There are a number of variables involved with your address position, including golf ball placement in your stance and the distance from golf ball that you stand before the shot. Complicating matters is that golf ball placement for different clubs will vary, so your address position will need to be slightly adjusted for every different club in your bag. The key is to invest practice time in your address position just like you do for the other parts of your swing. It might not be as fun or exciting to work on, but practicing your distance from golf ball at address and other pre-shot fundamentals is crucial to your success.

Golf is all about removing variables prior to making a swing. You want to get everything in just the right spot to give your swing the best chance at success. If you are taking a different address position prior to every swing, you will stand very little chance of finding consistency with your ball flight throughout the round. Taking a quality, repeatable address position allows you to check one item off of your swing to-do list. Even if you change nothing else about your swing, simply improving your address position can go a long way.

When was the last time you worked on your address position? If you are a serious golfer with aspirations of shooting lower scores, this is something you should be pay attention to frequently during your practice sessions. It is no exaggeration to say that your address position can make or break the outcome of any given swing.

Unfortunately, the address position is one of the basic fundamentals in golf that tends to be overlooked by the average amateur. It’s not particularly exciting to work on your address position when you visit the range, so most golfers just skip it and think about other things. With this article, we’d like to stress the importance of building a good address position. If nothing else, we hope you come away from this article with a renewed appreciation for the importance of this part of your game.

All of the content below is based on a right-handed golfer. If you happen to play left-handed, please take a moment to reverse the directions as necessary.

— What is an Address Position?

Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, we need to take a moment to discuss what the address position is in golf, and why it is important. Too many golfers rush right into working on their games without taking time to learn about the various fundamentals and why they matter. If you take the time to give yourself a bit of a golf education, it’s far more likely that you’ll make progress in the long run. Reading articles like this one is a great start.

Your address position includes what you probably refer to as your ‘stance’, but it’s more than that. In addition to the position of your body before hitting each shot, your address position also includes the position of the ball relative to your stance, and the position of the club. When you bring this all together, you have an address position that is largely going to determine where the ball heads when all is said and done.

If you are like most amateur golfers, you haven’t spent much time previously thinking about your address position. In fact, you may have never before given this topic any consideration at all. So, why should you take some of your valuable golf practice time and dedicate it to this topic? Let’s take a quick look at why the address position is so important.

Address Position Problems For The Golf Set Up
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How And Why You Should Soften Your Left Arm At Address
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Address Position
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Golf Arms At Address

Address Position – Lesson by PGA Pros Pete Styles & Matt Fryer
Should You Hover All Your Golf Clubs At Address
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The Advantages Of Hovering The Golf Driver At Address
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Make Sure at Address you Align Eyes Over the Golf Ball Ladies Best Putting Tip
Jack Nicklaus Head Tilted At Address And Held During The Golf Swing
Jack Nicklaus Sitting Into His Golf Address Position
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Feel Of The Golf Club At Address
Adam Scott Golfer, Correct Golf Swing Begins at Address Pro Golf
Golf Pro Jack Nicklaus: Unique Address Positions
Adam Scott’s Flawless Golf Swing Starts At Address
Golf Pro Keegan Bradley: Weight on Heels at Address

Fat Golf Shot Drill: Right heal up at address and impact
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Right Hand Golf Tip: What is the Proper Foot Work Sequence from Address to Full Finish
Right Hand Golf Tip: How to Address the Golf Ball at the Right Distance
Right Hand Golf Tip: How the Hips Should be at Address and Impact

What Position Should My Left Arm Be As I Address The Golf Ball?
What Should My Spine Look Like At My Golf Address?
  • Support the swinging action. One of the key functions of your address position is to support the aggressive move that you will make once the club goes in motion. Golf has a reputation as a slow, gentle game, but that’s not really the case while the swing is taking place. On the contrary, a good golf swing is rather aggressive, as you’ll accelerate the club through the ball while turning hard toward the target. Professional golfers can easily exceed speeds of over 100 miles per hour with their swings, and plenty of amateur golfers can reach the 90 – 100 MPH range. That’s a lot of speed, and to support that speed in a balanced fashion, you need to build a great stance. We’ll talk more later about how your stance can be designed to help you stay balanced even when swinging hard.
  • Start the club in the right direction. Your address position is going to largely determine which way the club goes when it starts moving. Obviously, this is of great importance. You want to start the club relatively straight back from the ball, and you want to do so time after time. If your stance is such that the club naturally wants to start moving way to the outside, or way to the inside, you are eventually going to need to compensate for that mistake before impact arrives. Such compensations are tough to execute consistently, so the overall quality of your ball striking is likely to suffer. Settling into a quality address position – one you can repeat over and over again – will make it easier to start your swing properly, and you should find that the overall quality of your play will take a step forward as a result.
  • Enable a big turn. Making a big shoulder turn is one of the major keys to producing a quality golf swing. Of course, if you don’t have a good stance to work from, making a big turn will do nothing other than knock you off balance. We alluded to the importance of this above when talking about the general support that a good address position will provide for your swinging action, but it is the turn specifically that can benefit. If you think that your current backswing turn is leaving a little something to be desired, consider the possibility that improving your address position could result in better rotation.

There are certainly more advantages than just the three listed above, but those are a good start. Hopefully, by this point, you have all the motivation you need to get down to work on improving this part of your game. Remember, improvement in golf rarely comes quickly, so prepare yourself to be patient and keep an eye on the big picture.

— Identifying Common Address Position Mistakes

The same address position mistakes tend to be seen over and over again among amateur golfers. While we can’t see your stance to make personalized recommendations, there is a good bet that you are making at least one of the errors listed below, if not more. As you read through this list of common mistakes, think about your own address position to see if any of the points hit close to home. If possible, ask a friend to take a picture of you at address so you can accurately diagnose any issues.

  • Closed to the target line. The orientation of your feet as compared to the target line is a huge issue when building a stance. Before you even walk up to the ball to get in position, you’ll need to pick out a target for that shot. Then, you just align your feet to match up with a line that runs toward the target, correct? No. This is what many golfers do, and it is why they get into trouble. Your feet actually need to be on a line that is parallel to the left of the target line itself. If you align your feet with the target, the club is going to wind up aimed to the right of the target. During practice, try placing two extra clubs down on the ground to act as guides. One will be aligned with the target line and will rest just to the inside or outside of the ball. The other will be placed in front of your toes, parallel to the first club. This simple setup will make it much easier for you to position your feet correctly shot after shot. With practice, you’ll find that you no longer need those alignment aids, and you’ll be able to get into the right position naturally.
  • Lack of knee flex. It’s easy to get a little lazy at address and forget to flex your knees properly. Good knee flex is important in your stance because it is another piece that will make it easier for you to turn fully away from the ball in the backswing. Without flexed knees, you’ll find that rotating your body is much more difficult – and you may struggle with the consistency of your strike, as well. By sitting down into your stance with plenty of knee flex, you’ll engage the big muscles in your legs and position yourself nicely for a powerful, repeatable swing. The right amount of knee flex is going to vary a bit from player to player, so experiment on the range until you find a position that seems to serve you well.
  • Hunched over from the shoulders. Ideally, you will keep your back in a relatively flat position from your waist on up to your neck. Keeping your back straight will give you a great opportunity to rotate back and through without moving up and down unnecessarily. Many golfers round off their shoulders when taking a stance, which might seem like a fairly minor error. However, with rounded shoulders at address, you’ll have trouble swinging the club on plane early in the backswing. It’s likely that you will use your hands more than you should in the takeaway, and the club may end up inside of the desired line as a result. An easy way to practice this is to stand in front of a mirror at home while rehearsing your address position – you don’t even need a club. Just stand with a tall mirror to your left, take your stance, and turn your head left to take a peek and see how you’ve done. If your back looks straight and your shoulders aren’t hunched, you should be in good shape.
  • Hands too far ahead or behind. The position of your hands at address is going to dictate the position of the club, as your hands are the only part of your body that is attached to the club. For most shots, you’ll want to have your hands roughly above the position of the ball, which will cause the shaft of the club to be leaning just barely toward the target. Many golfers struggle to find this position, with their hands either much too far forward, or much too far behind the ball. If your hands are too far forward, you’ll likely wind up with a steep downswing, making it hard to achieve clean contact. On the other hand, if your hands are too far back, you may find yourself trying to help the ball into the air at impact. That leads to plenty of fat shots, and even the ones you do hit solid probably won’t have much power. Again on this point, a mirror can come in handy. This time, you’ll stand facing the mirror, so you can evaluate your hand position.

Is one of these issues currently giving you trouble in your game? Or maybe more than one? The sooner you can correct your error, the sooner you can make strides toward lower scores.

— Finding the Perfect Position for You

One of the tricky things about building your address position is that you can’t really copy what someone else is doing. Even if you look at the stances used by the best players in the world, you still can’t feel good about copying what they do. Why not? Simple – your swing is unique to you. The exact way you swing the club, your body type, your flexibility, your strength – all of it adds up to a package that no one else has. So, instead of copying another player, you need to work your way through the process of uncovering the right address position for your game.

While much of this is going to come down to trial and error, we can provide a few tips to point you in the right direction.

  • A width test. To make it easier to keep your balance when making an aggressive swing, you want to make sure your feet are far enough apart. But here’s the thing – if they are too far apart, you’ll actually restrict your rotation and cost yourself power. So, you will want to spend some time experimenting with various widths until you settle into a position that is just right. One good way to test the width of your stance is to compare the position of your knees after the swing is completed. Using your current address position while hitting a few shots on the range, hold your finish after each shot and check on your knees. Ideally, they should be close together while you hold your pose and watch the ball fly. If your right knee is well behind your left, your stance is probably too wide. Or, if the right knee rotates so far forward that it is well past the left, you are using a rather narrow stance. Use this point of reference to help you find the right stance width as quickly as possible.
  • Tailor your address position to your desired ball flight. All golfers should have a specific ball flight that they are trying to produce as their go-to shot. That doesn’t mean you have to hit the same type of shot each and every time, but you should have a favorite shape that you use on most occasions. And, of course, you should create a stance that is going to promote that preferred pattern. So, for instance, if you want to hit a draw, you may place your hands a bit more in front of the ball at address, to promote the necessary inside-out hit. Or, if you want to hit a fade, try bringing your feet a little closer together to make your backswing more vertical. Experimentation will always be the key, so don’t be afraid to try things on the range until you start to see the results you desire.
  • Room for personal preference. Not everything you do with your address position has to be by the book. Sometimes, what works for you might not make a lot of sense from a golf mechanics perspective – but it works. It’s important to give yourself some room to be creative and find ways to make your game better, even if what you are doing goes against common golf thinking. If you watch any golf on TV, you will quickly see that there are many different ways to get the job done, even among the best players in the world. You will see a variety of stances and swings at the highest level of the game, which should be all the proof you need that it’s okay to be creative. Ultimately, the best plan is to stick reasonably close to standard golf fundamentals while allowing just enough room to for creativity to find you way to ideal results.

There is no way around the practice time needed to dial in the right address position for you. Simply put, you’ll have to work your way through some mistakes before you find a stance and club position that leads to solid shots time after time. Don’t look at the mistakes you make along the way as a negative. Instead, see them as steps that are leading you closer to your goals. With any luck, each bad shot on the range will take you closer to some great shots on the course.

— Address and the Short Game

You can’t slack off on your attention to the address position when you get close to the green. Quite the opposite – you need to pay close attention to the small details to prepare yourself for success. Since the swings are short in this part of the game, you won’t have an opportunity to make up for an address position mistake. If something goes wrong with your stance, chances are that error is going to show itself in the outcome of the shot.

The way you address the ball to putt with be different than how you approach a chip or pitch. Shot. For that reason, we have divided our tips into two sections. First, let’s look at some key points for your putting address position.

  • Everything square. When putting, you want to make things as simple as possible. To simplify your aim and stroke, work hard to get your entire body into a square position at address. That means you want to be squared up on a line that is parallel to the left of your target line. So, imaginary lines running across your toes, knees, hips, and shoulders should all be running parallel to the left of your actual target line for the putt.
  • Arms hang free. This is an important point that many people miss. You want to have enough tilt in your hips at address so that your arms can hang free out in front of you. This way, you’ll be free to swing them back and forth during the stroke.
  • Chin up. One other important point relates to the position of your head. While you do want to keep your eyes down during the stroke, you don’t want to bury your chin in your chest. To make room for your stroke to flow, make sure you keep your chin up in a comfortable position.

The following points should be considered when building a chipping or pitching stance.

  • A little open. Rather than focusing on getting square to the target line, allow yourself to play these shots from a slightly open position. This will give you a better look at the target, and it will also make it easier to get under the ball at impact.
  • Adjust hand position based on shot. Want to hit a low chip that runs up toward the hole? Keep your hands well in front of the ball at address. Looking for a higher shot that will stop quickly after it lands? Try moving your hands back to where they are even with, or even slightly behind, the ball. Experiment with different hand positions in practice so you have options on the course.
  • Get wider on uneven lies. You have to be able to adjust on the fly when encountering different chip shots. Should you find yourself on a sloped lie, try using a slightly wider stance to improve your balance and make it easier to achieve clean contact.

You may be surprised to find just how much easier the game can be when you stand properly over the ball prior to each swing. That doesn’t mean golf will be easy, of course, but it can be easier than it was when you were playing from a poor stance. We hope the advice in this article will help point you in the right direction as you strive to improve your address position. Thanks for reading and good luck!