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A Good Foundation for a Better Swing

By: Bob Burns

Golf Professional

The first step in most anything you do involves the basics or fundamentals which, when mastered, make the other steps easier.  In golf, a good stance is the firm foundation upon which to shape and mold the swing.  The stance is the proper placing of the feet in relation to the line of flight selected to the target.

In the following article, we will explain the three different stances in relation to various golf shots.

The important element in a good stance provides the player with balance. The swing must be a smooth, fundamental, one-piece movement from the beginning to end. To achieve this, the golfer must be in balance throughout the swing. If off balance in some part of the swing, the golfer has irrevocably lost some control.

The first step to proper balance is to place the feet firmly on the ground with the weight distributed evenly between the balls and heels of the feet.  If you have a tendency to lean forward onto your toes during the swing, make an effort to stay back on your heels.

1) SQUARE STANCE:  This is the basic stance from which the other two are adapted.  To adapt it, simply place the feet shoulder length apart, as measured from the inner edges of the shoes, and touching the line.  The feet should be set apart the width of the shoulders when playing a standard five-iron shot. They are set somewhat closer together when the more lofted clubs are used and somewhat wider than the width of the shoulders when the long irons and woods are played. In all of these stances, the left foot should be turned outward, toward the target, about 15 degrees to the left. This facilitates an easier body turn and contributes to greater balance throughout the swing. The square stance is best used with long and middle irons. 

2) OPEN STANCE: Move the right foot ahead of the line not more than four to five inches and the left foot slightly back. Use this stance for short irons, seven, eight, nine, and wedge. 

3) CLOSED STANCE: Drop the right foot behind the line two to four inches. The left foot moves slightly forward. This stance can be applied to woods. 

The closed stance, with the right foot withdrawn a couple of inches farther from the direction line than the left, makes it easier to get the full back swing, probably with a flattened plane, but tends to restrict the forward swing. The open stance, with the left foot drawn back farther than the right, has the opposite effect of restricting the back swing and forcing it into a more upright position, but facilitating the forward swing.

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