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Master your golf stance with our comprehensive expert guide by Class A Professional Golfer, Brittany Olizarowicz. This article is a must-read for golfers looking to improve their game using proven techniques.
Where do you get your power in your golf swing? If you are new to the game, it probably feels like it’s coming from your arms swinging as fast as possible to get them through impact.
However, that’s not the case. Power in the golf swing comes from our stance. In addition, accuracy and consistency are largely impacted by the golf stance and your ability to stay grounded.
With new technology available in the world of golf and the increased knowledge it brings, we can now truly understand how to perfect a golf stance. I’ll give you some actionable tips, do’s and don’ts, and some ideas on how to handle the stance for each golf club in the bag.
🏌️♂️ Types of Golf Stances
There is really just one type of golf stance, but it is modified for the club you have in your hand. You can break these different types of golf stances down into:
Some golfers have asked me whether or not it is necessary to change the stance from one club to the next, and my answer is always yes. Our stance helps us get set to hit the best possible shot. If you don’t adjust the stance, you may struggle to get the most out of your shot. Don’t waste a good swing on a bad stance.
Do You Need Different Golf Stances For Each Club?
With 14 clubs in the golf bag, there is no reason to have a different stance for each club. However, when switching from irons to the driver to wedges, you will notice some changes in your stance. These changes will impact your ball flight and consistency.
Golf Stance Irons
The irons are the best clubs to start with when learning how to perfect your golf stance. If your iron stance is correct, you can use it as a baseline.
Start with your feet shoulder-width apart; anything narrower or wider can cause issues with balance. Point your toes straight ahead (if you can); if that causes too much stress on your hips, back, or any area of your lower body, feel free to turn the toes out a quarter turn.
For most golfers, especially seniors, the right foot (right-handed player) can be turned a quarter of a turn, and it helps with rotation and mobility in the swing.
Weight should be balanced between your feet. Some golfers who have a slightly more compact swing will put a little extra weight on the left side at the address. If you are good at rotating, this isn’t a bad idea.
Finally, you will want to ensure that your weight is balanced in the center of your feet. Don’t lean on your toes or your heels; see my advice below about my experience with this weight distribution in the feet.
Golf Stance Driver
The driver golf stance is the one that makes players want to develop all the power they can. When you grip that driver, your stance needs to be stable and efficient to get the distance you want.
However, most amateurs really take this too far.
Have you ever seen the player with this stance so wide and knees so bent that you wonder what it is they are actually attempting to do? Yes, that’s the player that heard, “wider stance for the driver to give you more stability.”
Without the caveat “slightly wider,” that statement can lead to major swing issues.
Yes, a golf driver’s stance should be slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Ensure your left and right foot are just on the outside of your torso line, nothing more.
I’ve explained this concept throughout all of my informational articles, but it’s worth mentioning again; small adjustments in golf lead to significant changes.
As far as weight is concerned on the driver, I like to put a little extra on my right side as more of a way to remind myself that I’m going to load up completely. One more tip of advice here is to ensure you keep the angle of your right knee bent throughout the swing.
If you straighten up as you swing back, it will cause issues with consistency and power.
Golf Stance Wedge Shots
I find the adjustment between iron shots and wedge shots is quite simple. If you are taking a full swing shot with a wedge, the only thing you will do differently (that with a 7-iron shot) is to put a little extra weight on the left side at the address.
However, when you start taking half swings and shorter shots around the green, your wedge stance needs to get narrower. The narrower stance makes it easier to get control, hit down and through the ball and ensure you are on the proper line for your wedge shots.
I also find that opening my stance just a bit helps for a higher ball flight. The open stance occurs when I drop my left foot back just a bit, and my body becomes a little more open to the target.
Play with this concept at the range because, at first, it can throw off alignment and swing path.
You may also want to look at what golf wedges are essential to carry in your golf bag.
Golf Stance Putter
The golf stance for your putter is where you can have fun and be more creative. Of course, there are recommended best practices with feet slightly narrower than shoulder width and as square as can be.
However, I’ll give you a little secret.
I do my best putting when I point my toes toward the ball. As I mentioned in the golf iron stance setup, it becomes easier to rotate your lower body when toes are pointed out. However, with the putter, we don’t want any rotation.
If you take a look at Arnold Palmer’s putting stance, you can see that he did something similar to lock in his legs when he putted. I think the most important thing about a putter stance is ensuring that you do it the same exact way each time.
Variation in the stance is what leads to inconsistency in the stroke and even alignment.
Common Golf Setup Mistakes That Can Wreck Your Shots
The stance is not the only part of the setup. In addition to making sure your stance is correct, you also need to check these boxes.
Ensure you have a posture that is not too bent and not too upright. The easiest way to get into this position is to act as though you are going to sit on a stool. Sitting on a chair would create too much knee bend, and not sitting is not enough knee bend.
In addition, hold your head high while getting into your posture (even if you triple-bogeyed the last hole!). Too many golfers trying to “keep their head down” will have almost no space between their chin and neck, which restricts the shoulder turn.
For the majority of golf shots, your clubface should be square to the target. If you don’t know what a square clubface looks like for each club, find a 90-degree angle (like a door jam) and setup to it.
Hold each club until you see what square looks like and bring that knowledge out on the golf course.
Golf Ball Position
The position of your golf ball changes with the club you have in your hand. Middle for the irons, inside left heel for the driver, hybrids, and fairway woods between irons and driver, and the wedges are just slightly back from center.
If your golf ball is off your back foot with a hybrid, your results will be ugly.
Weight transfers from mostly centered to the right side and then back to the left side. If you are not efficient with your weight transfer, or you swing with just your arms, the results are less powerful shots with little to no accuracy.
Balance & Stability
The stronger your legs are, the easier it is to stay balanced. I’ve been running for a few years, but when I played competitive golf, I did not run. Even though I’m older, I get just as much, if not more, power now than I ever did.
My legs are more muscular, and I can trust them with whatever speed I have. So, don’t discount the importance of exercise and stability as it relates to your golf swing.
Finally, the grip needs to be as close to the neutral position as possible at address. If your left hand is turned too far to the left, it impacts the right hand’s position and causes a more hands and arms type golf swing.
Using Ground Force in Golf to Gain Power
Ground forces in the golf swing are a relatively newer concept. The idea here is that the ground remains consistent throughout our swing, and if we want more power, we can leverage the ground.
More and more professional golfers are working on the concept of pushing down (or pushing off) the ground to gain some extra speed throughout impact.
What I love about ground forces is that sometimes changing your mindset and thinking about the ground as a tool can impact your golf swing. The next time you head out for a practice session at the range, start to feel as though your feet are digging into the ground as weight is transferred back to your right side.
As you get through impact, you are pushing off the right side and moving towards the left, all while leveraging the power of the ground.
Golf Stance Drills to Improve Distance & Flexibility
When it comes to golf stance, the key is to practice and experiment. In addition, I highly recommend taking some videos to see how consistent you are with your stance.
When you find something that works, make sure it’s incorporated into your pre-shot routine so that it can be repeated each time you swing.
Once you have your proper stance, you can then work on some rotation drills to get the most out of your shots.
Advanced Golf Stance Tips for Lower Handicap Golfers
Lower handicap golfers should be able to break down more complex concepts into more detailed opportunities for improvement. For instance, as a golf professional and +1 handicap, I know that weight needs to transfer to my back foot.
I’ve been playing for 30 years, and I’m good at this weight transfer, or so I thought.
Recently I had a chance to use the Swing Catalyst, and the sensors showed that I’m not quite as good at my weight transfer as I thought. It turns out that as my weight was transferred back to my right foot, it was moving toward the outside of my heel as well.
This caused a loss in power and a clubface that was slightly closed.
Now I think about when transferring my weight, it really gets moved to the inside of my foot, in the center. I’m able to utilize ground forces better and have a really stable position to push off of.
In addition, the clubface is more square than it has been in a long time.
Lower handicap golfers should be focusing on where the weight is transferring, not just whether or not it transfers. Chances are you transfer weight just fine.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a few of the most commonly asked questions about the perfect golf stance and how it can improve your ball-striking ability.
What is the golfing stance for beginners?
Beginners should have a proper stance width that is about shoulder-width apart. The golf stance is an athletic stance with weight balanced between the left and the right foot as a starting point for beginners. Beginners need to be sure they don’t create too much knee flex in their swing and maintain that knee flex throughout the backswing.
What are ground forces in golf?
As we are standing or setting up to hit the ball, the ground is exerting a certain amount of force; at the same time, we exert force back into the ground. The key is to maximize and utilize these ground forces as a way to gain power. The more you can feel connected and push off the ground in the swing, the easier it is to have balance and consistency.
What is the key to power in the golf swing?
The legs are the key to power in the golf swing. This starts with the correct golf stance and then using ground forces to increase speed. In addition, when your clubface is square, and your wrist angles are correct, you can get a straight shot that goes quite far.
Final Thoughts on Your Golf Stance
The stance is just one part of the total golf setup, but it’s a really important one. Whether you’re trying to improve your score for a golf tournament or just enjoy the game more, finding your golf stance is paramount.
Work on these concepts and drills to perfect your stance and you will notice it has a direct impact on your golf game.