Many times you will hear golf stance referred to as the address position. For amateur golfers, getting the proper golf stance can take some time, patience, and practice.

As a scratch golfer, I still work on things like the position of my upper body or where my left foot is in relation to my right. Weight balancing and distribution is a never-ending battle as well.

Here are some simple steps to help you find the proper stance for your golf swing and ultimately play more consistent golf.

What is the proper golf stance?

image of man demonstrating the proper golf stance - AEC Info

The proper golf stance has your feet in a balanced position about shoulder-width apart. Your arms will hang down from your sides in a way that allows you to swing the golf club freely while still maintaining the correct posture.

Ultimately the proper stance allows the club to return to get to impact position while you are still stable, balanced, and ready to get the most power you can.

Amateur golfers make a LOT of mistakes when it comes to stance. Many will have a stance for their fairway wood that is entirely different than that of their irons (this doesn’t need to be the case!). 

Why is the proper golf stance important?

The golf stance is a pretty close representation of what impact will look like. If you can get your body into the correct position, the thought is that you can return to that position at impact. In addition, when you have the perfect golf stance, it’s so much easier to take the golf club back on the correct plane and stay in balance throughout the swing.

Tips for creating the proper golf stance

Golfers need to learn the correct golf stance, but at the same time, be prepared for it to change slightly with turf conditions, the lie of the ball, and the club in hand. Here are some tips and basic steps to help get your stance correct every time.

Balance your weight correctly (for a better weight transfer)

Your body weight can help you create great power in the swing. The traditional golf swing requires a weight shift from the neutral position to the right side and then back to the left at the end of the swing.

Balancing your weight correctly from the start helps to give you a better center of gravity and potentially increases power.

The perfect setup has weight centered over the ball of your feet. Most golfers keep the weight distribution 50/50 at setup. However, regarding the shorter irons and wedges, you may put a little extra weight on your left side (for right-handed golfers).

Don’t stand too far or too close

A stance that is the correct distance from the golf ball tremendously impacts where your golf shot goes. You could take a perfect swing and hit the ball off the toe of the club head simply because you stand too far.

In addition, if your stance is too close or too far from the ball, it impacts your swing plane.

Always make sure your feet are positioned so that you can naturally reach the golf ball without having to stretch or hunch over and not feeling like your club will get stuck at impact.

You can see our previous post on Golf stance distance at address.  You may also enjoy the our post on the benefit to Stand closer to the golf ball

Heel-to-toe weight balancing

Amateur players often overlook weight distribution between the heel and toe of your foot. The best way to find the center of the feet is to rock from the toes to the heels.

When you do this, you will see where the middle is.

Most golfers find their weight too far back on their heels, which can cause issues with Thin shots or even a closed clubface at impact.

Ball position

image of man finding a good ball position - AEC InfoThe ball position changes from one club to the next. In addition, ball position is not always an exact science; here are some general concepts to remember.

  • With the driver position the ball off the inside of the left heel
  • When Hitting a fairway wood, move the ball slightly back from where the driver position is
  • Long irons and hybrids are just forward of center for the ball position
  • Mid-irons and short irons can all be played in the middle
  • Some shorter shots around the green or bunker shots can be played toward the right foot
  • Most players find that placing the ball in the center of their putting stance is the best option.

Hands in line with the golf ball

When creating the perfect golf stance, pay attention to hand position.

Your hands must be in line with the golf ball. Some golf clubs have offset making this happen more. Naturally, others may require a slight push forward. Setting up with your hands behind the golf ball could lead to an improper impact position.

Lining the club up

The golf club should almost always be set down square with the face pointing straight to the target. When the clubhead is properly aligned, expect a more consistent golf shot.

I like to look at the clubface in relation to my feet, hips, and shoulders to ensure it is square. If my feet are pointing one way and the club another, chances are I’ll end up with some side spin on that shot.

Knee flex

The old “bend the knees” concept can confuse some golfers. Although we need an athletic stance in golf, bending the knees may be a little more extreme than necessary. Instead, work on feeling a slight flex in the knee, enough to release the pressure and tension in your legs, not enough to feel bent over.

Shoulder alignment

picture proper shoulder alignment - AEC Info

The alignment of your shoulders should be the same as your hips and feet.

Many amateur players focus on getting their feet square, and then they have shoulders pointing to the right of the target. Pay close attention to the shoulder alignment to ensure a straight shot.

Your shoulder alignment will also be something to pay attention to when hitting a Golf draw vs fade.

Be prepared for golf stance to change

After all this great information about the golf stance, you have to be prepared to make slight adjustments to it based on the club you have in your hand. This is Why golf is hard!

For instance, my feet are a bit wider with a driver than with a pitching wedge. In addition, the ball position also changes slightly, and there is a change in weight distribution.

The one thing I want you to remember is that these changes are minimal. Most amateur players tend to exaggerate the modifications to the stance, and it can get extreme. Simple changes in the placement are all that you need.

How does a golf stance change from one shot to the next?

The proper golf stance and even the correct golf posture will change a bit from one golf club to the next. Three things to look out for here are ball position, weight distribution, and the distance from the ball.

  • Ball Position: Your foot position will be slightly wider when hitting a longer golf club; in addition, the golf ball should be hit on the upswing with the longer clubs. Move the ball closer to the left heel as your golf club increases in length.
  • Weight Distribution: too much weight on the heel or the toe will lead to an uncomfortable position in the swing.
  • Distance From the Ball: to keep your spine angle with just a slight bend and the upper spine stable, you can’t reach too far for the golf ball. Ensure your shoulder blades are not hunched, and you can naturally reach down and hit the ball.

What are the three stances in golf?

There are three stances in golf known as open stance, neutral stance, and closed stance. Open stance helps golfers who struggle with rotation as it makes it easier to move through the ball and add a fade shot to your golf game.

The closed stance is a golf setup used to help players hit shots left, and the neutral is the natural position you want to be in most times.

Final Thoughts

Although the proper golf stance requires an athletic position, it’s a bit different than you will see in other sports. Make sure you practice the perfect starting position for your golf swing. Creating the proper body position and club position leads to a more consistent impact and better ball striking. Regardless if you have a Good golf handicap this is something you can benefit from!