How to Play Golf From an Open Stance

By M.L. Rose
Bubba Watson uses an open stance during the 2010 Ryder Cup.
Bubba Watson uses an open stance during the 2010 Ryder Cup.

A golf stance is square if your toes are on a line parallel to your target line -- forming what might look line railroad tracks. To open your stance, adjust your feet so the line points farther left (for a righthanded golfer). In other words, move your front foot back, relative to a normal stance. For certain shots, however, an open stance is considered preferable. It's an ideal alignment for certain pitch and chip shots. All-time golf great Lee Trevino used an open stance regularly, as does 2010 PGA Championship runner-up Bubba Watson.

Assume a normal stance, with both feet in line with the target, then move your front foot back a few inches. The exact distance to move your foot back will depend on your comfort level and swing mechanics. It’s a good idea to do your experimenting at the driving range to determine the foot positioning that works for you.

Swing along the line of your feet if you’re using an open stance to play an intentional fade.

Set up close to the ball when playing a wedge shot from an open stance. Golf Tips Senior Instruction Editor Marshall Smith. Smith advises playing wedge shots from an open stance because “you won’t have time to get your left side out of the way” if you take a short backswing from a normal stance. Smith further notes that players should stand upright, with their right elbow against their right side (for right-handers), to maintain proper club head control when employing the wedge from an open stance.

Use an open stance when playing an uphill lie, advises Top 100 teacher and PGA Master Professional Jim McLean, writing in Golf Digest. Opening your stance like this pre-sets your turn through the ball, McLean said. "You'll need the help, because the upslope makes it tough to rotate toward the target." He also advises golfers to bend their front knee more when hitting upslope.

About the Author

M.L. Rose has worked as a print and online journalist for more than 20 years. He has contributed to a variety of national and local publications, specializing in sports writing. Rose holds a B.A. in communications.

Photo Credits

  • David Cannon/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images
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