The feet are a less considered component of the golf swing but are incredibly important in maintaining the balance and stability to support a swing that can be travelling up to 120 miles per hour.
The position of the feet at address in the golf swing need to be considered in two ways:
1. The width of the stance - the ideal width of the feet should be just outside of shoulder width apart. This position gives the golfer the ability to turn the hips and shoulders enough to create a powerful turn in the backswing but still keeps the balance for a controlled and consistent swing. Too narrow in the feet and the golfer can turn the hips and shoulders more but there will be a tendency to lose balance, too wide in the feet and the legs become very stable but the amount the golfer can turn is very limited. To get the correct width of stance, take a golf club and hold it across the shoulders. Measure the width of the shoulders by holding the club with the hands at the points where each shoulder rests on the club. Place the club on the floor still holding the club at these points and place the feet next to the hands to set them at shoulder width.
2. The feet need to point in the correct direction - at set up, the back foot should point straight forwards at 90 degrees to the line connecting the ball and the target. This provides resistance for the backswing turn as the shoulders and the hips turn back against the back foot. Resistance will be felt in a tightening of the muscles across the knee and hip which gives the golfer a good coil to create power. If this foot is turned out away from the body, it allows too much turn and not enough coil. If the foot is turned into the body there will be too much resistance and the golfer will be unable to turn enough in the backswing. The front foot should be positioned so that it is pointed slightly outwards towards the target, at approximately 1 o’clock in the set up position. This can be increased to 2 o’clock if there are flexibility or injury issues in the front knee or hip. The front foot is positioned here to allow the hips to turn fully in the forward swing, allowing the club and body to accelerate through the ball in a full turn and at maximum speed to face the target. The foot set in such a position reduces the pressure on the front knee and ankle in the finish position, particularly in those golfers who have injuries or strength issues in these areas.
Using the correct foot position at set up can increase the distance that the ball can be hit while maintaining stability through the golf shot.