Learning the Proper Golf Stance for Your Driver and Irons

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golf stance

proper golf stance is crucial for a consistent and powerful swing. It sets the foundation for your entire golf game. This guide will teach you the key elements of a perfect stance and how to achieve it.

A faulty stance width, be it too narrow like a tightrope walker’s step or excessively wide like a sumo wrestler’s stance, can disrupt balance and impede productive rotation, resulting in stroke instability.

Quick Reference Guide

  1. Align feet, knees, hips, and shoulders square to the target line.
  2. Shoulder-width apart for irons, slightly wider for woods and driver.
  3. Slight knee bend for balance and weight shift.
  4. Front foot flared, back foot perpendicular, weight evenly distributed.
  5. Tilt from hips, keep back straight, arms relaxed.
  6. Position ball based on the club being used.
  7. Adapt stance for uneven lies, bunkers, and specialty shots.
  8. Practice drills for alignment, balance, and posture.
  9. Check for common mistakes and make necessary adjustments.
  10. Regularly practice and seek professional instruction to ingrain proper stance fundamentals.

The Building Blocks of a Solid Golf Stance


Align your feet, knees, hips, and shoulders square to the target line. Proper alignment ensures accuracy and consistency in your shots.

Width of Stance

For irons, position your feet about shoulder-width apart. With woods and driver, widen your stance slightly for added stability.

Knee Flex

Maintain a slight bend in your knees. This helps with balance and allows for a smooth weight shift during the swing.

Foot Position

Flare your front foot slightly toward the target, while keeping your back foot perpendicular to the target line. Distribute your weight evenly between both feet.


Tilt forward from your hips, not your waist. Keep your back straight. Good posture allows for a free-flowing swing and prevents injury.

Making your stance too narrow or too wide at setup can force all sorts of difficult-to-time compensations later in your swing, some of which can become repetitive and take years to undo. It should never happen in the first place, because let’s be honest: Setting your feet in the correct position before you start the club back is probably the easiest thing you can do in this game. After 30 years of teaching, I’m still amazed how most recreational golfers choose to ignore fundamentals such as stance width. Here’s your chance to buck the trend.


Ball Position: The Key to Trajectory and Direction

golf stance

Ball position is a critical aspect of your golf stance, as it directly influences the trajectory and direction of your shots. The general rule is to play the ball progressively forward in your stance as the clubs get longer. Here’s a breakdown of proper ball position for each club category:

  1. Short Irons (9-iron through wedges)
    • Position the ball in the centre of your stance.
    • This promotes a descending blow, creating a lower, more controlled trajectory.
    • Centre ball position helps ensure crisp, precise contact for accuracy.
  2. Mid Irons (5-iron through 8-iron)
    • Play the ball slightly forward of centre, about 1-2 inches.
    • This allows for a slightly ascending blow, promoting a medium trajectory.
    • The ball will have a bit more carry and a slightly higher launch angle compared to short irons.
  3. Long Irons (2-iron through 4-iron) and Hybrids
    • Position the ball forward of centre, about 2-3 inches.
    • This encourages a sweeping motion, helping to launch the ball higher.
    • Forward ball position promotes a higher trajectory and more carry distance.
  4. Fairway Woods
    • Play the ball forward in your stance, just inside your left heel (for right-handed golfers).
    • This forward position allows for a shallow, sweeping angle of attack.
    • The ball will launch higher and carry farther than long irons.
  5. Driver
    • Position the ball opposite your left heel (for right-handed golfers), the most forward in your stance.
    • This promotes an ascending blow, optimizing launch angle and maximizing carry distance.
    • Teeing the ball higher can further enhance the trajectory and distance potential.

It’s essential to understand that ball position not only affects trajectory but also influences the direction of your shots. If the ball is too far back in your stance, you may hit down on it excessively, resulting in a low hook or pull. Conversely, if the ball is too far forward, you may hit up on it too much, causing a high slice or push.

To fine-tune your ball position, experiment with small adjustments during practice sessions. Pay attention to the trajectory and direction of your shots, and make note of how changes in ball position affect your results. It’s also helpful to work with a professional instructor who can provide personalized guidance based on your swing characteristics and goals.

Foot and Toe Positioning

In golf, the alignment and orientation of the golfer’s feet and toes significantly influence the effectiveness of their swing. The angle of their foot, more commonly known as foot flaring, can alter the dynamics of both their backswing and follow through.

Foot PlacementAdvantagesPossible Downsides
Parallel feetAligns easily with the target line, feet form a right angle with the targetRestricts rotation
Flared left footProvides extra space for follow throughMight compromise stability
Flared right footAssists golfers with limited flexibilityCould hinder the backswing
Flared both feetEncourages a wider rotationDecreases swing amplitude

A flared left foot provides extra space for the follow through, enabling a complete turn post-impact. This is a technique often employed by professional golfers such as Tiger Woods. On the contrary, for those battling with flexibility limitations, a flared right foot eases the backswing. For instance, senior golfers often use this technique. However, flaring both feet, though it seems to combine the benefits, can actually decrease your swing amplitude, potentially diminishing power and distance.

Drills to Improve Your Stance

  1. Alignment Rod Drill
    • Place two alignment rods on the ground, one along your target line and another perpendicular to it, forming a “T” shape.
    • Set up to the ball with your feet, knees, hips, and shoulders parallel to the target line rod.
    • Practice your swing, focusing on maintaining your alignment throughout.
    • This drill helps ingrain proper alignment and promotes a consistent setup.
  2. Toe-Up Drill
    • Take your normal stance, then lift your toes off the ground, balancing on your heels.
    • Maintain this position for a few seconds, feeling the weight distribution in your feet.
    • Slowly lower your toes back to the ground, keeping the sensation of balanced weight distribution.
    • This drill promotes a balanced stance and helps prevent swaying during the swing.
  3. Wall Drill
    • Stand with your back against a wall, with your feet about 6 inches away from the wall.
    • Press your upper back, glutes, and head against the wall, tilting forward from your hips.
    • Hold a club against your chest and make a few practice swings, focusing on maintaining your posture.
    • This drill helps develop proper spine angle and prevents excessive arching or slouching.
  4. Mirror Drill
    • Set up to a ball in front of a full-length mirror.
    • Check your stance from both face-on and down-the-line views.
    • Look for proper alignment, knee flex, foot position, and posture.
    • Make adjustments as needed and practice swinging in front of the mirror to ingrain the proper positions.
  5. Feet Together Drill
    • Take your normal stance, then bring your feet together so they’re touching.
    • Make a few practice swings, focusing on balance and rotation.
    • Gradually widen your stance to your normal width, maintaining the balanced feel.
    • This drill helps promote a centered, balanced stance and encourages proper rotation.
  6. Ball Position Drill
    • Place a series of balls on the ground, each one a few inches apart.
    • Start with a short iron and set up to the first ball, focusing on correct ball position.
    • Work your way through the balls, adjusting your stance for each club (short irons, mid irons, long irons, woods, driver).
    • This drill helps ingrain proper ball position for each club and promotes consistency in your setup.

Golf Stance Variations

golf stance 2

While the fundamentals of a proper stance remain consistent, slight variations may occur based on individual factors:

  • Body type: Taller golfers may need a slightly wider stance, while shorter golfers may prefer a narrower stance.
  • Flexibility: Less flexible golfers may need a slightly wider stance to promote a fuller turn.
  • Personal preference: Some golfers may feel more comfortable with minor adjustments to their stance, such as a slightly stronger or weaker grip.
    Remember, the goal is to find a stance that allows for a balanced, powerful, and repeatable swing.

Common Stance Mistakes and Fixes

  • Incorrect alignment: Double-check your alignment before each shot.
  • Stance too wide or narrow: Adjust based on the club and your body.
  • Poor posture: Tilt from your hips, keep your back straight, and relax your arms.
  • Incorrect ball position: Position the ball based on the club you’re using.

FAQ For Your Golf Stance

Q: How do I ensure my golf posture is correct before taking a swing?

A: To ensure your golf posture is correct, start by standing with your feet shoulder width apart for a stable foundation. Bend slightly at the hips and knees to get into an athletic position, allowing your arms to hang down naturally in front of you. Keeping your spine straight is essential for a proper golf stance, as it helps you swing the club on the correct path and avoid injury. This posture applies whether hitting full shots with your driver or precisely striking with your irons.

Q: Can the proper golf stance improve my ability to hit the ball straighter and further?

A: Yes, adopting the proper golf stance can significantly improve your ability to hit the ball straighter and further. A correct golf stance aligns your body correctly with the target, promotes a full and balanced swing, and helps ensure that the clubface is square at impact. By practicing a stance that keeps your spine straight, allows your arms to hang down naturally, and gives you the ability to fully rotate, you’ll find your shots becoming more consistent and powerful, regardless of whether you’re using a driver or an iron.

Q: How do I align my feet and body correctly for every club in my bag?

A: To align your feet and body correctly for every club, start by positioning your feet so that they are parallel to the target line. This alignment helps ensure that the clubface will be square at the point of impact. For shorter irons, your stance should be slightly narrower, encouraging precision and control. As the clubs get longer, such as with drivers and fairway woods, widen your stance to provide a stable base for the increased swing speed and power. Remember, consistent alignment for every club is a key element in developing a reliable and effective golf swing.

Q: Why is it important to adjust your stance when hitting irons compared to full swings with a driver?

A: Adjusting your stance when hitting irons compared to full swings with a driver is crucial for optimizing the impact conditions for each type of shot. Iron shots typically require more precision and control, necessitating a slightly narrower stance and the ball positioned more towards the center of your stance.

How Does Mastering Golf Stances Help Improve Your Swing?

Mastering golf stances is crucial to improve your swing. By understanding how to position your feet, body, and club correctly, you can optimize your balance and power. Master your golf stances for better swings, as this foundation facilitates a smoother and controlled swing, resulting in improved accuracy and distance.

My Personal Experience

After taken a few lessons, the local pro told me to flare my left foot ( right handed golfer) the difference in my swing and follow through was incredible, I felt I had more control of my swing and turn in to my left side more easily.


A proper golf stance is the bedrock of a great swing. By mastering the key elements of alignment, width, knee flex, foot position, and posture, you’ll lay the groundwork for consistency and power in your game. Practice the drills, make adjustments for different shots, and be mindful of common mistakes.

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