Standing on the range, I have seen many different stances over the years. There are certain characteristics, however, that all good players share when it comes to setting up to the golf ball. I’m going to walk you through these characteristics, getting you into the proper golf stance.
Proper Golf Stance: From The Ground Up
A proper golf stance is solid from the ground up, allowing your body to rotate athletically during the swing. But, we are all built different, and therefore, our stances won’t be exactly the same. Rather than teaching a specific stance, I like to teach students how to read their body and capabilities. With this information, you’ll find the stance that gives the best results for you.
“How far apart should my feet be?” is a common question I hear. A great starting point is to position the feet shoulder width apart at address. There are articles stating that, with the driver, a wider stance creates a more solid base, allowing a more aggressive swing. It’d be logical to use that same wide stance with the rest of the clubs in your bag. While this statement is true, there is an important aspect to consider when looking for your proper golf stance.
Many of these articles assume the player is in great shape, with the flexibility of a tour player. However, the vast majority of us, myself included, aren’t that flexible. A wider stance limits hip rotation, allowing for more torque to build up during the backswing. For those of us with less than optimal flexibility, this actually causes a pretty big problem. The tendency is to slide the hips and swing the arms more to complete the backswing. The side to side movement doesn’t allow the torque to build up. In other words, we have no power and shots go left, right, and short. The extra arm swing also disconnects the arms and club from our body, the power generation system of the swing, further sapping distance. In these instances, a slightly narrower stance helps the hips to turn more, allowing the swing to be completed correctly. Keeping the swing connected and in sync is more important than restricting hip turn.
To find the best width for your swing, use this drill I use with my students. I have them start with their feet together hitting balls. I then have them slowly move their feet apart until they can’t comfortably complete their backswing or start losing distance or consistent ball flight. Once you pass that threshold, move back to the last position to get the proper width for your feet.
Feet and Toe Alignment
Now that you know how far apart your feet should be, you can focus on the toes. Pointing your toes in or out helps shot shaping. Angling your toes outward allows for more freedom of movement in your hips, keeping them ahead of the club, and helping to hit a fade. Pointing them inwards helps prevent sliding during the swing, which helps you draw the ball more. Align your toes according to the shot you want to hit.
A good golf swing and great results are only accomplished from a solid foundation.
- Set up your feet wide enough to allow for a full, comfortable turn
- Point your toes in or out for the shot shape you desire
There isn’t one magic stance that works for everybody. Experiment on the range to find the stance that works best for you.