Expect This When Working On – Flat or Upright Backswing

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Paul Wilson is the creator of Swing Machine Golf and founder of Ignition Golf. Paul's golf swing technique is based on the Iron Byron swing machine. YouTube Channels: Paul Wilson Golf and Ignition Golf Tips. Please Join me on Google+

18 Responses to “Expect This When Working On – Flat or Upright Backswing”

  1. November 18, 2016


    Paul ,This is an excellent lesson (For me at least ).We’ve discussed this question before between us .My major defect is getting my swing too “short ,” or ,in your own words “too flat “.
    So I followed your recomendations and worked on my rotation back,turning more the shoulders
    With more rotation back I have more time to lift my right arm and I have also more torque to develop in the through swing .
    I does work .
    To make sure I take the time to turn back enough I exercise with the “SWING CLICK “and I have the picture of JIM FURYK in my mind :he goes so much upright in his backswing ,I try to emulate him(Without his “loop” )
    All this together has greatly benefiited my swing

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      November 18, 2016

      Paul Wilson


      This mental image is good. When I tried to get my swing from flat to more upright many years ago I thought of Fred Couples backswing. This image allowed me to get a more upright swing in about 2 weeks. Mental images are great.

  2. February 20, 2017


    Hi Paul,
    from your experience, does it occur (even if you don’t mention it) that trying to move from a very flat swing to a more upright position can also generate pushes?
    This is what I noticed recently, after working pretty hard with my golf pro. My “old” ingrained swing being flat, we managed to some point to put me in a more upright position, and I had a period of time when I could hit decent shots, with a gentle draw.
    I had to stop practicing and playing for a couple of months due to elbow pain, and since I resumed, well, the “old” swing tends to come back, so we work on putting me back on track. At the present, when I am flat, the result is more a hook, when I correct to a more upright, it’s definitely a push. Is this consistent with your analysis? My pro tells me not to worry too much about the pushes, because she sees them as an indication I am on the way to restore the correct position.

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      February 20, 2017

      Paul Wilson


      It is usually the other way around because the flatter swing allows the club to attack more from the inside but if you were severely flat you could be coming down way too steep with the flat swing. Then you go more upright and get the club on a better plane.

      You may have been either leaving the face wide open, sliding or just driving the hips way too hard with the new backswing. Hard for me to know.

      Well, I wouldn’t worry too much about where the ball is going until you are used to the newer swing. I keep telling everyone to work on the swing and positions and the ball will come. If you are trying to get perfect shots with a new swing they may be few and far between plus they could literally go anywhere because you are not even working on the whole swing. You are working on piece of the swing. Get this piece and add it to the other and you have the whole swing at which time you would be thinking more of the ball.

  3. October 19, 2017



    You are correct when you say golfers get dismayed when the golf ball goes everywhere it shouldn’t when trying to make a change. This leads to reverting back to ones old swing. This is a good example, I would have thought, of practicing without a ball.

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      October 19, 2017

      Paul Wilson


      I deal with that on a daily basis and it drives me crazy. I tell them it is about the move and positions and they are watching the ball. It just doesn’t work that way. Get the move you get the ball. It’s that simple. Glad you see it. Doing the practice swings takes the ball out of the picture. No ball means no distractions. Now you can think of the move.

  4. Paul, I am pretty sure my back swing is pretty correct. One of my problems is keeping my arms up as I start my hips turning. I then just let my shoulders and arms start turning up at the top. This is causing and over the top move. I just watched one of you videos on creating lag. It looks as though the direction my arms should go from the top is to simply let them fall an close the gap of where the grapefruit would be. Am I right about this?

  5. Thanks Paul,
    Past 2 days working on going up on backswing from tip. Yup, I’m a little right of target line, with a 8 yard cut.
    When I get frustrated, I go back to a full swing with any club,; results with any club, right on target, effortless swing, legs together, full extent on up to club behind head inline with ears. 145 yrd distance carry seems consistent.
    Working hard to maintain a A to B swing attempt with full distance for each club. 60% there.
    Your past 5 tips were all inline with building my passive arm swing.
    Should I wait on moving along with tip of day. Or can this change of all back swing drills co exist.
    Thanks again, Ed Billings

    • Ed,

      I would make it a habit or learning a more upright swing but you are saying the full swing is quite consistent so is it tome to move on and work on more distance or is the swing you think too flat actually fine? If from square you can hit it straight then I would use this and get more power. Then like I said just get more of a lifting up feeling if you are doing practice swings so you get used to it.

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    June 21, 2018


    It’s so hard to tell what one is really doing without filming yourself. I think I’m doing something well but the video shows me wrong most of the time. Being flat or too upright is hard to feel. Only way to be sure is to video yourself. That’s what works best for me. It’s invaluable. Great vid Paul.

    • Glenn,

      Filming yourself is a big part of learning the swing. Everyone should be doing this regularly. I still do it to this day.

  7. June 22, 2018


    First off I recently sent two replies to other tips and didn’t get an email.
    My reply here is about when I reach the end of backswing I was noticing my left hand was opening. I am trying now to keep the grip tighter and at the same time the wrists very loose. I do get a lot of pushes now. It could also be from Having the left arm rise along the pec as you described in a previous video. Should I work on one at a time? What is the best way get the right grip pressure and loose wrists?

  8. Upright or flat has always been a point of contention for me. Hogan said one should be able to hold a folded towel between your right elbow and side. That’s pretty flat and never worked well for me. Nickaus, Couples, Ken Perry, Davis Love, Jason Day, even Tiger at one point, all raised their right arm, all more upright to varying degrees. I have read raise your arms to the the point your right arm (from elbow to shoulder) is parallel to the ground, like a waiter holding a tray. I have tried this and have hit many good shots, seem to have a bit more power this way. Still when I incorporated the Body Swing, I have dropped my right elbow to pretty much where you have yours. This is a much more comfortable swing, to raise my right elbow up to even parallel requires more effort and I have to consciously make myself do this. Simple is better, and when the Body Swing comes together for me, I kill the ball.

    • Marcus,

      Yes, you don’t have to go way up. I like the lead arm slightly above the shoulder plane. Best of both worlds. The problem with the Hogan swing is there is only one Hogan. The flat swing they teach nowadays is not the swing he was doing. I just don’t see any long drivers doing a flat swing so I don’t promote it. I think you have the right idea. Just allow the right arm to come away to drop a grapefruit and you should be fine.

      Glad you are doing well with The Body Swing. Just keep doing the practice swings making the position perfect. I want you doing it all the time.

  9. December 2, 2019


    Hi Paul, I just made a comment about a shank. Working on my backswing (trying to make it more upright) I shanked 60 balls and the rest were pulls or pull hooks. I felt cracy and scared. Now I understand that I could be on the right path, but my question is, when does it stop (the pull and pull hooks, not the shanks, that are caused by another reason and have already clear what to do). How do you cure your pull shots or pull hooks or at least how long have you to wait to see better shots when you are working on an upright backswing?

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      December 4, 2019

      Paul Wilson


      You shouldn’t be shanking it so you need to watch the tips below.

      This is a huge change. If this were me I would be saying 1 month to fix this. You are thinking arms trying to get the club higher so of course the miss would be a pull. This is an arms thought. So set the top then think legs. This way you won’t be hitting with the arms.

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