How to Stand When Hitting a Golf Ball

By Brian Liou

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With their backs straight, knees flexed and heads steady, many beginning golfers commonly overlook one small but key part to their stance: the toes. If you can imagine a straight line from the ball to the target, a beginning golfer tends to point his lead foot perpendicular to the imaginary line, which prevents flex in the legs and requires him to exert too much effort in turning his hips on the downswing. Opening up your stance and pointing the lead toes slightly toward the target helps the hips rotate through the swing and generate power.


Difficulty: Easy
  1. Use a spare club to help you visualize where to line up your feet at address. Place any club on the ground between you and the ball, lining up the club shaft toward the target.
  2. Take a comfortable, shoulder-wide stance to the ball. If you are hitting a driver, the ball should be placed just inside the line of the lead foot (the left foot leads for a right-handed golfer). Place the ball back toward the middle of your stance with long and short irons.
  3. Maintain balance on the balls of your feet. Pivoting on the heel of your lead foot, point the toes a few inches toward the target. Keep your back foot perpendicular to the club on the ground.
  4. Bend your knees slightly to your comfort level. Imagine sitting barely off a bar stool to visualize how much you should bend your knees.
  5. Bend slightly at the hip with your back straight. Gripping the club, your hands should dangle comfortably and should be about a fist-length apart from your torso.

Tips & Warnings

  • To determine if you have good balance in your stance, ask a friend to give you a solid shove on the shoulder while in your stance. If you fall backward, you're putting too much weight on your heels.
  • Do not exaggerate how much you open your stance. Your ball flight will partly help determine how much you should open or close your stance. If you are slicing the ball, close the stance a bit and vice versa for hooking the ball.

About the Author

Born and raised in San Francisco, Brian Liou is a veteran of the newspaper industry, having worked as a reporter, sports writer, copyeditor and news editor for various Bay Area papers. When he's not scrambling to find a full-time job, Liou spends his time trying to perfect his golf swing.