Home » Golf Tips Grip » How Wide Should Your Golf Stance BeAre you wonder about the width of your stance? In fact, lots of g

Are you wonder about the width of your stance? In fact, lots of golfers ask this question and often times they take for granted how important the decision is. Let me ask you one question. Are your legs connected to your shoulders? Then why would we arbitrarily decide that the shoulders are the determining factor as to where and how we position our feet when we are getting ready to swing a club? Typically, many golfers have no idea why they have been instructed to do so or how it really effects their movements and stability.

The fact of the matter is that many golfers are taught to do something with their swing or stance, without being given a reason as to why that is the best way to it. In order to become the best player we can be, it is important that everything we are trying to do has a specific purpose. Therefore, as a golfer it is your duty to ask the question “Why am I doing this?”, or “Why is this important?” If there isn’t a good reason, then odds are there might be a better way.

To figure out the most efficient position, we need to look at several things. First, what is the goal that we are trying to achieve? I think we would all agree that some of our main objectives are to: create a stable base, perform a proper weight transfer, stay balanced throughout the motion, prevent movements that might put us at risk for injury, and ultimately create a consistent movement pattern that we can repeat over and over. Now we must look at the body anatomically and biomechanically to figure out how we can achieve some of these goals in the most efficient way.

Even though we are all basically designed with the same general skeletal structure, we are all somewhat different in our body types. For the sake of this topic, I am specifically talking about the differences from one individual to another in regards to their shoulder and hip width. Does every golfer with a 34-inch waist have the same shoulder width? Of course not. Some people have very narrow hips and wide shoulders; some have wide hips and narrow shoulders. There are all types of variations. So when determining the width of someone’s stance, it is hard to say that everyone with the same shoulder width should have his or her feet in the same position.

In fact, it makes much more sense to look at the distance between one’s hip joints to determine what the ideal position would be to achieve the goals mentioned above. After all, this is where our legs connect to our body, and where the rotational movement of the lower extremities is critical in the golf swing.

When trying to create a more stable base, most would think that the wider the stance, the more stable we would be. I agree that in most cases this would be true. In fact it is a fundamental in architectural design (just look at the pyramids). However, in our golf swing we need to be stable, but also have to be mobile at the same time. Not only that, we have 2 hips that will each act as an axis at different parts of the swing, not just one single axis of rotation. Therefore, there is a transfer of weight that comes into play. When transitioning from the backswing to the follow through, there should be a weight shift from the trailing side leg to the target side leg (with the exception of the Stack and Tilt swingers!). During this phase of the swing, we go from rotation on the trail hip to rotation on the target side hip. If our stance is too wide, this means that we have to create a very large lateral move from right to left (rather than just a rotational motion), which actually forces the body to create more movement than if our stance was narrower.

This does not only cause more movement in our swing, it actually creates LESS stability in the hip joints/musculature. Due to the large lateral motion, our hip muscles have to relax to a certain degree to allow the bones to actually perform that motion. Thus we have less muscular stabilization at one of the most crucial parts of our swing.

This leads to another one of the goals that we mentioned above: preventing movements that might put us at risk for injury. If there is less muscular stabilization during this move, then the body has to rely on other parts to create or compensate for that stability. Therefore there is more stress placed on the joint itself, as well as some of the soft tissue and ligaments around the hip. This can lead to “wear and tear” issues as well as other significant hip injuries that might require serious medical attention. So even though your swing may not cause discomfort right now, there is the possibility that repeating an improper movement like this over and over again could sideline you in the future.

Lastly, we want to be as balanced and consistent in our movements as possible, right? The best way to do this is to reduce any excessive movements and make the swing as efficient as possible. When addressing the ball with too wide of a stance, the body has no choice but to respond with the movements above or with some other form of compensation from another body part. This again puts the golfer at risk for injury elsewhere.

The best way to make sure you are playing this game well and allowing yourself to play for many years to come is to know how and why you are moving your body the way you are. There are many things that we don’t have control over in our golf game. We need to make sure we take care of the things that are in our control; and our stance is one of those things.

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