Why Women Stand Up When They Play Golf: The Secret Behind Their Biggest Swing Fault

Recently I found myself in a lively discussion with PGA instructor Brant Kasbohm. He offers an online golf instruction program called FixYourGame.com. I sent him a couple of short videos of my golf swing for his analysis (click here to read more about this and to watch the video) and what he quickly discovered is that I suffer from one of the most common swing flaws among all golfers, but especially among women golfers. It all has to do with posture and address. I tend to stand up out of my posture when I swing the club back which causes all kinds of problems with consistently hitting the ball. Why do I do this? Why do so many women do the same thing?

Brant asked the same question in his written analysis of my swing.

This “lifting” or “standing” up out of the posture is very common among women, and I’m really not sure why.  I’ve had numerous discussion over the years with other golf instructors (both men & women), and have not come to a conclusion as to why this is so common among women.  It’s a common swing flaw, and is common among men as well, but seems to be almost universal among women.

My take on the situation: I think it has a lot to do with the fact that women have breasts that simply get in the way. Now I know that is not true for every woman. And a lot of players who are “abundant” in their anatomy, play great golf. But let’s face it. Breasts can get in the way when you are playing golf. As we rotate our arms during the backswing, we naturally move our arms above our breasts rather than across them, causing the whole body to lift up. I’ve been taking lessons from a local LPGA instructor, Sue Kaffenburgh, and she has made a point to tell me to keep my arms down and close to my chest rather than letting them slide up and over. “Crush your breasts, don’t slide up and over.” But it’s difficult if you are an abundant woman!!!

The solution to the “lift and separate” issue is actually found in the description I gave in the last paragraph. “As we rotate our arms during the backswing…” You don’t rotate your arms, you rotate your torso!!! If all you do is swing your arms across your chest but don’t turn your body, you’re just swatting at flies.

In his written analysis of my swing, Brant wrote: Ideally, our posture stays constant during the swing, and we rotate our torso to swing the club.  Many people think “the club is on the ground at address, but it’s six feet off the ground at the top of the swing, so I have to lift it up to get it there.”  But this is not correct.  Because your spine is tilted forward at address, a simple turn of the torso forces the club up and then down.  The lifting up and out of your posture causes a great deal of inconsistency, because it adds an additional moving part to the swing.  What goes up, must come down.  If you lift up and then come down too much, you hit the ball fat.  If you lift up and then don’t come down enough, you hit the ball thin, or even whiff.    So you’ll be much more consistent with your contact if you keep your posture constant during the swing.  Don’t worry about where the club is on the backswing-it’s most important to make as full a rotation as our flexibility allows.  If the club does not get all the way to a “parallel to the ground” position, that’s just fine.

The Bottom Line: If you have this same problem of lifting up or standing up when you swing then focus on rotation of your torso not your arms. And get yourself to a good instructor, whether in person or online and get some objective analysis of your swing. It’ll make all the difference in your next round of golf.

Do you have this same swing fault? How do you fix it?

  7 comments for “Why Women Stand Up When They Play Golf: The Secret Behind Their Biggest Swing Fault

  1. Arlen says:

    Great topic for women players and all players that have a problem standing up in the golf swing. All players should read this for a fresh new perspective on the golf swing. People stand up to hit golf shots for many reasons but mostly because their bodies are just not comfortable in the address position. If players bend over to much, have clubs that are too short and don’t know or have the ability to rotate their hips and maintain their spine angles they will stand up. There is a very easy fix to this problem and a better way to play golf, improve distance, hit more solid shots. I hope this article helps players that have sore backs and trouble standing up when hitting a golf ball.

  2. Karen says:

    Well, Pat, it’s a brave woman who exposes her swing to all and sundry as well as to a trusted analyst and teacher. I take my hat off to you.

    I’ve been ‘researching’ this very subject. (I say ‘researching’ but that’s too serious a term for my reading, observing, listening and thinking about women’s swings). Why did the first women golfers, like Lady Heathcote-Amory (Joyce Wethered) stand on tiptoes at impact? Why do modern players like Gulbis and Creamer create a huge space under their womenly attributes during their follow-through – appearing to dip their heads? How do elderly women with dodgy hips, knees, back and neck injuries manage to swing sparely yet hoof the ball a mile straight up the fairway? I’m still working on it!

    Did you notice, in your own swing, that you had over-rotated your torso? Your hips had turned over 90 degrees and your left knee was pointing to the right? Brant’s lower body had hardly moved at all.

    I used to ‘lift up’ and I see the same thing with women who have very flexible hips or else have wayward knees. I fixed it with some help (my mother – a self taught golfer who took up the game in her fifties!) Now, I keep my left knee flexed but pointing straight ahead. As I take the club back, I lift my heel off the ground *slightly* – just bending the toe joints – but my knee still points forward. I find that the flexed (but relatively still) left knee restricts my hips somewhat and I have to turn my torso *more*, but on the other hand, I’m firmly anchored to the ground and I feel like a coiled spring. It’s not comfortable, it defies gravity and it’s stretching, but it’s powerful.

    It looks like you are in very good hands – a video analysis and a written report too! – so I’m wishing you good luck with regaining your swing. Keep up your magnificent work with GolfGurls – it’s a godsend and much needed. Thank you.

    Karen, Manchester, England UK

  3. Pat says:

    Candy, thanks for your comment. No question, the more layers of clothing you have on, the harder it is to stay flexible… oh well, that’s the price for playing golf in the northeast in the cold.

  4. Candy Heath says:

    Hi, Golf Gurls,
    I like this analysis. I think with all my heavy coats on for Fall New England golf, that I have been lifting up just to get my jacket around instead of the club. My Summer golf was good but it has definitely gone down hill with the temperatures. Thanks for the new information. Candy

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