What Is The Rotary Golf Swing? The Rotary Swing Explained!

There is more than one way to swing the golf club and the same is true for teaching someone how to play the game of golf.

Golf instructors often look for new concepts or ways to explain the golf swing. The rotary swing is a great example of one of these concepts.

PGA teaching professionals like to find simple methodologies to help beginners learn to hit the golf ball. The same ideas can help experienced players improve.

The rotary swing is a great example. You may have also heard of “stack and tilt”, “one plane swing”, or “straight arm swing”.

If you want to break 100 for the first time or lower your golf handicap you need to find the golf swing that works for you. You should give the rotary swing a try.

We can help. Below we provide you with everything you need to know to start using the rotary swing today. Let’s get started!

a rotary swing.

What Is The Rotary Swing?

The quick definition: the rotary swing involves rotating around your spine with limited lateral movement and only a subtle weight shift.

The rotary swing generates power from the core muscles while placing minimal stress on the joints and spine.

The good news is that you can maintain this swing as you get older. Players with this type of movement tend to keep their game as they age.

Golfers love to use confusing terminology. Have you heard them discuss a “one plane” swing vs. a “two plane” swing?

It can get complicated, but the easiest way to define a “one plane” swing is to say it is a flatter swing. Your arms swing around and stay on the same plane as your shoulder tilt at the top (transition).

A more upright golf swing will typically create a 2nd plane at the top. A “two-plane” swing can work but is a more complicated motion.

When done correctly, the rotary swing is an example of a “one plane” swing. Most players will be more consistent with a “one plane” swing.

Players who master the rotary swing method are typically great ball-strikers with solid power. They attack the ball from inside the target line, producing a draw.

There is one more advantage to this type of golf swing. Its simplicity makes it easier to fix when you get “out of sorts”.

A golf club about to hit a golf ball.

What Famous Golfers Use The Rotary Swing? The Legend Of Moe Norman

We get it. It is easier to give something a try if you know it works for the best players in the world.

There are numerous professional golfers that leverage the rotary swing, but the player that is typically mentioned is Moe Norman.

Not familiar with Moe? He is an interesting character!

Moe Norman was an obscure professional who developed a “cult-like” following for being one the best ball-strikers on the planet.

The legend is that he could hit any shot, anytime and that no one (not even Ben Hogan) could hit the ball straighter than Moe.

Our favorite “Moe story” involves an exhibition match he played with Sam Snead in 1960. They reached a par 4 with a creek that ran across the fairway.

Moe reached for his driver and Sam Snead warned “Moe, this is a layup hole. You can’t hit it over the creek with driver”.

Moe responded, “I am not trying to clear the creek. I am aiming for the bridge”. If you believe the story, his drive landed short of the creek and rolled across the bridge!

Are you wondering why we went on this Moe Norman tangent? You guessed it, he had a rotary swing!

He is often used as the “poster child” for the one-plane, rotary swing. If done correctly, it can truly take your ball-striking and consistency to the next level.

A full swing sequence of a golfer.

How Do You Make The Rotary Swing? 5 Steps To Become A Getter Ball-Striker

Do you want to be like Moe? Ready to give the rotary swing a try? The next time you practice try these 5 steps.

Step #1: Don’t Be Weak

Let’s start with the way you grip the club. To do the rotary swing correctly your grip should be slightly strong, not weak.

To create this grip, you need to turn your left hand (right-handed golfers) slightly clockwise until the “V” between your forefinger and your thumb points towards your right shoulder.

Now that you are holding the club correctly, we can move on to Step #2.

Step #2: It’s All In The Hips

Chubbs from Happy Gilmore would be proud. To successfully perform the rotary swing you need to adjust your hips during your setup.

Take a slightly wider stance than normal and tilt forward at the hips 30 – 40 degrees. You stand further from the ball to properly execute this style of the golf swing.

You have adjusted your grip and changed your setup position. You are now ready to start the swing.

A golfer in their final position looking backwards

Step #3: Rotate, Don’t Slide

We want you to keep your backswing nice and simple. Rotate around your spine, don’t let it move laterally.

A quick tip: keep your chin still and rotate until your left shoulder is under your chin. Don’t extend beyond this position.

Remember, the rotary swing will be flatter and a bit shorter. That is the goal. Less can go wrong with a shorter backswing.

Take a short pause for the transition and get ready to start your downswing.

Step #4: Your Downswing Is Simply The Opposite Of Your Backswing

You take a light pause “at the top” of your swing and now turn the left side of your body towards your target.

Your shoulder will “untuck” from your chin and the golf club will start back towards the golf ball.

A common mistake is pulling with your arms. When doing a rotary swing, the arms are fairly quiet during your downswing.

Allow the rotation of your body to drive the downswing.

Step #5: The Club Should Stay On The Path

A great way to think about finishing the rotary swing is that the clubhead should return to the golf ball on the same path it traveled during your backswing.

Your body is rotating to create power and speed, but the club is simply going back and coming forward on the same line.

This single-plane, rotary swing will consistently place the club on the golf ball. You will develop a tight draw and make more consistent contact.

Hitting the sweet spot of your clubs will give you more distance and help you shoot lower scores.

You may not become a legend like Moe Norman, but you will start playing better golf. You might even start winning a few bucks in your weekend game!

Up Next: Let’s practice Your New Swing

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Ray has been playing golf for 35+ years, including being part of his High School and College golf teams. While he still enjoys playing in amateur tournaments, Ray now focuses on growing the game of golf through teaching and coaching. He has two sons that both play golf competitively and loves spending time watching them compete. Ray continues to play in local amateur golf events and currently has a +2 handicap.

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