Difference Between A Flat Vs Upright Golf Swing

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What is the right swing for my golf game? The only way to know which golf swing works best is to get out there and play some golf.

Your golf style will be personal and vary according to your body. What makes you feel comfortable?

Your arms will be working harder vertically up and down with an upright backswing where your arms work more around your body with a flat backswing.

Golf Swing From Square

What Is An Upright Backswing?

Your arms move on a steeper plane on your backswing with an upright golf swing. 

When you reach the top of the swing, you will feel that your front arm is above the plane of your back shoulder.

The plane is the angle of the swing arc.


  • An upright golf swing is helpful for players with back pain
  • There is less twisting needed
  • Your arms and club move upwards
  • Your arms and clubs do not wrap around your body
  • Puts less stress on your spine, shoulders, and neck
  • Better suited for tall players as they need to bend less
  • Provides a squarer clubface when the club hits the ball
  • The club travels in a straighter line
  • People who struggle with angles when the club shifts benefit from an upright swing


  • Upright swing is not suited for everyone
  • Feels less natural than a flat swing
  • Can have a baseball bat feel
  • If not done properly can cause pain or injure your back because of the unnatural position
  • Difficult to generate power behind the swing
  • Not able to bring the club as far back
  • Forces the golf ball to go higher in the air, not great for all types of shots
  • Forces more swing on the ball
  • Tricky for beginner players

How Do I Switch To An Upright Swing?

A proper stance is key for an upright golf swing. If your stance is correct you will be able to prevent injuries to your back, hips, shoulders, neck, and other parts of your body. 

Having flexibility is essential for an upright golf swing. For this swing to be effective you will need flexibility in the horizontal and vertical planes of your shoulders. 

Your back shoulder will move up with your backswing. While your front shoulder moves down. This gives you the necessary motion for the swing.

It is recommended to stretch your shoulders. Mobility exercises will help to strengthen your shoulders. 

A fantastic exercise is lifting a broom up over your head. Move the broom as far back as you can. 

Try to move the broom further back and down each time you do this exercise. 

One of the challenges of an upright golf swing is keeping your weight balanced. An upright swing does not curve around your body. This swing moves up and over your head. 

One way to keep your body centred is to shift your weight into your front foot on the downswing. This will help keep your body in the correct position.

By shifting your weight you also compensate for the weight of the club on your downswing.

Keeping your feet stable and immobile will help out more force behind your upright golf swing.

The upright golf swing helps to look after your back. Less impact is put on your spine as you will do less twisting. Especially if your shoulders perform correctly. 

Learning to keep your back stable and unmoving is essential for perfecting the upright golf swing.

The power of this swing depends on your arms and shoulders. It is helpful to turn slightly in your hips on the upswing. 

What Is A Flat Backswing?

A flat backswing is easily identified. There is more bend on the arms and a definitive twist in the back.


  • It is a natural swing
  • Easier to rotate body through the shot
  • Need to make fewer compensations on the downswing
  • Able to generate a lot of power
  • Easier to hit the clubface more often 
  • Golfers body is already in a shallow position
  • The body holds a more stable position
  • Easier to keep your body on the plane
  • Easier to keep the shot on the inside 
  • Easier for beginners


  • Might be tougher on the rough
  • May cause you to swing out of the top
  • You can get stuck on the downswing
  • You might struggle to keep the golf club steep enough 
  • Easy to slice the ball
  • Easy to come too much to the inside of the ball
  • A lot of hand rotation

Using A Flat Backswing

A flat backswing assists you with producing a shallow downswing. This will help maximise your speed, launch angle, and contact with the ball. By flattening out the golf club on the way down. 

A lot of beginners tend to lift their club on the backswing. This will cause a steep angle. A steep angle inevitably causes you to slice the ball. 

A flat swing allows for a more circular swing. That means more hitting power.

If you turn deep enough with a flat plane you will be able to rotate strongly through the swing. This allows you to use larger muscles to control the golf club.

To maximise the flat backswing, you really need to turn your shoulder. This prevents stalling on the downswing. 

If you lose speed on the downswing, you are probably rotating too early.

When you find yourself in no man’s land in the rough, the flat backswing can make things tough. If you are performing this shot correctly, you might have trouble creating a steep enough arc to hit the ball. 

If you start to turn and your body becomes too shallow, you will get stuck. Normally you find that your body has already rotated. But your hands have not kept up.

What Now?

How can you improve your flat and upright backswings?

Flim Your Swing

  • Video yourself from the side taking a shot
  • Take note of your bicep in relation to your golf club
  • Where are your hands? (Above – steep, below – flat)
  • This helps to understand where your shortcomings are
  • Doing drills will help to correct any issues you have
  • Take practice shots when out on the course
  • When you hit the golf ball, focus on the target

Make Comparisons To Pro Golfers

  • Watch your video to see if you hit flat or steep
  • Find a golfer similar to you
  • Compare your video to that golfer
  • Look for tips that the golfer might have

Measuring Your Swing

  • Using a launch monitor, measure your swing
  • If you are hitting the golf ball on the inside then keep your swing as is
  • Golf is practical, even if your shot does not look good do not change it for aesthetics
  • You might want some professional training if you are stalling, extending early, or flipping
  • In order to grow productively, it is helpful to know your spin axis, ball speed, and spin rate
  • Knowing more about your shot is helpful in knowing what clubs will be best suited to you


Golf is all about precision. The more effective you make your flat or upright backswing, the better your game will be.

In the end, you will need to find out what your body needs and what works accordingly. 

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Young talented golfer and writer and top rated weekend golfer. He's favorite player is Tiger and he spends most of his spare time on a golf course.

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