Jake was a competitive golfer for over a decade dating back to the days of being the Captain of his high school golf team. He has played more than 200 courses across 32 different states in the US. Now semi-retired, Jake continues to golf 3-4 days a week with a current 2 handicap, gives golf lessons to his friends and family, and provides a wealth of knowledge to Golf Circuit from his competitive playing days. Jake combines practical expertise with technical knowledge to create golfing strategies and training techniques for both beginners and scratch golfers.
Your golf stance is an essential element of your swing and can significantly impact your balance, stability, and power. One of the most important aspects of establishing a good stance is the width of your feet.
Each club in your golf bag requires a slightly different golf stance to achieve the best results.
While it can vary from player to player, depending on their individual physical characteristics and the club being used, there are some general guidelines that you should follow.
In this article, we’ll provide you with a golf stance chart that outlines the proper golf stance width for different golf clubs. It’ll serve as a useful guide to establish the right stance that works for you.
The Importance of a Proper Golf Stance
Proper stance width is crucial for building a consistent and powerful swing. It provides a solid foundation that helps you rotate your body effectively, with the correct spine angle, and generate maximum club head speed for accurate shots.
Poor setup is the primary cause of a faulty golf swing, and it can lead to bad scores on the course.
Keep in mind that there is a lot of conflicting information out there on the ideal golf stance for a golf swing, and some of it can even be harmful.
Misaligned joints during impact can lead to discomfort, wear and tear, and various injuries in your knee, hip, and back. Therefore, using the correct stance is critical to avoid these potential injuries and improve your golf game.
Recommended Golf Stance Width for Different Clubs
Having the correct stance width for each club is essential for maximizing your power and accuracy on the course. The ideal golf stance for a full golf swing is generally considered to be when the center of each ankle is approximately two golf balls wider than the hip joints.
It provides you with a stable foundation, prevents unnecessary lateral movement during the swing, and enables you to shift your weight efficiently without compromising your balance.
This results in a more efficient, balanced, and powerful swing, leading to better results on the course.
Here’s a chart that you can use as a general guide to improving your golf stance.
|Golf Stance Width
|2 to 3 inches wider than shoulder-width
|long irons, hybrids, and fairway woods
|Slightly wider than shoulder width stance
|Mid and short irons (generally 5- to 9-iron)
|Feet shoulder width apart (roughly)
|About an inch less than shoulder width
When using a driver, it is recommended to adopt a slightly wider stance compared to other clubs because the driver tends to be the longest club in your bag and generates the most clubhead speed.
By widening the distance between your feet by about 2 inches beyond shoulder width, you can lower your center of gravity and improve your stability during the swing. It’ll help you prevent the significant forces, generated by the driver, from swinging you off your feet.
As a result, you’ll be able to anchor yourself to the ground and maximize your power and accuracy off the tee, hopefully.
Long Irons, Hybrids, and Fairway Woods
For long irons, hybrids, and fairway woods, it’s generally recommended to adopt a normal stance.
A normal golf stance means positioning your feet so that the distance between them matches the width of your shoulders, or slightly wider.
Unlike the driver, a wider stance is not necessary for these clubs, as they tend to generate less clubhead speed. When setting up for these clubs, a general guideline is to position the golf ball about 1 – 2 inches under your left armpit or inside of your left heel.
This will help make solid contact and maximize your distance and accuracy with these clubs.
Mid to Short Irons
When you use mid to short irons, you should have a narrower stance, roughly shoulder-width apart. This will provide you with more stability and control, allowing you to transfer your weight more easily.
As these clubs tend to be shorter in length, your body position will be more bent over, and you’ll need to maintain a good posture.
If your stance is too wide, it’ll bring you too close to the ball, which could result in chunking the ground prior to contact.
When it comes to hitting a full wedge shot, your stance should be slightly narrower, with the feet positioned about an inch (or so) less than shoulder-width apart.
It’ll allow your lower body to move more freely, which is crucial when hitting precise yardage or attempting to compress to ball to spin back toward the pin.
Golf Stance While Chipping and Pitching
When it comes to chipping and pitching, a narrow stance is preferred, with your feet only a few inches apart.
It’ll allow your upper body to move more freely to help you perform a smoother and more controlled swing, leading to more consistent shots and improved distance control.
Golf Stance While Putting
When it comes to putting, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach that you can use for the width of the stance, as it depends on the player’s personal preferences.
A wider stance lowers your center of gravity and limits the amount of sway or movement in your lower body. This will provide you with more stability and balance when putting.
But it’s important to experiment and find the stance width that feels comfortable and natural to you and works for your swing, body type, and shot preferences.
After all, you don’t want any discomfort or stiffness affecting your putting stroke negatively. It is one of the most important aspects of golf, so don’t forget to practice!
What Happens if Your Golf Stance Is Too Wide or Too Narrow
Having the proper golf stance is crucial to hitting a good shot.
If your golf stance is too wide, you’ll may find it difficult to shift your weight properly to your front foot during your swing, which could lead to a restricted swing arc, trajectory, and carry distance issues.
If your golf stance is too narrow, you may have trouble with the follow-through of your swing, which can cause the ball to go to the left, if you are a right, and right if you are a lefty.
If you struggle with slicing the ball, narrowing the stance can help you square the clubface at impact and hit straighter shots. But if you tend to hook the ball, which isn’t really a bad thing, widening your stance a bit can help you prevent this.
Tips to Improve Your Golf Stance
Improving your golf stance is more than just finding the right width. You’ll also need to pay attention to other key aspects of your setup, including posture, balance, ball position, and more.
Improve Your Posture
Your posture is critical for maintaining balance and generating power in your swing. The center of the balls of your feet, knees, and upper spine should be aligned on top of one another, forming a straight line.
Additionally, your back knee should be turned inward slightly, pointing toward the target without hunching over at the waist. It’ll make you feel that your hips are sticking out slightly.
This position will allow you to use your lower body to generate power in your swing, rather than relying on your arms.
Pay Attention to Your Toes and Feet
The position of your feet and toes can have an impact on your stance and balance.
Your front foot should be slightly turned out towards the target, while your back foot should be perpendicular to the target line.
This position will allow you to make a full shoulder turn during your backswing and maintain proper balance throughout your swing.
If your toes are pointed too far outward or inward, you may feel unbalanced and struggle to make solid contact with the ball.
Work On Your Balance
Proper balance is essential for a good golf swing. Your weight should be evenly distributed between your toes and heels.
For a more powerful shot, consider shifting your weight slightly towards your back foot during your backswing and then towards your target foot during your downswing.
With shorter irons and wedges, your weight should slightly favor your front foot. Middle irons should be divided evenly between both feet. Long clubs, such as drivers or long irons, place slightly more weight on your back foot.
Check the Ball Position
The position of the ball in your stance can affect the trajectory and direction of your shot. For short irons, you should play the ball in the middle of your stance.
As the club gets longer, the ball should be slightly more forward in your stance, about a half inch for each longer club. When using a driver, you should place the ball just inside your front foot.
Proper ball placement will help you strike the ball more consistently, with the appropriate amount of loft and spin for each club. If you want to learn more about ball position, this video covers this topic well.
FAQs About Golf Stance Width
How does golf stance width affect my swing?
The width of your golf stance can have a significant impact on your swing. A wide stance can restrict hip movement and cause inefficiencies in your swing. Whereas, a narrow stance can make your swing unstable or unbalanced, especially when you’re hitting full shots.
When should I use a wide stance in golf?
A wide stance is generally used for longer clubs like drivers and woods, as it provides more stability and balance for accurate shots. It also helps you shift your weight back during the backswing and allows you to have more power during the downswing.
What is the Proper width for a golf swing?
The proper stance width for a golf swing depends on the player’s height, body type, and swing style. A good rule of thumb is to have a shoulder-width stance for mid and short irons, slightly wider for long irons, and slightly lower for wedges.
Having a good golf stance is critical to achieving a consistent and accurate golf swing. Your stance width, the angle of your feet, your balance, posture, and ball placement are all essential components of your stance.
Improving your golf stance may take time and patience, but it will ultimately help improve your game and lower your scores. By following the tips and techniques discussed in this article, you’ll be on your way to a better golf stance and improved performance on the course.
Another quite difficult concept to grasp is golf club lie angle, but don’t fret, we’ve written an in-depth article on that. So if you are having issues with that, click on that article to learn more.