The Proper Golf Stance Starts From The Ground Up

proper golf stance

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.

Feet Width

proper golf stance feet width

“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.

To Review

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.

Even More Helpful Tips From Our PGA Pros

Rudi Fann

Rudi Fann has been a Class “A” member of the PGA of America since 2008. He began his career in 1998 as the Assistant Golf Professional at Wake Forest Golf Club in Wake Forest, NC. In 2002, Rudi accepted a similar position at Rio Mar Country Club in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico. He spent a year there before moving to Nipomo, CA where he worked at Blacklake Golf Resort. Over the next 10 years, he worked his way from Assistant Golf Professional to Head Golf Professional and finally Director of Golf Operations. In his time at Blacklake, Rudi devoted much of his time to running tournaments and other activities in order to create a social atmosphere at the club. After Blacklake, Rudi spent one year as Head Golf Professional at Paso Robles Golf Club before deciding to return home to North Carolina. Since returning to North Carolina, Rudi has worked with the First Tee of the Triangle helping to instill life skills and core values through the game of golf to local youth.