How Wide Should My Stance Be?
Tue Nov 6, 2012 by Dave Phillips
Is a Wider Stance More Stable?
Every golfer understands the importance of good balance and trunk stability to a successful golf swing. Most golfers equate good static (without movement) stability with good dynamic (with movement) stability. Generally, a wider stance means better static stability. Unfortunately, from the data we are able to collect using 3 dimensional motion analysis static and dynamic stability are not equitable. In fact, there is a point where better static stability can produce diminishing returns in regards to dynamic stability.
The most successful golf swings are able to be repeated and produce the most club head speed. These swings produce a transverse rotary dominant movement pattern rather than a up/down or a side bending rotational pattern according to the data collected by our colleagues at the Titleist Performance Institute in California. These swings also generally occur with a slight weight shift in a lateral direction toward the target.
Often times I’ve heard students ask “How wide should my stance be,?” or “Should my stance width vary with driver vs. iron?” The best answer to these questions is that it all depends on the individual and your physical characteristics. The wider the stance, the greater the weight shift required. Without this weight shift (ie. too statically stable), there is a propensity for more side bending and less rotary dominant motion. Any side bending will detract from maintaining a dominant rotary force and lead to one of the following: inefficiencies, inconsistency, and last, but not least, injuries.
If there is any one club in everyone’s bag that can produce inconsistency and/or injury, it has to be the driver. Although the driver swing is often performed with greater speed and force, it should not require any greater width than the widest part of your body. Despite strong arguments from some of our female clients, the shoulders, not the hips, are the widest point in most human bodies. Consequently, the most efficient width of stance should be no wider than shoulder width for most full swing shots, including your driver. With this width you will more likely maintain a dominant rotary force. This will lead to greater club head speed and better dynamic stability.
Unfortunately most people believe that because they are swinging with greater force and speed they need a wider stance. This is often due in part because they don’t have the strength and flexibility to sustain their balance with a stance that is shoulder width. Proper training can aide the development of strength and flexibility. When performing golf specific exercises in the gym, narrowing your stance will challenge your body and force greater static and dynamic stability. Try performing exercises in a tandem stance (one foot in front of the other) to challenge your body during your workout and remember that wider isn’t always better when it come to stability.