the line at impact and bring it with great speed and from the right direction.

The tightness of the grip and of the whole swinging system, the plane of the swing, and the position of the weight — considerably on the right leg — have prepared you to deliver a hard, authoritative swing at the ball.

This is the value of the top-of-the-swing position. Having reached this position, you are well on your way to reducing drastically the number of bad shots you will hit.

The next move, the downswing, is the payoff. What do you think now of the shoulder tap test? Try it. You won't regret it.

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