How Wide Should Your Golf Stance Be?

How wide is your stance in golf? This is a great question for all golfers regardless of their skill level. This important question has rattled around in my head for about a month.

After analyzing my swing (for the first time on video), it was very clear that I had absolutely no lower body movement; I mean none. Additionally, this year I struggled with consistency off the tee, this dramatically increased my frustration while playing my favorite sport . When I mentioned this to my friend Kirk, he said that I have always swung the club this way! Needless to say, I was completely surprised! I maintained a 4 handicap for 10 years and this year it dropped to 2.8! I cannot seem to lower my handicap any further, mostly because of my limited distance and inconsistent play off the tee. Well, now I have my next project as I continue to strive towards being a scratch golfer.

While at the PGA Tour Canada Golf Clinic at Wildfire Invitational this past Wednesday, a young pro noticed my stance woes immediately. He recommended that I widen my stance about two inches with each foot! As I moved my feet out, it felt like I was doing the splits. However, after hitting about 20 balls on the range that day, my new stance started to feel more comfortable.

Curious about my new found knowledge, I started to research the proper distance and location of my feet in my stance. To my surprise, I found that everyone had an opinion and very few were exactly the same. So here is what I found that was consistent among most articles:

  • Everyone’s stance will adjust according to their physical stature. Being short, tall, stout, thin, or average will have a direct impact on the width of your stance.
  • The shoulder width rule (your feet shoulder width apart) is an okay guideline, but flexibility will definitely impact your foot position. The more flexible, the wider your stance.
  • “Basically, what you need to do is find neutral joint alignment.  In other words, find where the center of your ankles, center of your knees, and center of your hips stack up over each other.”
  • “Consequently, the most efficient width of stance should be no wider than shoulder width for most full swing shots, including your driver.  With this width you will more likely maintain a dominant rotary force.  This will lead to greater club head speed and better dynamic stability.”

Here are a couple of videos  that help explain the advantage of a proper stance and how to figure out what is best for you.

After widening my stance, I have suddenly found 10-20 yards off the tee. I am more consistent when hitting my driver just by moving my feet a couple of inches farther apart. Not to suggest this is an easy fix, I still have to hit the range to determine the exact position of my feet, where the ball should be placed in my stance for all my clubs, and build confidence to swing through the ball! I am excited about my new project and will keep you posted as things progress!

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!

24 thoughts on “How Wide Should Your Golf Stance Be?

  1. “Ben Hogan begins his instruction on this topic with the width of the feet. He recommends shoulder width apart for the mid-irons, slightly wider for the long-irons, fairway clubs and driver, and slightly narrower for the short irons and wedges. I have found these recommendations to be totally reliable. I also agree with his advice for feet angle. The right (back foot) should be perpendicular to the intended line of flight and the left (the front foot) is turned out slightly to the left (toward the target). But before we move from here, let’s take some time (for us non-athletes) and consider some more even basic skills. Ben assumes we just do them naturally — like he. We do not, and here is where much of our confusion begins in learning and executing the swing. “The basic skills revolve around these questions. How do we know how far we should be from the ball? How much spine-angle should we apply when lining up the club to the target? These two questions are foundational and precede ones about the width and angle of our feet.”

    Excerpt From: Mike Stair. “Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons.” iBooks. https://itun.es/us/KfNyD.l

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  5. Jim- I have a fairly narrow stance too- I’ve adopted it awhile ago after finding I don’t lose that much distance with the “feet together drill” and stayed pretty narrow to avoid over-swinging and falling out of balance (you’d literally fall over). Perhaps it’s time to try to widen the stance a little bit again! Thanks for the reminder.

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  6. Another important factor in the stance is how your weight is distributed on your feet. It should feel that your weight is over your arches toward the heels. This allows the body to turn easier. If the weight heads toward the toes it will inhibit turning. A great drill is too swing with the toes up in the air pressed against the top of the shoes. You will see how much freer your body will turn.

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  7. Jim, great topic. Did the pro widen your stance for more stability or to eliminate excessive lateral movement? I wonder because if you are too active with your upper body to start with, a wider stance may reduce your ability to fire your hips on the downswing even further. Glad to hear it’s working though. May be several factors in play here. Thanks! Brian

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    • Brian

      I had no movement in my lower body. I widened my stance to help develop more distance without having to swing hard. It does provide stability, but actually helps promote a full body swing! I am loving it.

      Cheers
      Jim

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  8. Little add-on comment.

    The other corollary piece to this puzzle is foot angle during the stance. Place both feet at 90 degrees to the target line? Or turn the left foot 20 degrees towards the target? (like towards 10 o’clock if 12 o’clock is perfectly perpendicular) or fan both feet out? or….

    This will also influence how much you can rotate thru the swing. FYI – don’t quote me but hogan votes for turning the left foot out a little. I find I do best – assuming I’m kizmit with my stance width that day – with both feet perfectly perpendicular that I feel almost pigeon toed but it keeps my swing honest.

    Just puttin it out there. Happy labor day – SVGolfer

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    • Thanks for the input. That sounds like another article. Hogan says to keep the back foot at 90 degrees to target and to point front foot slightly towards the target. Young her players have a different idea.

      Cheers
      Jim

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  9. Good stuff. Makes sense. Thx Gr8flG. i’ve been thinking about this but never had a chance to investigate. Ill need to check it out once I stop working on my new tempo focus. But this scratches me right where I itch. The center of joints thing is an easy enough rule to remember without getting too complicated. To the bat cave!! Thx.

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  10. Jim, I happen to be a firm believer in keeping as wide a stance as possible when hitting driver as this keeps me consistent. I too went to the range and tried every width, including an almost ridiculous width that was uncomfortable at address, however I found at impact I swung through the ball without issue. Now I must admit, this is not how I would position myself at address during a round. What I have attempted during recent rounds is a further width than normal and I found success off the tee. It was just over the past 6 weeks that I found the right width for me that allows for maximum club head speed and consistent direction. I am still outside of shoulder width with the inside of each foot and I am comfortable at set-up and more importantly, at impact. For me, a perfect address position wins you style points, however impact position is what lowers your scores – I only hope to get to your handicap!

    Great topic and thanx for sharing your insights

    Kirk

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    • Kirk

      I should have listened to you a month ago when you were telling me about your wider stance. I will have to figure out the exact space between my feet, but it will be around the with of my shoulders with the inside of my feet. Quite a bit wider than normal or should I say past normal! Thanks for commenting!

      Cheers
      Jim

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