The golf stance is the first step to a successful golf swing and shouldn’t be taken fore granted. If you’re struggling to make consistent contact and hit straight golf shots, starting with your stance can be a first step for change.
The golf stance is made up of different components:
- Shoulder position
- Spine tilt (posture)
- Feet width apart
- Ball position
- Weight / Balance
- Distance from golf ball
Correct Shoulder Position – Golf Stance 101
When setting up with your golf driver, you’ll want to create some tilt in your shoulders by dropping the back shoulder toward the ground slightly. This angles your front shoulder upward.
This shoulder tilt method is specific to the driver to help you swing up on the golf ball, sweeping it off of the tee. It should not be used for fairway woods and irons.
For fairway woods and irons, you’ll want to maintain level, straight shoulders with no tilt. This will help promote a downward strike on the golf ball which is needed to get it to lift off the ground.
Hitting down on the ball is essential for irons and woods, unlike a driver that requires swinging upward instead of downward.
Don’t get the two mixed. Keep the setups separate. Trying to hit with tilted shoulders for iron shots can lead to chunking and poor contact.
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Correct Spine Tilt – Golf Stance 101
Spine tilt is how much bend forward you have at your hips. If you stand more upright and vertical, you’ll have low spine tilt. If you’re hunched over pretty far, you’ll have a lot of spine tilt forward.
Find the comfortable spine tilt that suits your size and height.
If you find yourself chunking the golf ball quite often, you may be getting too low during the swing. Try standing a little taller and more upright with less spine tilt. During the swing keep your head higher and don’t let it dip.
Correct Stance Width – Golf Swing
Stance width is how far apart your feet are from each other. Wider stances are important for stability when you are swinging with more power, like with your driver.
Narrower stances help give you more control with wedge shots.
Start by taking a shoulder width stance for irons and fairway woods. This means if you drew vertical lines from your shoulders down to the ground, these lines would intersect with your feet.
Take a slightly wider stance than shoulder width for driver swings to give a little extra stability and balance to the swing power being generated.
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Correct Ball Position – Golf Stance
Ball position impacts where the club comes down to the ground and bottoms out as it makes contact with the golf ball.
Longer golf clubs need the ball moved more forward in the stance to avoid chunking as the longer club needs extra room for a longer shaft length to swing through the hitting zone.
The ball position for the driver should start at your lead leg’s heel if we drew a line from the heel up to the ball.
For most wedges and short irons, you can swing with the ball position in the middle of your stance. Mid-irons and longer irons should have a ball position forward of center.
Finding the correct ball position for each club will help promote crisp contact for better ball striking. It will also help you hit straighter and with the correct trajectory.
For example, moving the ball too far back in your stance will lead to lower trajectory golf shots and moving it to far forward can lead to too much height on the trajectory. This can affect distance and overall shot quality when the improper trajectory is used for certain clubs.
In general, keep the ball slightly forward of center and move it further forward of center towards your lead leg the longer the club shaft gets, ending up with Driver being the most forward ball position of all clubs in your bag.
Correct Weight Distribution Golf Swing
Stand over the golf ball with pretty even weight distribution between your left foot and right foot. The back leg, which would be your right foot for right handed golfers, should receive slightly more weight during your golf stance for Driver swings.
Starting with your weight back slightly, will help reduce the amount of weight shift backwards during the swing, which reduces overall swaying. Too much swaying can lead to poor contact.
Instead, starting with more weight on the back leg, helps you get locked and loaded during the backswing to then transfer the weight back forward on the downswing to generate massive power.
Be careful about how you transfer weight. Think “rotate” rather than “sway”. We want to rotate our body around a core center line on the takeaway and then let it unwind around this center line on the downswing.
Most golfers, however, find themselves swaying left and right which causes ball striking contact issues. Improper weight shift can lead to hitting behind the ball as well as topping the ball.
How Far to Stand from Golf Ball
Standing too close too the golf ball can lead to overcrowding the ball. It can make it difficult to get the arms and hands and hips to clear during the shot, leading to pushed shots as well as hooks and slices.
Back away from the ball so your feet stand further away from the ball / target line. This will naturally pull your arms out away from your body a little bit extra, giving them some breathing room.
When you place the club behind the ball, and you are gripping the club, your hands should be about one hand width away from your belt buckle.
If your hands and butt of your club grip are almost touching your belt buckle, this means you’re too close to your body. You need to get your arms and hands extending out away from your belt buckle a little more to give them some breathing room.
Overall, find a comfortable stance that fits your desired swing plane (steep vs flat) as well as your body height and flexibility. Every golfer has unique needs in the swing based on their physical makeup. Some golfers are more flexible and can change the swing to fit this increased flexibility.
So don’t feel guilty like there is only one correct golf stance! Find the one that adapts to your needs and gives you the best results during the swing. Keep in mind the stance tips today that could help you fix chunks, slice, hooks, based on making changes to your stance and setup.