If you carry a full set of golf clubs, you have 14 different clubs available to pick from on each shot.

Adjust Your Stance Based on Both Club and Shot Type

Do you take the same stance when using each of those clubs? No – of course not. The stance you use to hit a driver would likely not work very well when you need to hit a putt, and vice versa. Your stance needs to be adjusted based on both the club you are using, and the type of shot you are trying to hit with that particular swing.

Fortunately, you don’t have to reinvent your entire stance each time you get ready to hit the ball. There are certain elements of your stance which are going to remain pretty consistent from shot to shot, no matter the club in use. In this article, we are going to break down how your stance needs to change with different golf clubs. Once you get the hang of how to alter your stance to fit the club you are swinging, it will be pretty easy to handle this task while out on the course. In fact, after you gain enough experience, you probably won’t think about it at all while playing. You’ll just naturally settle into an appropriate stance, and you will be ready to swing.

The experience we speak of should not come from playing on the course so much as it should come from hitting range balls in practice. By hitting a large volume of practice shots as time goes by, you can gradually get comfortable with the adjustments needed in your stance. You’ll be able to hit far more shots during a range session than you will during a round of golf, so visits to the practice area can accelerate your progress dramatically.

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.

The Basic Adjustments

The Basic Adjustments

For the experienced golfer, the information in this section might seem a little bit basic. For the beginning player, however, the information found below will be highly valuable when it comes to learning how to play this game properly. And, even if you are an experienced player, reading through this section is a good idea for review purposes, if nothing else.

So, what are the basic stance adjustments you are going to make as you move through your set of clubs? Let’s take a look at some key points.

  • Stand wider as the clubs get longer. This is the basic adjustment that you will need to make to your stance as you change clubs. Most golfers learn this point early in their golf experience, as it is an important one to understand. As you move up into longer and longer clubs, you will want to place your feet wider apart in order to establish a stable base. For example, the stance you use to hit a driver is going to be quite a bit wider than the stance you use to hit a wedge. There are a couple of reasons you should be using a wider stance when hitting your longer clubs. The first reason is balance. You are going to be swinging at a higher rate of speed with your longer clubs, so you want to make sure that you have a steady enough stance to keep yourself balanced. Also, you want to make a flatter swing when using longer clubs like the driver and fairway woods, and a wider stance will help on that point as well. To determine exactly how wide you need to stance with each of your clubs, there is nothing to do but get out to the range and experiment for yourself. Over time, you should manage to find a comfortable stance for each of your clubs, and your game will gradually progress as a result.
  • Stand more upright as the clubs get longer. When playing a shot with a wedge, you are going to be tilted out over the ball rather significantly, due in large part to the length of the club itself. As you work your way up to the driver, you should be standing more and more upright to accommodate the longer clubs. This is another adjustment which is going to help flatten your swing when hitting long shots. An upright stance leads naturally to a flatter swing, while a stance featuring plenty of tilt from the hips is going to create a steeper swing plane. You want that steeper swing with your short irons so you can hit down, and you want the flatter plan with your driver so you can sweep the ball cleanly off the tee. This point is another where there is going to be plenty of trial and error involved on the driving range before you can settle on a stance that you love.
  • Consider turning open or closed. The first two points on this list are ones that nearly every golfer is going to follow. It is pretty much standard practice across the board that golfers are going to stand with their feet wider as the clubs get longer, and that they will stand taller as the club get longer, as well. However, with this last point, there is no standard practice. Some golfers like to stand square with all of their clubs, thinking that method is the simplest way to go. And it very well might be. Other players, however, like to stand at least a little open or closed at address in order to promote a specific ball flight. While it is certainly not necessary to take this approach, it’s worth some practice time to see if this type of stance might work for you. What’s more, you don’t need to stand open or closed in the same manner with all of your clubs in order to have success. For instance, you might find that standing open with your irons is a great way to hit a controlled fade into the greens. With your driver, on the other hand, you may prefer a slightly closed stance in order to produce a tight draw for added distance. Whatever the case may be, feel free to experiment with difference stances until you find a ‘stock’ stance for each of your clubs. We are going to get into this topic in further detail in the next section.

As you gain experience in golf, you will get more and more comfortable with the task of adjusting your stance based on the club you are holding. In the long run, this part of the game isn’t actually all that challenging – it just comes down to experience and paying attention to detail.

Altering Your Ball Flight

Altering Your Ball Flight

In the previous section, we talked a bit about how you can alter your ball flight by changing your stance slightly. We are going to get further into that topic here in this section, as it is an important one to understand if you hope to improve your game moving forward. It’s possible to play pretty well with just a single ball flight, but the ceiling for your game will always be limited. By expanding your selection of shots, you will open up many more possibilities on the course.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can adjust your ball flight simply by making changes to your stance.

  • Standing open or closed to the line. Yes, we already talked about this in the previous section, but let’s get into a bit more detail here. If you want to produce a fade when your normal ball flight is a draw, you may have success by opening your stance slightly to the target line. That means you are going to move your left foot farther away from the ball while moving your right foot in a bit closer. Then, when you make the swing, the idea is to simply swing along your foot line while keeping the club face square to the target at impact. If you can pull this off, the end result will be a controlled fade which can be used in a variety of situations. To promote a draw, you simply need to turn this around. Move your left foot a little closer to the ball than your right foot, and swing down along your foot line once again. If you swing down on an inside-out path, and keep the face square to the target, a draw will almost certainly be the end result.
  • Narrow your stance to hit a punch. We’ve been talking in this article about how you are going to gradually make your stance wider and wider as the clubs get longer. That is true when you are trying to hit a ‘stock’ shot, but it isn’t necessarily going to be true for every single swing you make. For example, if you need to hit a low punch shot with a long iron, you will want to use a narrow stance – something similar to a stance that you would use while hitting a wedge. This narrow stance is going to help you make a shorter swing, which is good for a punch shot, and it should also help you swing on an upright plane (also good for this type of shot). Every golfer should know how to produce a punch shot, specifically because these kinds of shots are so effective on windy days. Practice hitting one or two punch shots during each visit to the range so you can be confident in your ability to produce one when on the course.
  • Add knee flex to hit it high. This last point on our list is likely to be the most difficult of the three to execute. When you would like to hit a higher-than-normal shot, try adding flex to your knees while also moving the ball a bit forward in your stance. The added knee flex should help you to flatten out your swing, which is a great way to increase your launch angle. While you can technically try this technique with any club, it is particularly effective with middle- and short-irons. So, if you need to hit a high approach – maybe to get over a tree, or to stop the ball quickly – try sitting down farther into your stance at address. Of course, you’ll want to try some shots like this on the range before giving it a try during an upcoming round.

Versatility in golf is an underrated trait. Good golfers are not only able to produce consistent shots swing after swing, but they are also able to vary the types of shots they hit based on the circumstances at hand. If you feel trapped by the fact that you can only hit one type of shot, get down to work on learning how to alter your stance right away.

Accommodating Your Own Needs

Accommodating Your Own Needs

One of the tricky things about the game of golf is the way your technique needs to blend basic fundamentals with your own personal style and preferences. You can’t just copy the swing technique of another player, because that other player has his or her own unique characteristics to consider. So, even if you happen to love the swing of a specific player on the PGA Tour, it would be a mistake to attempt to copy that swing move for move. You might be able to pull certain bits and pieces from their swing that you can use in your own game but copying it down to the smallest detail is a recipe for disappointment.

Even when talking about something as basic as the stance, it is important to realize that you need to accommodate your own needs all along the way. The subject at hand in this article – changing your stance based on the club you are using – is a perfect demonstration of this concept. Some golfers will need to make their stance dramatically wider as the clubs get longer, while other players will need to adjust less significantly. Figuring out how you should change your own stance when changing clubs is something that you’ll need to determine by spending plenty of time on the practice range.

Trial and error tends to be the best way to reach satisfactory conclusions in the game of golf. If you aren’t willing to try out different stances, how can you ever know what will work best for you? As you focus on this part of your game, be willing to experiment with different stance positions on the range so you can work your way toward the optimal stance for each of your clubs.

The following tips should help you work through the trial and error process as successfully as possible.

  • Take notes. As you work on your game at the driving range – whether you are working on your stance or something else – it can be difficult to remember everything that you have tried. You’ll forget the things you worked on from session to session, and you’ll wind up going in circles as a result. To avoid that outcome, consider adding a small notebook to your bag so you can jot down some quick notes as you practice. Make note of things that worked, things that didn’t work, and things you would like to try in upcoming practice sessions. These notes will be tremendously helpful in keeping you on track as the weeks and months go by.
  • Watch the ball fly. Don’t make the mistake of looking down at the ground shortly after you have hit your practice shots. The way the ball flies through the air is a piece of valuable information, so you don’t want to miss out on that opportunity. Watch the ball fly all the way until it comes back down to earth and think about what the ball flight is telling you about the swing you produced. For better or worse, the way the ball flies through the air is a direct result of the swing you made, so it is your best interest to pick up that information and take it seriously. If you fail to pay attention to your ball flight on the range, it’s hard to imagine any real improvements taking place on the course.
  • Be patient. This last point can’t be stressed enough when you are trying to make progress with your game. Simply put, you need to be as patient as possible while working on your skills at the driving range. This is because golf is an extremely difficult game, and expecting instant results is just not realistic. If you think that you are going to get significantly better during the course of a half-hour practice session, you’ll almost certainly walk away disappointed. Sure, you can make progress during that practice session, but it will be the accumulation of your efforts over time that really lead to substantial changes. Be patient with yourself, watch for little signs that you are getting better, and always keep the big picture in mind when you practice.

Don’t be afraid to use the stance that seems to provide you with the best results, even if it is a little unconventional. Most players are going to use a steady progression of a wider and wider stance as their clubs get longer, but that might not work perfectly for you. Experiment on the range and come up with a plan that takes you closer to meeting your goals.

The Short Game is a Different Category

The Short Game is a Different Category

To finish up this article, we are going to shift to talking about the stances you will use in the short game. While it may be obvious to experienced golfers, it needs to be said that the short game is an entirely different category as compared to the full swing, at least with regard to the stance. Rather than basing your stance on which club you are holding, you are going to base your stance on the type of shot you are trying to hit.

First, we can talk about putting, as it is relatively simple with regard to the stance you will use. The key ingredient in a putting stance is comfort. You need to feel comfortable over the ball, and you need to be in a position which you can hold easily throughout the stroke. You don’t want to be moving around while the putter swings, so build a stable and relaxed stance that will help you hit your target line time after time.

As you move off the green and start to deal with chip shots, you will need to be ready to adapt your stance depending on the circumstances you face. Even when playing with the same club, you’ll need to know how to stand in a variety of different ways. For instance, it is smart to use a wide stance when chipping from an awkward, sloped lie, while chipping from a flat lie can usually be handled with a narrow stance. Do your best to find a variety of different chipping lies in practice so you are well-prepared when out on the course.

For greenside bunker shots, a wide stance is going to be preferred in most cases. This will provide you with the solid base you need to make a big swing, and a big swing is exactly what is called for on most explosion shots. Try setting your feet just outside shoulder width apart and make sure to wiggle them down into the sand slightly for stability.

Learning how to stand with your feet the appropriate distance apart is one of many skills you’ll need to master in order to advance in the game of golf. This might not be an exciting thing to practice, but it will be worth your time if you are able to play more consistent golf as a result. We hope the information offered in this article will help you spend your practice time in a productive manner. Good luck!