Nicklaus- Upright?

For all these years we have heard Nicklaus had an upright swing-- backswing ? YES…downswing? NO

These pics are again living proof of the best angle of attack into the ball even from an ‘upright’ player


Its been a while since I’ve seen this, thank you for posting it.

Great photos, Twomasters… I always love the overhead view… great to see the shadow below the club as it approaches impact- amazing how close it is to the ground so far before the ball…
When I think of upright I see it more as an access issue. The journey in these photos is the required path to good golf- each person has to figure out their best way to access that path. I think it’s better to go out to in, or higher to lower, because an outward shift on the DS is a sort of succumbing to CF that then needs to be re-contained to harness force. This is why I worry when I see someone going too flat away from the ball unless they’re really good or really strong or they really understand what they’re doing as well as the dynamics of the swing. Particularly tall players- a tall player going flat on the way back gets the club so far off their radar that reconnecting with the ball becomes very stressful.
In modern theory(bullshit theory, I might add), just look at the so-called 1 planers- they’re a disaster… they all go back way too flat and deep, and then do all sorts of hitching and crazy stuff to find some sort of descending blow on the ball… it’s awful stuff… this is what worries me about getting too flat on the BS…
And ultimately an upright or a flat swing is judged by the BS, not the DS… everything moves too fast for the DS to be the defining plane. Yet most good players are flat/shallow coming into impact, just like you say… just look at Fred Couples- he picks it up and has a super upright across the line swing, but there are very few who go through the ball as pure and as correctly as he does- his longevity is no accident… there’s nothing ‘upright’ about his journey through the ball

A major benefit of flattening to begin with is engaging the pivot as Lag puts it. Do you think an upright backswing weakens efforts to have a more pivot driven action?

I think it can if it encourages your picture of acceleration to be one that works along the target line- that perception from the get go can get you too upright and then obviously too steep through impact. And also, if that’s your picture of how to accelerate the club it doesn’t matter how upright or flat you are, you’ll always be steep through impact with a pretty solid pivot stall- just look at Tiger.
My main thing in terms of upright and flat is the shoulder turn. I think it’s got to be naturally inclined to fit your body shape. A more inclined shoulder plane doesn’t mean that they don’t or can’t work rotationally. As long as your shoulders are working behind you on either side of the ball(which is a nice simple swing key for playing), an inch or two in degrees of flatness is not going to give you any great benefit imo.
There’s a direct relationship between the left shoulder and the clubhead during acceleration, look at any good golfswing and you’ll see it. If it’s working too low past impact(or too high) it doesn’t have as much leverage as it could. This angle is dependent on the height of the player imo, or the distance the top of the spine is from the ground and also from the ball- lie angle, shaft length etc all play a part in that. There’s a sweet spot between those points that dictates the natural plane of your shoulders during acceleration, and also allows you to maximize the power of your body- maybe there should be some formula to determine that- where’s Mandrin when you need him?! If you try to pull something out of the ground directly below you then you’ll pull straight up. If you try to pull something out of the wall in front of you then you’ll pull straight away from it. The ball is somewhere between these two points so we have to find that best angle(as an aside, this does bring in the thing that makes the golf swing as hard as it is and that’s the angle between the arms and the shaft- it screws up all easy theories like that 1 plane rubbish)
One of my main things with the swing is finding your natural state to work from and then apply solid principles. Conceptually you could say that a super flat shoulder turn is beneficial but the trade off for that benefit isn’t really worth it imo. One way or another during the downswing the arms and hands have to work down off whatever shoulder plane you’re using. I’d much rather their relationship be free and naturally inclined to suit your physique and posture in the backswing because I think things just work better that way. I have a relatively flat shoulder turn myself, and at one point it was too flat and I think I suffered because of it.
The key really is having a clear perception of how the club moves or how you move the club as it accelerates-regardless of how flat or upright your swing is, how you picture that journey will dictate pretty much everything. The flattest or most upright backswing in the world wont overpower that intent.
So I suppose yes an upright backswing can discourage correct use of the pivot, but it also doesn’t rule it out. In the same way that a flat backswing doesn’t necessarily mean a good pivot. There are too many examples of both cases for me to think that flat or upright is the ultimate determining factor for good pivot use- but you don’t ever want to go above 90 degrees to the spine, that’s the point where rotation would stop imo.
I think a major key to correctly incorporating the club into the motion of the body and using your pivot, is heel/toe weight distribution. Flat or upright, if you’re on your toes you’re going to struggle. If you’re properly rooted into the rear of your feet like I talked about in that posture post, then the club will be received and embraced by the motion of your body fairly irrespective of whether you’re ‘flat’ or ‘upright’…
There are no simple answers really, even though the reality might be fairly simple!