Golf Swing Stance – Does It Change For Different Golf Clubs?

You may be as athletically talented as the greatest to have played the game; you may be able and willing to spend countless hours on the practice range; you may even be happy to invest thousands of dollars in learning the next big idea in golf instruction theory.

But none of this will cut your handicap by a single shot unless you’re building on the solid foundation of a correct golf stance and posture.

Click here for all you need to know about the proper golf stance

All of that being said, a good stance for golf is relatively simple to achieve, provided that a few fundamentals are observed.

Stance Change and Width

The key here is to keep it natural. Too wide a stance will restrict your mobility and ability to make a full backswing turn. Too narrow and you will be unstable and risk losing balance during the swing. If you doubt this, try making some full shots with your feet together (a great drill, by the way) and observe how difficult it is.

Addressing the ball with feet about shoulder-width apart seems to work best for most players when hitting driver and the longer irons, and the stance will gradually narrow with the medium and shorter irons.

The Proper Golf Stance – Driver

Don’t exaggerate this, though. It’s always crucial to maintain stability during the swing.

Secondly, it’s important that your posture sets you up to allow you to deliver a solid downward blow into the back of the ball. This means that you are neither crouching too much or standing too erect when the sole of your club is resting gently on the ground.

To get into the correct position, stand tall and hold your club straight out in front of you – upper arms brushing your chest. Now bend your knees as though about to sit on an imaginary stool or shooting stick a couple of inches below your butt. Then simply hinge forward from the hips until the clubhead lightly touches the ground.

The Right Golf Set Up for Irons

You will naturally have to bend over more with the shorter clubs, but this is nothing to worry about. And on a related point, if you’re serious about reaching your full potential, it’s well worth getting clubs fitted to suit your height and arm length.

Finally, your legs should be flexed but not tense, as though you were about to jump a few inches into the air. For extra stability, push your knees very slightly together so that your weight is evenly distributed on the insides of your feet.

How to Place Your Ball in the Correct Golf Position

Conventional wisdom has it that the position of the ball within the stance should be determined by the length of the club being used, So you would play the ball off your lead heel when hitting driver, gradually moving it back until it is midway between your feet when playing your short irons and wedges

It sounds logical enough, but in fact it is a sure recipe for inconsistency. Given that we always want to hit the ball just before the club reaches the natural low point of its arc, and that this point will be the same for every club in the bag, there is no reason ever to change the ball position.

You can determine the low point of your arc by taking practice swings without a ball and noticing where your club hits the ground. But for almost all players it will be a point on the ground directly below the lead shoulder.

Simply position the ball a couple of inches behind this point, and you’re good to go.

Following the above guidelines will give you a sound start to every swing.

But click here now for more details on how to build your golf stance on a truly scientific and biomechanically sound basis



What is the correct golf stance?

Although everyone is built differently and stances should vary slightly, all stances should NOT have a rounded neck, should have balance in the middle of the foot, and ankles rolled in slightly.

Where should the golf ball be in your stance?

The ball position should NOT vary for your clubs (except the driver).  Playing the ball slightly inside the front heel for EVERY shot is key to consistency.

How far apart should feet be in a golf stance?

Playing the ball from the SAME position with each club, your back foot should then move slightly further back as the club gets longer.

What is the best stance for driving a golf ball?

Tee the ball higher, ball further up in the stance, tilt the spine back, and then make your normal swing, don’t try and go up and get it, just make your normal swing, let the club work slightly up on the upswing to catch the ball on the center of the face, and you will hit the ball further.

Hey guys, Chuck Quinton here, founder of, and today we’re gonna talk about the golf stance, and specifically the golf stance width, because so many golfers have been given the wrong information for so long, and when you stop to think about it, the way that I’m gonna explain it to you, it just doesn’t make any sense what you’ve been taught.

So what’s most commonly taught is that your golf stance width should change based on whatever club you have in your hand. So for instance, if you have a pitching wedge in your hand, your golf stance should be narrower than if you have a three iron in your hand. So let’s look at that for a second and let’s just think about what golf stance width really should be based on.

michelle wie golf stance
Wide load coming through!

The most important part, especially when we’re talking about irons, is making sure that we hit the ball cleanly. And to hit the golf ball cleanly with a crisp, solid strike, the ball has to be in a position that’s gonna allow the club to do that without hitting the ground first, of course. That seems pretty common-sensical. But if you think about things logically, you’re gonna see how this golf stance idea, changing your stance, it doesn’t make a lick of sense.

So what determines the bottom of your swing arc? Well, it should be pretty simple to understand by now that you’ve got pivot points in the golf swing, and all of these things work together in this algorithm, if you will, to determine the bottom of your golf swing arc.

And in the case of any golf club, but particularly irons, we’re gonna talk about this more in depth, your golf stance width is gonna be based on the width of your pelvis, because the width of your pelvis and the position of your lead shoulder – for most golfers, that’s gonna be your left shoulder if you’re playing golf right handed – is what’s going to primarily determine the bottom of your swing arc.

That’s not to say that you can’t alter it. You can certainly make your club bottom out much too early and hit the golf ball fat or much too late by doing stuff with your arms, wrists, hands, so on. But of course, in an ideal world, we want our arms and hands to more or less be passive clamps on the club.

You don’t want to be actively trying to make the golf club bottom out in a certain position because we’re never, ever going to be able to time that consistently. That’s why it’s so important to have a proper golf stance width and proper golf setup, because then you don’t have to try to do anything with your arms and hands.

But I can assure you, when the golf ball is in the wrong position, you’re going to instinctively and subconsciously begin to manipulate that golf club every single time and you’re not even going to realize it, and that’s how you start building in really bad habits in your golf swing that are really hard to get rid of over time.

So we want to avoid that, so we wanna really start thinking about things objectively, not based on what you’ve been taught in the past. I want you to critically think for yourself, what really makes the club bottom out in the same spot every time, which is the goal, especially when you’re hitting irons.

Release the Kracken!

vijay singh release

So if you took your right hand off the golf club completely, and we can see this in many golfer swings, such as Vijay Singh and Phil Mickelson and many others, who let their trailing hand actually come off the golf club almost entirely. In Vijay.’s case he’s barely holding on to the golf club at all after impact.

So that must mean that the left hand is still holding on, of course, because the right hand’s almost completely coming off. So the left arm is being told where to go in terms of the bottom of the swing arc from the position of that left shoulder, because that’s where your arm’s attached to your body, of course.

So if my arm’s attached to my left shoulder then the bottom of my swing arc is going to be at the low point directly beneath the center of my left shoulder. Now as you put the right hand on the club, that helps move the bottom of the swing arc back slightly, but if you’re releasing the golf club properly, that right hand should be throwing the club.

It’s helping the club acceleration by releasing the club. If you hold on to the golf club tightly at impact with your right hand it’s going to slow the golf club down. That’s the opposite of a release. Think about what it means to release something. It means to let go.

So if you’re wanting to release the golf club to allow it to speed up independent of you, that means your right hand has got to essentially almost come off. That’s why we have that Vijay release drill on the website, because it helps you speed the club up with no effort on your part whatsoever. You’re going to pick up a ton of club speed just by doing less, letting go.

But if the golf ball is in the wrong position in your golf stance, then it’s not gonna do you a lick of good because you’re not going to hit it anyway, and you’re gonna need that right hand on there because that’s your dominant, coordinated hand, to try and make that golf club bottom out in a specific spot.

Stop Manipulating the Club!

We don’t want manipulations in the golf swings. We’re going to take that right hand out of it and if you just focus on the bottom of your left shoulder, draw a straight line down from the center of your left shoulder down to the ground, that is about where the bottom of your swing arc is going to be. And you can move it back slightly again because your right hand is still going to be on the golf club.

More importantly, let’s not even talk about that for now, because more importantly, since we have this pendulum motion of our lead arm from our left shoulder like a grandfather clock, remember the grandfather clock, that pendulum never, ever misses the bottom of its swing arc, right? That pendulum hits the exact same spot every single time because the pivot point never ever moves.

That’s the goal. When your left shoulder’s moving all over the place at impact, we’re in trouble. That’s one of the reasons your body has to actually decelerate and stop rotating in the impact area, because you’re going to move that pivot point and every time you move that pivot point, guess what else you move? The bottom of your swing arc.

And if you tend to hit the golf ball off the toe all the time, that’s another great indication that you’re moving that left shoulder away from the target line, away from the ball during the strike, and that’s why you’re whacking it off the toe.

But anyway, back to our big problem here with the golf stance and that my theory is that the RotarySwing fundamental is that your golf ball should always be in the same position with all clubs except for the driver because that’s a specialty club. We’ll talk about that later.

So now, when you pick up that golf club and you now understand you want to be like a grandfather clock to some degree. It’s an over exaggeration of course, but it helps you get the idea that the left arm is acting almost as a pendulum. Not exactly, of course, but almost like a pendulum, and that determines the bottom of the swing arc. Now, when you pick up a different golf club, does the position of your shoulder change?

No, okay.

What about the width of your pelvis?

When you pick up your four iron, does your pelvis get wider?

No, it doesn’t happen either? Hmm, it seems kind of fishy that you would want to change the position of the golf ball and your golf stance every single time you pick up a different golf club because the bottom of your swing arc is determined by your geometry of your body, not the golf club.

golf is hardMaybe Golf Isn’t Hard Enough For You…

Then again, you might be one of those who doesn’t think golf is challenging enough as it is and so you would rather learn 13 different golf swings where the club bottoms out in 13 different places based on your 13 different golf stances?

The golf club by itself doesn’t have a swing arc. Doesn’t move at all. It’s completely useless, dumb, and doesn’t do anything on its own. Your body is telling it what to do. And just like with anything else, if your body is doing something and it’s not changing every time you pick up a different golf club, then why on earth would you change the position of the golf ball in your golf stance?

Doesn’t make a lick of sense.

So your golf stance, the width of it, is going to be determined by the width of your pelvis and that’s also going to help you determine the position of the golf ball. But the position of the ball is primarily determined off your left shoulder. So let’s talk about your golf stance width for a second. If you’re setting up to the ball and you have a really wide stance, you’re going to feel really stable and really anchored to the ground.

That’s great, but you’re going to have a really hard time shifting your weight in your golf swing without your head moving all over the place. So when Rotary Swing golf instructors look at the setup of their students, the first thing they’re looking at is the requirements of setup.

tiger golf stance
Tiger doesn’t need an overly wide golf stance, so why should you?

Golf Stance Requirements

Our requirements are that our golf stance should be narrow enough that we can transfer our weight without our head moving all over the place, but wide enough to be stable to fight all the forces that are at work in the golf swing. Based on that, we’ve concluded that you can stand two inches outside of neutral joint alignment in your golf stance and meet those three requirements. Because those really are the only thing that really matters in your golf stance, is being able to setup wide enough for stability and narrow enough to transfer your weight without your head moving all over the place.

So in doing that, that your golf stance width never changes.

So say that you’re going place the ball off your left heel, for instance, or left instep or whatever you wanna call it for now, let’s just say that you do that and then you start widening your stance and widening your stance because you’ve been taught you want to do that by your golf instructor. Every time you do that you’re having to move the ball further and further up.

Again, you’re introducing a ton of variables into your golf swing that are completely unnecessary. Your golf stance should be the same for every single club in the bag, because what we’re trying to do is meet the requirements that I just gave you for golf stance. Click here if you’re looking to learn more about the stance and setup fundamentals of putting.

When you pick up a different golf club, your requirements don’t change. You don’t all of a sudden need for your head to move all over the place because you picked up your hybrid.

Doesn’t make any sense at all.

You’re still going to hit down on those longer golf clubs. So unless you’re picking up a driver, every single club in your golf bag, the golf stance width is exactly the same.

It should never, ever change. Now that’s not to say that for certain things you wouldn’t wanna change it. You could, for sure. If you want to hit the ball lower or whatever, there’s obviously changes that work.

But for a fundamentally sound basic golf swing, the golf ball position doesn’t change and your golf stance width never changes in the swing.

If you are still struggling with your swing and an over the top slice, check out my free ULTIMATE Guide to Fixing Your Slice here!

Chuck Quinton

is the founder of the RotarySwing Tour online golf instruction learning system. He played golf professionally for 8 years and has been teaching golf since 1995 and has worked with more than 100 playing professionals who have played on the PGA, and other major tours around the world.

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