Hey guys, Chuck Quinton here, founder of RotarySwing.com, 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.
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!
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.