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Plane geometry made easy -- for serious golfers, anyway

Recently I brought up again the subject of golf's most extraordinary book -- Homer Kelley's "The Golfing Machine," on which the talent of Bobby Clampett was honed. I recommended Homer's magical concept of making an Impact Fix, rehearsing one's impact position and alignments before starting the backswing.

This week I want to touch on the plane of the swing. Kelley stresses that there are not just two planes of action, one upright like Jack Nicklaus and one flat like Lee Trevino, there are a dozen or more planes to use.

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Unfortunately plane geometry is a forbidden subject for a great many of us. At the mere mention of it our personal computers freeze up. We feel we shall never get the hang of it.

However, after much cogitation I have come up with a way of learning all you need to know about the plane of te swing without tears. All you need is a rectangle of plywood, or a hard-cover book, and a pencil.

Holding the rectangle in front of you with one hand, tilt it to the left (if right-handed).Then rotate the pencil on the surface, as if it were a golf club.

You will notice a number of things. 1. You can tilt the wood or the book to any extent you like. 2. You can "aim" the bottom edge, left, right, or straight ahead. 3. However you tilt it, and however you aim it, the pencil sticks to the "plane." When it is parallel to the bottom edge it also points where you are aiming. At all other times one end or the other points to one edge or the other.

This is how ought to be when you swing a golf club. The shaft of the club is your pencil. Choose your own angle of tilt. Aim your imaginary rectangle just like you did the book. (Usually straight when you want a straight shot). As you swing keep the shaft flat on the surface of the imaginary plane, so that when parallel to the ground it is also parallel to the line-of-aim. Or else, at other times, one end of the shaft points somewhere along that line.

Wood, book, and pencil will very quickly give you the idea. It's simple. You may even decide to learn a bit of geometry after all.