Using an open putting stance is not particularly conventional in the modern game of golf. Today’s best putters, such as Tiger Woods, tend to use a more standard stance where they set up parallel to the target with their feet.
However, an open putting stance, where a line drawn across the front of the toes would actually miss the target on the left without being parallel to the target line, was used by possibly the greatest golfer of all time, Jack Nicklaus. If you struggle with your putting, especially with your longer putts, then try playing your stroke from a more open stance, where your feet are aiming left of the target if you are a right handed golfer.
If you consider your body position through impact on full golf shots that you play with a full golf swing, you initiate your down swing action from your lower body, by turning and rotating your hips towards the target. You do this to clear your hips out of the way so that your arms are able to swing the club along the target line and at the target.
When you set up to play a pitch shot or a chip, you set your stance open so that your hips are rotated towards the target and again you do this so that through impact your arms are able to swing the club head along the target line and at the target.
With the club head swinging along the target line and with the club face aiming down the target line, at the target whilst this is happening, you will hit straight golf shots.
Opening your stance when you putt allows the same principle to apply. If your hips are rotated towards the target, you can swing your arms so that the putter head follows the target line and with the putter face aiming directly down the target line, you will hit a putt accurately along the target line. With your putts starting more accurately along the target line, especially on longer putts, you will become much more accurate and your longer putts will improve.
In order to open your stance when putting, initially set up with your feet just under shoulder width apart and the ball positioned in the centre of your stance. Ensure that your eyes are positioned directly over the golf ball, or just on the inside of it so that your arms are able to hang freely from your shoulders when you hold the putter handle. This will create a free moving pendulum in your arms and the putter.
Now pull the foot closest to the target directly back by about four to six inches. This will open your feet and hips so that a line drawn across the front of your toes would miss the target on the left (and for your hips too), but it will allow your shoulders to remain parallel to the target line. This will now allow you to swing your arms through impact and along the target line much more freely, improving your accuracy.
However, opening your putting stance also improves your sight and the line of your stance. When you read the green before you putt, you stand directly behind the golf ball and the hole. You stand directly on the target line looking down it with your body facing the ball and the hole. Opening your stance gets your body in a more similar position to this as it allows your body to turn towards the target more than a conventional stance does.
Work on opening your putting stance the next time your practice your putting or when you are out on the course and you should find that the accuracy of your longer putts really improves.