Golf tips: Stance

A square setup will encourage a square impact. A square stance means the feet are parallel to the target line. Imagine railroad tracks. Your feet are touching one rail and the ball is on the other rail.

A closed stance will encourage an inside-to-outside swing path, causing a draw. An open stance may encourage an outside-to-inside swing path by giving your arms and shoulders more freedom.

Position the ball a couple of inches inside the left heel for most shots. A consistent position helps develop a repeatable swing. Playing the ball too far forward in your stance tends to open the shoulders encouraging an outside-to-inside swing, often causing a slice.

To reduce the problems caused by a poor setup. Many swing faults occur from an improper setup. This can cause unnecessary adjustments during the swing. Taking care to position the ball, feet, hips and shoulders properly ensures building a good swing foundation. Testing has shown golfers with open stances show no more tendency to slice than golfers with closed stances. The open stance may give the golfers a little more opportunity to slice, because it allows a little more freedom in the downswing and follow-though. The square stance is used by most successful golfers. Beginners should start with a square stance. As you advance, you can experiment with the advantages of other stances. Avoid extreme stances. Experiment to find the stance that works best for you. Take care to set up consistently on all normal shots.

To start with a proven ball position. Moving a golf ball even two inches forward or back in your stance can make a great deal of difference in shot consistency. Start with the ball a couple of inches inside the left heel. After you master this consistent ball position, you can experiment with other ball positions. However, a ball too far to the front of your stance will increase the chances of a slice by encouraging an outside-to-inside swing. A ball too far back in the stance will make it difficult to get the clubface closed by impact and may cause a push or a push slice.

To achieve the goal of hitting the ball at the bottom of the swing arc. Your drives should be hit slightly on the upswing, iron shots are struck slightly on the downswing. Fairway woods are hit at the bottom of the swing arc.

Do and Don'ts
Be sure to check the location of the ball with clubs aligned on the ground. Step away to check that you are positioning the ball properly. Ask someone to double-check your positioning. It is hard, without alignment tape or clubs, to visually gauge the proper placement of the ball.