Want to improve your golf scores dramatically? Try working on your upright golf swing. It’s easy to do, and you can practice at home or the office.
There are two basic swing types in golf –- the upright golf swing and the flat golf swing. The type of swing you use is normally based on personal preference and your level of comfort. Yet some say taller golfers tend to prefer the upright swing to the flat swing. While there are advantages and disadvantages for both types of swing, we’ll now focus on the upright swing.
Your type of swing is based on where your arms are in the backswing position. In a flat swing plane, the bicep of your bent arm (this is your dominant arm) is horizontal (flat) to the ground. Meanwhile, your extended arm (non-dominant arm) is near horizontal. With a golf upright swing plane, the bicep of your dominant arm is horizontal to the ground. At the same time, your non-dominant arm will angle upwards at approximately a 45-degree angle.
Upright Golf Swing Advantages
The upright golf swing gives you several big advantages. On the backswing, the club stays on a straighter swing plane, which keeps a straighter line with the target. This also keeps the club head position more square during the stroke. On impact, this allows the golfer to hit with the middle of the club face.
If you aren’t sure what type of golf swing you use, have a friend to take a short video of you during your normal swinging motion. It is much easier to evaluate your golf swing plane when you are looking at it in a video, rather than trying to “feel” it while trying to make a natural swing.
The key to success in any sport is starting with good fundamental practices. If you concentrate on developing good fundamental skills, your upright golf swing will have greater accuracy, distance, and consistency.
This short video, “A Great Upright Swing,” shows the Justin Thomas Golf Swing:
Technique for Developing Good Upright Golf Swing Mechanics
Every golf swing begins with gripping the golf club. The grip you use has a huge determining factor in how your club reacts through the entire golf swing plane. For starters, it controls how your club face impacts the ball. While many beginning golfers think you should hold a golf club like a baseball bat and just swing away, that’s not the best way to swing a golf club. If you take a few seconds before swinging to adjust your grip, you can greatly improve your accuracy.
Watch: VideoJug golf expert Rickard Strongert shows the proper way to grip a golf club.
“Addressing the ball” is how your position your body for each stroke. While your stance might change slightly for different types of shots, the basic stance and mechanics remain the same. Start by aligning your feet. First, center the ball in front of you. Then, use your selected club to measure the correct distance that you will stand away from the ball. Keep your feet aligned so that you are sideways to your intended target. Your feet should be placed approximately shoulder-width apart to allow for greater stability during your entire swing cycle.
At the start of your swing cycle, your shoulders and hips should be aligned in the same manner as your feet. Both should be perpendicular to your target, or point of aim, and your knees should be slightly bent. During the backswing, your shoulders, hips, and knees will rotate with your torso as you bring the club up in an arc. Your dominant arm will be bent at an angle of 90 degrees or more at the top of your backswing. Meanwhile, your non-dominant arm should be straight. Control of your stroke comes from your dominant arm and the wrist action that you apply at the base of your stroke right before and after impact with the golf ball.
Watch these short videos by professional golfer Pete Styles. As he explains, how you address the ball, aim, and maintain a proper stance can make a big difference. The video also shows you how to adjust your stance for different clubs and types of shots.
Golf Setup Part 1: “Golf Alignment — Stay on Target with the Right Golf Setup.”
Golf Setup Part 2: “Golf Stance — How to Position Your Feet at Address.”
Golf Setup Part 3: “Distance to the Golf Ball — How Close Should You Stand to the Ball.”
Golf Setup Part 4: “Ball Position — Where to Put the Golf Ball in Your Stance.”
Using a Good Upright Golf Swing to Improve Your Game
As discussed earlier, one of the keys to success in golf is starting with good basic practices. By focusing on fundamental skills, your upright golf swing will have greater accuracy, distance, and consistency. Having a friend take video of your swing will help you see where you need improvement in your own technique.
At the beginning of your swing, your club is initially brought back. Then, at the halfway point, your club should be almost horizontal to the ground with the forward edge of the clubface pointing almost straight up. At this point, you should only be rotating at the shoulders, until your non-dominant shoulder is under your chin.
Here’s some more of Styles’ expert advice on golf swings.
Golf Swing Part 1: “Golf Takeaway — How to Start Your Golf Swing Correctly.”
As you continue your upward swing, the clubface will turn slightly with the rotation. However, you should still maintain your position as you rotate your wrists and add a slight hip rotation to your backswing. The wrists will twist slightly at this point in your backswing.
Golf Swing Part 2: “Golf Backswing — How to Position the Club on a Good Swing Path”:
The power in your stroke comes mostly from your backswing. Developing a good backswing is integral to improving your overall game. As your swing reaches the top of the stroke, your hips and shoulders should be facing toward your intended target as much as you are able, without much movement of your knees and feet. Your dominant elbow should be bent, with your bicep almost parallel to the ground. In the meantime, your non-dominant arm should be straight. All rotation will be in your torso and hips at this point, so your head should still be facing the ball. At the end of your backswing, the club shaft should be parallel to the ground, with your body weight concentrated on the rear, or dominant, foot. At this point, you are ready to begin your downswing.
Golf Swing Part 3: “Top of the Golf Swing — How to Position the Club Correctly at the Top.”
The downswing begins with your non-dominant hip, which is nearest your target. The hip motion required to have an effective golf swing is a combination of a sideward thrust toward the target and a rotation to bring the body around. As your golf swing comes down, your hips will rotate all the way around until the center of your body (this can be thought of as your belt buckle) is facing your target.
While your hips are rotating around, your arms are traveling downward in the same arc as your club traveled during the backswing rotation. As your golf swing travels down, your dominant elbow should be tucked in. The hip rotation will seem to bring your arms and shoulders along automatically. This way, the swing should feel like a natural motion. As you reach the bottom of your downswing, your weight will shift from your dominant side to your non-dominant side and your dominant arm will straighten until you are in the original position you had when you were addressing the ball. Your downswing ends at the point of impact, but that is not the end of your stroke.
Golf Swing Part 4. “Golf Downswing – How to Bring the Club Down Along the Right Club Path”:
The point in your stroke where the club face makes contact with the ball is called the “impact position.” Your club face should be aimed directly at the target, your arms should be extended, and your hips should be completing their rotation. At the point of impact, your belt buckle should be facing toward the ball, slightly ahead of your club position.
Golf Swing Part 5: “Golf Impact – How to Make Consistent Contact with the Ball.”
Finally, the last part of any golf swing is the follow through. As your swing travels through impact, both your arms should be straight. You should then keep your arms extended through the swing, while following the ball. As the club follows through, your hips will continue their rotation. Meanwhile, your arms will swing past the point of impact and the club will swing through to complete the arc. Your swing should finish with the front of your hips facing toward the target, your arms fully extended and your hands rotating around with the swing. The club face will be aligned perpendicular to the ground, with the end of the club head pointing up and the club shaft will end in a position parallel to the ground.
Golf Swing Part 6: “Golf Swing Extension — How to Release Your Arms and Hands After Impact.”
The follow through completes the entire swing, linking all the parts together to aid in obtaining consistency in your swing. Being consistent will increase your distance and accuracy and decrease your score – all optimal outcomes in the game of golf.
Golf Swing Part 7: “Golf Follow Through — How to Finish Your Golf Swing.”
A Good Upright Golf Swing Can Make a World of Difference in Your Game
Maintaining a consistent upright golf swing plane will give your game a boost. Practicing the steps outlined in this article and training your body to “feel” your correct swing will increase your confidence and lower your score. You can practice your upright swing plane anywhere that has enough space to complete the rotation of the club. This way, you don’t have to limit yourself to practicing only when you can make it to the golf course.
Featured image: CC 0-Public Domain, Pixhere