Jack Nicklaus won 18 major championships with an upright swing. Johnny Miller used an upright swing to shoot the lowest score ever on a Sunday (63) and win the 1973 U.S. Open.
Miller remembered,”When I was playing in the 1970s, swings were very upright. We’d get our hands way above our right shoulder at the top and finish with them well above our left shoulder. Our swings were so upright that we had to arch our spines in a reverse-C to make the move work. My back aches just thinking about it.”
Today you see more swings on tour that are flatter. Not does a flat swing tend to be easier on the body (you don’t need to finish in the back-breaking reverse-C), it’s seems to offer better accuracy, especially off the tee. Over the years, Miller has become of fan of golfers with a flat swing. He saw players like Mike Reid in the 1980s and Fred Funk in the 1990s and early 2000s regularly hit fairways with a flat swing. He says, “These days, Zach Johnson is the man you’d bet your kid’s college fund on to stripe one down the middle.” Miller adds, “Look at Matt Kuchar. His swing is so flat that his hands barely get above his shoulders. That’s not only good for accuracy, swinging flat lets you turn faster through impact because you don’t have to work your club up in the release. It’s pure rotation and rotation equals speed.”
If you have a more upright swing and accuracy is an issue and/or you have back troubles, a switch to a flatter swing may be your answer. Miller says, “Changing your swing plane (to a flatter plane) isn’t that complicated. Start by swinging your hands from shoulder to shoulder and turn your body aggressively through impact. Your backswing will feel shorter, but that’s a good thing for most weekend players. You’ll make up for it with a faster release. And you’ll hit more fairways. As the most accurate players of the last 35 years prove, flat is where it’s at.”