My Journey to Single Plane

Hey Everybody,

My name is Reed Howard.  I have have been working with Todd for over a year and now feel close enough to my end result to talk about the swing and the process I’ve gone through without leading people down an incorrect path.  I am a professional golfer and ever since I became a true student of the game I became obsessed with obtaining a single plane swing.

While all of you know that the foundation of the single plane fundamentals are based on Moe Norman’s swing, Moe Norman is not the only golfer in history to be able to have the same angle of attack at impact as you have at address.  The others are Ben Hogan, Lee Trevino, Joe Durant, young Gary Player and while its done in a unique way even Sergio Garcia.    It is a rare quality that very few have, but all of the players including Moe Norman that have a single plane swing have one very important similarity; they are masters of ball striking and they dominate ball striking statistics.

Through studying swings I saw this rare similarity between all of these great ball strikers and decided that if I was going to make it as a professional golfer at the highest level, I would need to acquire this advantage.  So I did what many great golfers have done in the past; I experimented without a clue of what I was doing.  I was first trying to emulate the great Ben Hogan.  I worked very hard and was able to get aspects similar but that key position, through impact, wasn’t even close.  I tried to emulate aspects of Lee Trevino.  Failed.  And of course as a final try I attempted to emulate Moe Norman.  While I was able to get the club to return to the original plane I was severely delofting the club and couldn’t hit it properly.  I literally gave up on the idea I had spent 4 years working on and returned working with a great coach on the conventional golf swing.

While I did play better I wasn’t about to make the PGA tour and I still knew that the single plane swing had led to the most dominant ball strikers in the world.  One day I saw a video of Todd Graves’s golf swing and his swing had all the key aspects that I had been trying to acquire for 4 years.

Todd Graves and Reed Howard
Todd Graves working with Reed Howard

GGA-OKC-0484.jpg

In my history, every person who had these aspects had them naturally without learning to change there impact positions.  Eventually I called Todd and “interrogated” him on his swing and the different results he had gotten.  Eventually I was on a plane to OKC.  I learned within 1 hour why my attempts in the past had failed and what I needed to do in order to achieve a functional single plane swing.  While I felt good about what I needed to do, executing change is a difficult and sometimes creative task.  Todd had changed himself into a single plane swing golfer.  While we are a similar build and size my swing was different from his swing which means that even though we understood the destination, the journey to a functional single plane swing was different for me than it was for him.  Certain things I may have picked up quickly and others felt more foreign than swinging a baseball bat.

It has been a 1 1/2 years and I have finally gotten to a functional single plane swing.  My tournaments of late have been good.  I have made about half of my cuts.  My ball striking goes in streaks of being very dominant and then something gets off and I’ll struggle.  Over the last few months I have learned how to hold the more dominant stretches for longer and believe that I have or will very shortly achieve a place where I hardly ever hit a bad shot.  It will be either decent or great depending on my judgment of distance, wind, and strike of the ball.

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If I do get there, which I believe I am almost there, it will be difficult for anyone to beat me over 18 holes let alone 72.  I just wanted to write this to explain my story and introduce myself to everybody.  Todd has given me permission to tell my story and give updates as I go through tournaments and to work my way to the PGA tour.  I hope this little entry wasn’t to boring for anybody.  I am playing a little 1 day event in Chino, CA on Thursday  which I will be prepped for and have a few 3 day tournaments coming up over the coming weeks. I will be making periodic updates with the things I am working on, with hopefully some good results.

All the best,

Reed

 

Comments

8 comments on “My Journey to Single Plane”
  1. Robert POlydys says:

    Doesn’t sound like an easy to learn swing – here is a professional after a year and a half and still no real success (for a Professional). If it takes 1 1/2 yrs and at what cost (time and $)working directly with Graves what can I expect?

    Sent from my iPad

    >

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    1. Todd Graves says:

      Robert,

      Most people are trying to fix their swings. I didn’t do that with Reed. Reed and I had a game plan. We decided to build his swing from the ground up. We started over basically.We spent a year rebuilding and he didn’t play a tournament. Now he is ready to take it to the course and compete – and that is an entirely new learning process. If you haven’t played tournaments, you won’t understand that statement.

      One year is a very short period of time to do what Reed has accomplished. If you expect to master (learn with any proficiency) anything in less than a year, I would consider you inhuman. I have seen people improve dramatically in one lesson but never master anything. Mastery takes time. I would be lying if I said anything else.

      Reed has done a masterful job. He is an amazing student – and that is why he will have success.

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  2. Dave Kempema says:

    Thank you for sharing your story Reed. I would love to contiue hearing about your progress. Weather professional or recreational , we are all heading down the same path to acheive excellence in our SPS.
    I just love learning from Todd and Tim and GGA don’t you.
    Wish you sucess.
    Dave

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  3. Rich Hoehlein says:

    Thanks for sharing your experience with the single plane swing so far, Reed. Will look forward to your periodic updates on studying with Todd and your tournament play.

    I think you have found absolutely the master teacher of the swing! Best of luck in the future (but as Todd reminds those of us who are true believers, the more you practice, the luckier one gets!)

    Rich

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  4. Steve Ritchie says:

    Thanks Reed! Appreciate your story as it gives me hope that one day soon I can also state that I have attained the swing that Moe had. I’ve been learning the SPS now for about a year now and I’m really close to attaining my swing goals. I recently watched and practice all of our previous Coaching program lessons. I did them for hours on end, including multiple mirrors and of course viedo to ensure real matches feel. I played only 9 holes the next day and from my first 255 yard drive on number 1, dead straight and right in the middle of the fairway, I had my best ball striking 9 holes to date and was actually 1 under after 9 and that was on newly airarated and sanded greens! I met you at av5 day camp in Phionex last year and watched as Todd spent hours with you recording your swing. I was jealous of course, not only Todd’s attention but watching you boom huge drives that day.
    Just wanted to say hello, thank you for your inputs, and wish you all the very best in the pursuit of your goals and dreams!
    Like Todd always says….follow the model!:)

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  5. Paul Gunning says:

    Hey Reed,

    I was blown away with the excellence of your swing posted on Youtube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-tAAfjLYTDk) and there are some great comments there also.

    I am just starting up playing golf aged 49 and am reading and watching everything I can on Moe Norman and have built up quite a library.

    Please consider posting more swings on Youtube as they are great to learn from.

    Best
    Paul

    Like

  6. Steve clay says:

    I like your progress Reed and can see the changes you’ve made . Apparently you show a lot of patience and trust what is being taught you by Todd. Hope to see you on the television soon , 😬 Good luck 👍🏻

    Like

  7. Craig C. says:

    Reed/Todd,

    This will be very interesting to follow… Is there a way you can post updates on Reed’s progress on the GGA site? Maybe a new section of the site? Food for thought…

    It would be fantastic to see more exposure for the single plane swing on any of the tours much less the PGA tour (Bryson D. is getting the movement started thankfully).

    I have a very similar journey on my single plane discovery that just started this summer and I’ve made really good progress in just a few months utilizing the training aids / videos, etc.

    I’m 45 now and I played competitive high school and college golf with, obviously, a two plane swing. I almost became a teaching pro so I do have a a pretty good grasp of swing mechanics for both the two plane and now the single plane. I was probably a single digit handicap in my prime. Nothing pro level but above average to be sure.

    However, in hindsight with the newly learned single plane swing, it seemed like a constant struggle with a two plane swing. The inconsistency of the two plane swing is where any golfer will see a huge difference between the two plane vs. one plane approach. Once they start to master the single plane swing or even feel / see the ball flight of even just one correctly struck single plane shot, they will know the difference.

    The single plane swing has been an amazing journey this summer for me. I’ve never seen myself hit such pure irons / drives that simply look like speeding bullets racing to the pin with almost no side spin that would be so common to my two plane swing. Some of the shots are like “frozen ropes” at the target when you really get it right.

    My thoughts are very similar to what Reed had to say above… If the best ball strikers (Moe Norman, Lee Trevino, Hogan, etc.) have one thing in common then why aren’t we all doing it? I’m seeing the dividends in my ball striking but now for that short game! 🙂

    Good luck to Reed in his endeavors!

    Like

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