A common mistake among golfers is that your stance should always be shoulder width apart. Shoulder width is a really good starting point, but it does not take into account making adjustments based on the golf club you are using and the type of shot you are hitting.
Golfers may have a preference for a slightly wider or narrower stance, but in general there are stance widths and ball positions considered optimal for the best overall performance.
The article focused on your golf stance width, but we will also touch on the golf ball position. It is important to consider these elements together, as one without the other will result in compromised results.
In this article we will take a look at what golf stance you should have for the different clubs in your bag as well as where the ball position should be. We will also give some telltale signs that your stance is either too narrow or wide.
Table of Contents
For your driver, you want your stance to be a little wider than what you consider a ‘normal’ stance and the golf ball should be parallel with the inside of your left heel.
The driver has the longest shaft and is swung with the most power. A wide stance helps to create a stable base, whilst a forward ball position creates an upward attack on the golf ball. Combined, this is ideal for maximizing the distance potential of a driver golf swing.
Fairway woods require the slightest of adjustments from your driver. You still want your stance just wider than normal, but you want to move the ball position backwards toward the centre of your stance by only an inch-or-so.
Creating a stance for a fast and powerful swing is the priority, but you do not want to hit a fairway wood as upwards as a driver due to the smaller clubhead.
Hybrids / Irons
For all hybrids and irons you should take what you consider a normal stance.
Hybrids and longer irons will have the golf ball positioned roughly halfway between the centre point of your feet and your left heel. As the irons get shorter, the ball position should move slowly toward the centre of your stance.
A normal stance typically tends to be around shoulder width. It should create the desired combination of both stability and mobility. Irons and hybrids will still require full shots with a powerful swing, but a shorter shaft and great precision also needs a more fluid movement.
When using a wedge your stance will depend upon the type of shot you are playing.
Full-swing wedge shots are similar to short irons, with a normal stance and the ball positioned centrally between your feet.
Anything less than a full shot, for example a pitch, will benefit from a narrower stance. Pitch shots do not require much stability in the stance, because you are hitting with less force. Therefore, you can have a narrower stance for maximizing your hip rotation and creating more flexibility. You can then be more inventive and play several types of shots.
A stance that is too narrow
If your stance is too narrow then you will be prone to losing balance and over rotating your lower body through the swing. This can cause difficulty timing the golf ball as well as potential slices and hooks.
Does it feel like your legs are getting to the ball before your body? Well then there is a good chance your stance is too narrow.
Senior or less mobile golfers may sometimes prefer a slightly narrower stance. This allows for greater mobility and makes it easier to transition weight through their swing.
A stance that is too wide
A stance that is too wide makes it difficult to rotate your body and transfer your weight through the swing. The common overcorrection here is to get your hands too involved, which can result in a number of wayward shots.
Feel like you're unable to open up your hips through impact and instead you ‘flick’ your hands through the ball? It could be that your stance is too wide.
Some of the most athletic powerful athletes can choose to use a wider stance when going ‘all-out’ with their driver swing. They have the athleticism to make this movement work, but need additional stability in their stance.
Using a slightly wider stance can also help in extreme wind and when hitting a shot from an uneven ground. The extra width helps to keep you stable.
In order to ensure you are getting the most from your clubs, you should alter your stance to suit the golf clubs you are hitting. However, it is just as important to get your standard iron stance correct beforehand.
This normal stance lays the foundation for every other adjustment you make. You need to find the right balance of stability for your golf swing, without sacrificing too much movement. A shoulder-width stance is an excellent starting point for most golfers, but it won’t work for everyone.
It might be worth having a short lesson with your local PGA Pro to simply take time on your stance and ball position set-up for each of your golf clubs. There is no point in trying to improve your golf swing if you are not setting up correctly to start with.
Find out what works for you and then, as with everything in golf, the best way is practice, practice, practice!