At some point, you’ve probably been told that it is a good thing to golf with a relatively wide stance.

Why Balance is so Very Important to the Golf Swing

Why Balance is so Very Important to the Golf SwingAfter all, balance is important in the golf swing, so a wide stance should help you remain balanced as you swing the club back and through. But can you take this tip too far? What will happen if you keep spreading your feet farther and farther apart at address, until they are well outside shoulder width? Would this be a good or bad thing for your game?

Well, we can tell you this for certain – you will eventually run into trouble if you keep making your stance wider and wider. A relatively wide stance technique is likely a good thing for many golfers, but you don’t want to go too far. At some point, you’ll start to experience diminishing returns, and you will run into problems that stem from your particularly wide stance.

In this article, we are going to discuss the problems you may have when using a really wide stance, and we will offer some tips on how you can find an appropriate stance for your game.

It is good to have a discussion regarding the width of your stance, as this is a topic which is overlooked by many amateur golfers. Too many players ignore the stance as they work on their games, and they struggle to improve as a result. Much of the work that needs to be done with your swing actually takes place before the club even goes in motion. If you can build a proper stance, and consistently work on that stance during practice to make sure it remains solid, you will be a big step ahead of the competition at your local club.

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.

Signs You’ve Gone Too Far

Signs You’ve Gone Too Far

In this section, we are going to dive right into the question which was posed in the title of the article. If you use a really wide golf stance, what problems are you likely to have?

It is important to understand how a particularly wide stance can get you into trouble, as you’ll then be able to watch for signs of trouble as you move your feet farther and farther apart. Should you happen to notice any of the points listed below starting to pop up in your game, take a moment to consider the possibility that you’ve already made your stance too wide.

  • Inability to get into a good finish position. One of the obvious signs of trouble with your stance is an inability to get all the way onto your left side when finishing the swing.
  • A proper finish position has most of the golfer’s weight on his or her left foot, with only the toe of the right shoe touching the turf. If your stance is too wide, it will be nearly impossible to make it all the way into that position. Instead, you’ll get stuck back on your right side, leaning away from the target as you swing through the ball.
  • This is not a good position to find yourself in at the end of the swing, and you will struggle to hit good shots as a result. It does need to be mentioned, however, that failing to reach a proper finish position doesn’t necessarily mean your stance is too wide, as there are other issues which could be at play here as well. When your finish position is not what you would like it to be, use that as a sign that your swing needs some attention one way or another.
  • Difficulty making a full turn in the backswing. A proper backswing is powered by an excellent shoulder turn away from the target. The exact length of your shoulder turn is going to be determined by your own personal level of flexibility, but each player should do his or her best to make a good turn while staying balanced.
  • If you find that your turn is shorter than it was before you widened your stance, you may have gone too far. As your feet get farther and farther apart, you’ll eventually reach a point where you feel ‘stuck’ during the swing and unable to turn as far as you would like. The stability offered by a wide stance is a nice benefit, to be sure, but going too far and using a really wide stance is going to harm your shoulder turn too much to be effective.
  • Hitting the ball fat frequently. It’s never a good feeling when you hit a shot fat. You don’t even need to look up to see where the ball is going to go – you know as soon as you make contact with the ground that it isn’t going to go far. While every golfer will hit a shot fat from time to time, you don’t want to fall into a pattern of hitting one fat shot after the next.
  • When it starts to feel like a fat shot is inevitable each time you stand over the ball – especially with your short irons – you will want to double check your stance to make sure you haven’t set your feet too far apart. You need to be able to move your lower body through the shot in order to make clean contact and avoid hitting the turf before the ball.
  • To do that, your legs have to play an active role in the downswing, something they will struggle to do if your feet are too far apart.
  • Back foot slipping out in the downswing. This sign of trouble is likely not as common as the others we’ve mentioned, but it deserves to be pointed out here anyway. If you notice that your back foot is slipping out from under you a bit during the transition from backswing to downswing, your feet may be too far apart.
  • Specifically, your right foot may be too far out to the right, and it will not have as much of your body weight directly on top of it as a result. Without as much weight to hold it in place, the foot may slip, and your entire swing will be thrown off. This probably won’t be much of an issue when swinging on flat ground on a dry day, but it can become troublesome quickly when playing from a slope or standing on wet grass.

If you are running into any of the problems listed above, there is a good chance your stance has become too wide. That is not guaranteed to be true, of course, but it is certainly a possibility that you should take a moment to investigate.

It would be a shame to make more dramatic changes to your swing in an effort to fix a problem that could have been corrected by simply moving your feet closer together. In the next section, we will discuss how you can get down to work on building a quality stance that will successfully serve your needs on the course.

Finding the Right Stance

Finding the Right Stance

We’ve established the fact that you don’t want to end up with an excessively wide stance when you are hitting a golf shot. Although standing with your feet so far apart might feel stable and secure, such a stance is going to cause more harm than it is going to do good. So, how do you find an appropriate stance for your swing. There are a few different ways to go about this task. Let’s take a look at some options and techniques below.

  • Trial and error. Believe it or not, this is how you will wind up figuring out most of the parts of your golf swing. Simply by heading to the driving range and testing various stances, you can gradually work your way into a stance that feels comfortable and provides nice results.
  • If you are going to use this option, try starting with your feet roughly shoulder width apart and then go from there. Move them out a bit to experiment with a wider stance, and move them in a bit to try out a narrower stance.
  • Keep an open mind as you go into the process and watch your results carefully, so you can make a wise decision as to what kind of stance is going to serve you well going forward. The downside to this plan is it can take a bit of time to eventually work your way into an ideal stance, and you may need to repeat the process with different groups of clubs.
  • Back up from the finish. Instead of starting by setting your feet in a certain position, try starting in an ideal finish position and then work your way back into a stance. This is an easy drill you can use on the range, and it just might allow you to find a stance that places your feet a comfortable distance apart.
  • Take one of your clubs and pose yourself in what you feel like would be an ideal finish position. Your left foot should be flat on the ground while only the toe of your right shoe is touching the turf. You should feel well balanced and able to hold this position for at least a few seconds.
  • Once you have created a comfortable finish position, pretend like you are ‘unwinding’ the swing and work your way back down to an address position. Once at the bottom, the sole of your right shoe should be back on the ground, and you will have automatically placed your feet in a stance. Hopefully, you are comfortable with the way this stance feels. If so, you can move on to hit a few shots to test out this stance width.
  • If possible, mark the position of your feet with something you place down on the ground, so you can be sure to use the same stance width over and over. There may still be slightly adjustments that need to be made, but the ‘back up from the finish’ idea is one that may help you find your stance in only a matter of minutes.
  • Ask for help. For some golfers, especially those without a lot of experience in this game, the best option is going to be simply taking a lesson from a local professional in order to have some assistance in creating a proper stance.
  • Teaching professionals are well versed in the basics of the game, so you can be sure your chosen instructor will be able to offer advice on how you should position your feet before starting each swing. Of course, a teaching pro is going to be able to offer far more advice than just helping you build a stance, so you should be able to get a lot out of your lesson. Ask at your local course about the lesson options they have available if you are interested in getting help from a pro on the important fundamental of stance width.

You may be surprised to find just how much better your swing feels when you have a proper stance to support you from start to finish. It’s not easy to make quality golf swings under any circumstances, but it is especially tricky when you are making a mistake like setting your feet too far apart. Take the time now to correct this error so it doesn’t haunt you for many rounds to come.

Other Address Position Concerns

Other Address Position Concerns

In this section, we are going to step away from the top of wide stances and instead talk generally about the rest of your address position. Many golfers dramatically underestimate the importance of the address position in the overall golf swing equation.

The position that you start from has a dramatic impact on the kinds of shots you are able to produce, so be sure to spend plenty of practice time on this topic. While it might not be very exciting to work on your address position, there are big gains to be made here if you can find ways to improve your stance.

  • Keep your chin up. This is a point which countless amateur get wrong when they stand over the ball. In an effort to keep their head down, many players put their chin down into their chest when taking a stance.
  • That is a big mistake. If you push your chin down, it is going to be directly in the way as you attempt to make a should turn away from the ball. Ideally, you will be able to set up with your chin up and away from your chest, creating plenty of space for your left shoulder to turn freely in the backswing. You still want to keep your eyes looking down at the ball, of course, but you can do that without forcing your chin down.
  • In addition to permitting a better shoulder turn, keeping your chin up is also going to help your posture overall.
  • Engage your lower body. The lower body plays an essential role in the golf swing. At address, you can get off to a good start by flexing your knees and making sure your lower body is engaged and ready to work. You should feel like you are ‘sitting down’ into your posture, with your knees flexed and your backside sticking out behind you.
  • This is an athletic position, and it is a great way to get started when preparing to swing a golf club. If you were to just stand straight-legged over the ball, you’d struggle to generate any kind of meaningful power. Get down into your stance at address and feel all of the power that your legs have to offer.
  • Let your arms hang naturally. You don’t want to feel like you are crowded at address, with your arms pinned in close to your upper body. At the same time, you don’t want to feel that you have to reach out awkwardly just to set the club head behind the ball.
  • It is a middle ground that you are hoping to find, where you can settle into a stance that lets you reach the ball with ease, yet also provides enough room for you to swing through freely. This all comes down to standing the right distance from the ball, and you are only going to find that proper distance through a process of trial and error.
  • During an upcoming practice session, spend some time experimenting with how far away from the ball you stand. It may take a bit of work, but you should be able to find a comfortable distance from the ball before too long.

It’s best not to let things get too technical when it comes to your address position. You don’t want to have to think through a long checklist of points just to take your stance before every shot, so strive to keep things simple to the greatest extent possible. Pay attention to the three points above – along with the width of your stance, of course – and you should be on the right track.

The Width of Your Stance in the Short Game

The Width of Your Stance in the Short Game

To finish up this article, we are going to discuss how you can find the proper stance width when playing short game shots. You should never overlook the importance of your short game when trying to improve your level of play. Many golfers think that their full swing is holding them back, when in reality they could make huge strides just by improving on or around the greens.

Let’s start with the width of your putting stance. The key here is simply to make yourself comfortable. It’s possible to putt well with a narrow stance, and it is possible to putt well with a wide stance. Since you aren’t making a full swing, most of the issues we mentioned earlier with regard to a wide stance don’t apply here.

If you find that it is comfortable to make your putting stroke with your feet rather far apart, feel free to use that method. The goal during a putting stroke is stability, so make sure the stance you select is allowing you to be as stable and steady and possible while the club is in motion.

When you step off the green and into the rough for chip shots, the idea is much the same. You’ll still want to focus on comfort first and foremost, as you still aren’t making a very big swing. With that said, it is a good idea to chip from a slightly open stance in order to promote an outside-in path and a downward hit.

Swinging down from the outside will help you pop the ball up into the air with ease, and it will also help you add as much backspin to the shot as possible. Set your left foot just slightly farther from the target line than your right foot and you will be ready to go.

Finally, we arrive at the topic of bunker shots, and we find that the width of your stance becomes more important once again. Since greenside explosion shots are played with a big swing in most cases, you will want to set your feet rather far apart at address.

Also, wiggle them into the sand slightly so they don’t slide around while you make the swing. Just like when chipping, setting up in an open position while in the bunker is usually a good plan. So, in the end, it is a wide, open stance that will help you deal with those pesky greenside bunker shots.

We hope you have gained an understanding of what can go wrong with your swing when you build a particularly wide golf stance. If you are willing to put in a little bit of time and effort on this part of your technique, you should be able to improve your results in relatively short order.

Update: Why Balance is so Very Important to the Golf Swing:

  1. Consistent Contact:
    • Balance ensures a stable foundation, allowing you to make consistent and solid contact with the ball. Maintaining balance through the swing contributes to a more predictable impact position.
  2. Swing Control:
    • Balance provides control over the entire swing motion. When your weight is evenly distributed, you have better command of the club, reducing the likelihood of errant shots.
  3. Power Generation:
    • Proper balance facilitates the transfer of power from your body to the clubhead. It allows you to use your body's rotation effectively, maximizing clubhead speed and generating power in the swing.
  4. Accuracy:
    • Balance is crucial for accuracy. A balanced swing promotes a more predictable and controlled path of the clubhead, leading to shots that are on target.
  5. Prevents Swaying or Tilting:
    • Maintaining balance helps prevent unnecessary lateral movement, such as swaying or tilting, during the swing. Excessive lateral movement can lead to inconsistent ball-striking.
  6. Posture Maintenance:
    • Balance contributes to maintaining proper posture throughout the swing. Good posture is essential for a mechanically sound and repeatable golf swing.
  7. Weight Shift:
    • Balance facilitates a controlled weight shift during the swing. Proper weight transfer from backswing to downswing and follow-through is essential for power and consistency.
  8. Prevents Over-Swinging:
    • A balanced swing helps prevent over-swinging, where excessive movement can lead to loss of control and accuracy. It encourages a more controlled and efficient swing motion.
  9. Enhances Rotation:
    • Balance allows for smooth rotation of the body during the swing. Proper rotation contributes to a full and complete follow-through, essential for a well-executed shot.
  10. Reduces Tension:
    • Being balanced reduces tension in the muscles. Tense muscles can hinder the fluidity of the swing and affect the overall quality of the shot.

Q&A On Why Balance is so Very Important to the Golf Swing:

  1. Q: How can I improve my balance during the golf swing?
    • A: Practice balance drills, maintain a stable lower body, and ensure a good weight distribution. Engage in exercises that enhance core strength and stability.
  2. Q: Can poor balance lead to swing flaws?
    • A: Yes, poor balance can contribute to swing flaws such as swaying, loss of posture, and inconsistent weight transfer. It's essential to address balance issues for a more reliable swing.
  3. Q: Should I focus on balance during the entire swing or specific phases?
    • A: Balance is important throughout the entire swing. Pay attention to balance from setup through the backswing, downswing, impact, and follow-through.
  4. Q: How does balance affect shot shaping?
    • A: Balanced swings provide better control, making it easier to shape shots intentionally. With good balance, you can more effectively manipulate the clubface to achieve desired ball flights.
  5. Q: Can balance be affected by equipment, such as the golf club or shoes?
    • A: While equipment plays a role, balance is primarily influenced by your body's mechanics. Ensure your clubs are fitted correctly, and wear comfortable, supportive shoes for stability.
  6. Q: Is balance equally important for short and long shots?
    • A: Yes, balance is crucial for both short and long shots. Maintaining stability ensures consistent ball contact and accuracy across various distances.
  7. Q: How often should I practice balance drills?
    • A: Incorporate balance drills into your regular practice routine. They can be done daily, and consistency in practicing balance will contribute to improved stability on the course.
  8. Q: Can balance issues be related to poor weight transfer?
    • A: Yes, poor weight transfer often results from balance issues. Addressing balance helps facilitate a smoother weight shift during the swing.
  9. Q: Does balance play a role in preventing injuries in golf?
    • A: Yes, maintaining good balance helps prevent unnecessary stress on joints and muscles, reducing the risk of injuries during the golf swing.
  10. Q: Can a proper setup contribute to better balance?
    • A: Absolutely. A proper setup with a stable and balanced stance sets the foundation for a well-balanced swing. Ensure correct alignment, weight distribution, and posture at address.