Upright Golf Swings Explained

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It often happens that many new golfers aren’t completely sure if they should swing upright or how they can benefit from this. If this is one of your burning questions, we have the answer. Before we start, remember that golf is supposed to be a fun game- don’t overthink it.

Upright Golf Swings Explained

Key Takeaways

  • An upright golf swing refers  to the way your arms and club are positioned on your backswing.
  • You will have more accurate shots with an upright golf swing
  • Upright golf swings are known to muscle up your shots 

Explaining An Upright Golf Swing

When we talk about an upright golf swing, we are referring to the way your arms and club are positioned on your backswing. It differs from other swings as the club is positioned on the backswing in a more upright fashion. Your arms will also be pointed toward the sky, instead of being wrapped around your back. Yes, many players agree that they prefer a flatter swing, but it might not be your first choice. 

Why it’s Recommended

Need some convincing? Fine look at these awesome benefits when you swing upright.

Improved Consistency of your Swing Accuracy

The way you swing in the end has an impact on the accuracy and ball trajectory of your shot.

You can easily determine the outcome of all your golf shots by paying close attention to two major aspects. They are:

  • The way your shoulders are aimed at the point of contact with your ball
  • The positioning or angle of your club head face at the point of contact 

The more you flatten your swing plane the more your shoulders are moving in the level plane. What this essentially means is that you would only be “aiming” at the target at a point before and just after contact. 

That is because the club head motion is moving more “diagonally” over the target line instead of towards it like when you’re putting.

Your shoulders are pointed further to the right of the your ball on the down swing and further to the left on the follow through. The opposite is true if you’re left-handed.

Your upright swing is formed by the shoulders moving more in the upright plane. This basically means that the time your shoulders are moving down the target line is a whole heap longer throughout your swing.

The outcome will be that your club head will move down the target line over a larger region of the swing. This gives a higher safety measure when it comes to timing and balance problems.

With an upright golf swing, you also reduce the effect of ball spin. This is because your shoulders will swing less “crosswise” over the target line at contact for an ill-planned shot.

Higher Swing Power and Distance

Aha! Look at all the big hitters on tour and you will commonly see that most of them assume an upright swing to gain more power in their swing.  So, if the pros are doing it then that should mean something.

The reasons why an upright swing plane creates improved power for your swing would be the following:

  • Your hands and club head will be elevated from the surface at the top of the swing. This creates more possible power for your swing. 
  • You use your strongest muscles down your right side and the top of your left shoulder. This gives you more power for the swing instead of exhausting the strength of your lower back muscles. Your back muscles are severely impacted by the rotation around the base of your spine when you execute a flatter swing.

Better Balance

The following has a significant impact on your balance.

  • The outward force of turning the club head as it moves 
  • The position that force is acting on your shaft.

This force produced by the club head moving in a circular path serves to tug your shoulders frontward near the ball. This has an impact on the steadiness of your shaft all through your swing.

Think about an athlete throwing the hammer.

Here the athlete must beat the enormous centrifugal force required to alternate the hammer by tilting backwards.  This will help them to stay well-adjusted throughout the spin.

When you use a flatter swing, you’ll be faced with a equal impact on your balance. This is where you need to counter the outcome of the outward force needed to alternate the club head. You also need to lower your back muscles to hold your shaft in place throughout your swing.

When you use an upright swing, this centrifugal force is created more up through your shaft and legs from the surface. This minimizes the impact on your lower back muscles- giving your shaft more stability.

Remember Your Setup

Possibly the biggest area that will have an impact on your swing plane is your setup. We suggest that you practice the following swing initiation drill from the comfort of your home. Start by turning your left shoulder in front of a mirror.

While turning, keep an eye on your hand motion. Tweak your setup with the intention of making it simpler to turn upright while moving your hands along a more upright swing plane.

Still not getting the hang of it? Let’s help:

  • Allow your arms to fall vertically down in the stance. Keep your hands situated no further than six inches away from your leg
  • Keep your back straight from the hips up. Don’t allow your shoulder hunch forward
  • For golfers who may have a large chest, lean a bit more forward in this stance. Now your arms will have more clearance to move straight back instead of wrapping across your body

While practicing this routine you might feel some stiffness in your muscles throughout your back swing. If you’re wondering why, this is because it is simpler to switch your shoulders parallel around your spine than to turn them upright.

Don’t worry as this is quite normal seeing that the movement in the upright plane makes use of different muscles in your golf swing. Now let’s look at a few ways to help you with shoulder rotation

Shoulder Tips

Even though you might think your setup has the biggest impact on your plane angle, it is affected even more by your shoulder rotation. Loosen up with these tips.

Tip 1

We have noticed that many golfers are just too stiff in the shoulders to swing upright. With their first attempt at an upright swing, the results are usually less than satisfying.

If this is happening to you, shorten your backswing a lot more. The technique behind this is because the stiffness of your golf muscles throughout your upright swing causes other parts of your swing to collapse.

Now move your club handle directly down one side as far as possible and pause for one minute. While holding the stretch, avoid allowing your hips to slant in the other direction. This will stall the stretch.


Likewise keep your shaft upright and straight during the stretch.

Next follow through with the same movement in the other direction.

After a short while of this stretch, your distance on the range will progress as your backswing extends. Also, there would be improvement on your precision and steadiness the more you swing down the target line.

Tip 2

Another tip would be rotating your left shoulder downwards. One fact is that loads of players start their swing by moving their hands.

Starting the swing with their hands helps them to cover their swing around the body triggering a flat swing plane.

This is commonly found in golfers who could be stiff in their shoulders or have one or two inches more around their mid-section than they want.

The biggest reason behind this is that their shoulders are moving more in the parallel plane.

The remaining swing results can be too much slicing, the ball opening the flight path strongly to the left or forcing the ball to the right.

Here the area where the club head is moving down the target line is smaller. This lessens the safety margin as discussed previously.

To avoid this, start off your swing with a downward movement of your left shoulder and you will deal with this problem better.

Now your swing is guaranteed to start with more of a upright rotation of your shoulders. Doing this will ensure that your shoulders will be turning further down the target line.


An upright swing is better for some players when it comes to comfort and accuracy. If you are completely new to this swing, you can test it using an appropriate stance for an upright stroke to boost strength. 

An upright stroke is also a fantastic choice for golfers who suffer from with back problems. It produces a less tortuous position when you swing. Give yourself time practicing the upright swing. If you decide that it’s not right for you, try swinging on a flat or more neutral plane.

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Justin, a fanatic golf writer, has a passion for sharing tips and tricks on improving one's golfing game. Researching the latest gear and game enhancements so you can save time and effort doing it yourself. Be on the lookout for his next piece.

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