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How wide should your golf stance be?
Although it’s one of the basic fundamentals, don’t worry if you still wonder how wide your golf stance should be - you won't be alone. However, getting this right will ensure you have the perfect ball position with every club, which will help you finally reach your potential. In the video and article below, PGA pro Ben Emerson runs through everything you need to know...
When looking at the width of your stance, it’s really important to understand what you’re trying to achieve. Essentially, it’s about producing two things: a nice stable base and a body turn that helps you move away from the target and then back towards it. In some ways, these two requirements work in opposition to each other so there is a vital balance to be struck... and it is different depending on which club you are holding.
The basic rule is the longer the club, the wider your stance needs to be. This is because the extra shaft length creates more clubhead speed and to control that, you need the added stability of a wider stance. This goes some way to explaining how launch angle and power are linked.
It’s also important to remember that if your stance gets too wide, the mobility of your swing and your weight shift will become restricted and you will lack overall power. So there is a fine line between the two, which is why it’s vital to keep on top of the basics.
With the correct driver address position, you’re looking to establish a base that will provide stability and speed. To do this, start by setting the ball up inside the heel of your lead foot - use alignment sticks when practising to make this easier. Crucially, your hands should hang down naturally from your address position - do not push your hards towards the target, this will de-loft the club and cause problems through the impact position.
Having your feet shoulder width apart is a great baseline and from there, take one more step away from the target with your trail foot to set the ideal base from which to produce power. By doing this you should also feel how your weight moves towards your trail foot - this is ideal for driving.
But what about when you’re not trying to hit the ball as hard? When hitting a 7-iron for example, you still want stability but you don’t need the same width as with the driver. Again, shoulder width apart is a great starting point, with the ball just a fraction forward of centre.
From here, widen the stance ever so slightly and you’ll be in the perfect position to rotate from a stable platform. Get this right and you'll be able to master the ideal weight distribution in the golf swing.
Finally, moving on to wedges, and this is an area of the game that’s all about finesse, so you don’t need as stable a base. All you need is a stance that’s going to keep you in balance, allowing you to retain control while you rotate back and through. On full shots, around shoulder width apart works well and that can be made narrower as you approach the green and the swing length reduces.
One Final Checkpoint...
You shouldn't look at stance width in isolation without also checking the position of your sternum. Quite simply, it should be directly above the middle of your stance, regardless of which club you have in hand. If your sternum moves towards the target, so too will your weight and this could cause thin strikes and low trajectories. Too far back and you'll be in danger of hitting heavy shots. If your stance width and sternum are both in the correct position, you'll have a much better chance of hitting the ball sweetly.
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Location: Sand Martins GC
Ben’s modern approach to golf coaching has seen him become one of the most sought-after coaches in the country and teaches none other than Robbie Williams. His honest, modern and fun style of coaching has help thousands of golfers of all ages and abilities and he has been coaching for over 20 years.
Advice for practice:
Start with slow, small swings. If you can’t do it small and slowly there is not a hope in hell of doing it at full speed with a full swing! In other sports such as rugby or martial arts they slow learn new moves/plays before making them at full speed.
‘Why guess when you can access’ Ever new student goes through a full TPI movement screen, 3D motion capture and pressure plate analysis as well as TrackMan and 2D video analysis. Coaching is based on facts and not guess work.
Most common problem:
A lack of clubface understanding and awareness. I get golfers to aim the clubface directly at the target and get them to make a slow swings and deliver the club to the ball with an open face, then repeat the same thing again but with a closed face, followed by one at the target. Giving them full awareness based on feelings errors to find a happy middle ground.
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