Is an Open Stance a good fit for your Golf Swing?

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Do you want Freddy Couples-style swing? 

Open stance is the best. might be just what you need. What every golfer loves about Fred “Boom Boom” Couples is his amazing tempo and silky smooth swing. 

But if you hear him describe his swing interviews it’s quite different. He describes it like aiming left, swinging to the right, and hitting a perfectly straight shot.

His open left foot stance allows him to clear his hips but the club doesn’t follow his body lines. Instead, he swings toward the target and is still in the top 5 of all-time golf swings.

Continue reading for more information about playing with an open position, pros/cons and the ideal ball position. Also, find answers to frequently asked questions. 

Open Stance Golf Swing 

There’s no “one way” to swing a golf club.

People who learn how to “swing their swing” tend to be the most successful golfers out there. Because they can quickly adapt to any situation on the course and know how to fix it.

Swinging your swing will improve your confidence and help you play better than someone who is always tinkering. One of the best ball strikers I know plays with an open stance and he swears it’s his key to consistency. 

There are many ways to set up the ball properly and you can do it in many different ways. Your stance can have a significant impact on your golf swing. It can affect your shot shape, distance, trajectory, as well as your ability to hit the ball accurately. Let’s compare a closed, square, and open stance to see which one works for you. 

Closed Stance Golf Swing

Closed stances are the first type of golf stance. This means your toe line is directed right at the target. I find that most everyday golfers are typically aimed right if they aren’t square.

This happens for a few reasons…

First, a closed stance encourages a draw ball flight. It is easier to roll your arms over, since most golfers know the best rough from a slice. Similar to a baseball swing, it’s easier to feel the right roll over and hit a draw.

Or at the very least, straighten that slice. Not to mention, a closed toe line can also lead to a lower trajectory since you’re delofting the club at impact position. This is great for playing with the wind and it also adds distance.

If you want to hit a hook shot through trees, you will need to keep your stance closed. There are also some drawbacks.  For more information on closed golf, please see our article.


Square Stance 

Most golfers aim for a square stance early in their playing careers.

The more neutral you are able to start your swing, it will be easier to make contact and form good habits. But it’s easier said than done, especially if you don’t use an alignment rod at the driving range.

So many golfers “think” they have a neutral stance but a quick video of their swing and it’s easy to see otherwise. This is why we suggest recording your golf swing regularly to ensure things don’t spiral out of control without you realizing it.

If you watch the best players in the world, you’ll find that most of them have a fairly neutral stance. This allows them to adjust the trajectory and shape the golf ball in both directions. 


Open Golf Stance

The final way to set up to the golf ball is with an open stance; this refers to your body lines being aimed left of the target (assuming you’re a right-handed golfer). An open stance isn’t as common as a closed stance in my experience but has plenty of benefits.

Benefits of an Open Stance

What are the benefits of an open stance on a topic?

First, an open stance makes it easier to hit a fade or cut shot. If you’re someone that fights a draw that can turn into a hook with bad timing, an open stance can help you out. Not to mention, a cut is a more reliable shot with your driver and can result in fewer big misses (assuming it’s a power fade, not a slice).

An open stance golf swing can also help you hit the ball higher. If you’re someone that has a very low trajectory and struggles holding the greens, this stance position can help. You’re not compressing the golf ball quite as much as a closed stance, which leads to higher ball flight.

The biggest benefit of an open stance? It makes it easier to clear your hips. This is one of the most important moves in the golf swing and vital to create lag. If you don’t clear your hips fast enough, you’re losing out on tons of power. 

According to Ben Hogans book Five Lessons: “The downswing is initiated by turning the hips to the left. The shoulders, arms, and hands – in that order – then release their power.” But this can’t happen without clearing your hips to allow your upper body through the golf ball. 

So if you’ve struggled with lower body movement, this stance helps a ton! 


There are down sides to an open posture

There are many great benefits to playing with an open mind, but there are also some drawbacks. 

First, you’ll likely lose some distance with an open stance (in some cases). If you don’t clear your hips fast enough currently, you might actually gain distance. But if this isn’t an issue, you might lose a few yards since you’re adding some loft to the golf club.

Second, since you’re adding loft, the ball tends to produce a higher trajectory, which isn’t ideal for windy days. So if you’re playing links golf or just a windy day on the course, an open stance might make it harder to gauge distance control. 

The downside for the average golfer is that you might slice your shot more than hit a power fade because of an outside in swing path. This type of stance can make it more difficult for most golfers to slice the ball. It could also lead to bigger misses at the tee. 

Different Shots, Different Styles 

There are many pros and cons to each stance. But don’t feel like you only have to use one for every shot shape.

For full swing shots, I prefer a square stance. For my driver, I prefer to use a slightly wider stance. It helps me clear my hips more quickly, which leads us to greater distance.

For more consistency, I prefer to hit a fade using my driver. An open stance is also helpful. I can aim left of target, swing hard and rely on an open golf position for a power fade most days.

With my short irons and wedges, the opposite is true. To gain more weight on the lead leg, I use an open stance and hit with a more downward swing. This allows for lower flight and less backspin.

It is important to remember that each shot must be planned. Don’t just step up to the golf ball and hope for the best. You should have a plan for your pre-shot routine to give your mind an idea of the shot you want.

Next, practice swings will be made. Then, choose the stance that will allow you to hit the shot you want. You should also test these new swing strategies on the range before you attempt to play on the green. 

FAQs about Square Golf Stance vs. Closing Stance

Do you have questions about how to align your golf swing and what stance is best? Do you wonder if you should have an open or closed stance when playing golf? Continue reading to find out more. 

Is it acceptable to play golf with an open stance

As mentioned, there are many benefits to playing with an open stance. If you’re someone that struggles with hooking the golf ball, dropping your left foot back can straighten your ball flight by adjusting yoru swing path.

This can also help you clear your hips more quickly and create more lag when you golf swing. This should result in more power and consistency, which will hopefully translate into lower scores.

Is there a pros open stance?

Yes, many professional golfers use an open-stance swing to play at a high level. Rory McIlroy tends to play with a slightly open stance and might be one of the reasons he’s such a consistent driver of the golf ball. 

Freddy Couples and Jack Nicklaus are just a few of the other golfers who excel with an open stance. 


What should I do?

While you can swing a golf club with all three stances, it’s best to use a square stance with putting. Don’t get me wrong, as history has shown, there are tons of ways to putt well – Jack Nicklaus famously putted with an open stance. But for most everyday golfers, especially new players, it’s best to build a solid neutral stance foundation.

This will help your putter hit a great shot on the return and hopefully on the final drive. You may miss many putts left if your aiming point is not in front of you. An open stance, on the other hand, can lead to the opposite.

Keep it neutral to continue rolling the rock.

To check your eye alignment and shoulder alignment, make sure you use a putting mirror such as the Back to Basics model. These are the two most important aspects of putting. 

Tiger Woods putsts with an open stance?

Tiger Woods does not putt with a neutral stance.

He has one the most consistent putting strokes, including his setup. He still uses his trusted blade putter, which has helped to make him one of the greatest clutch putters. 

Is it okay for senior golfers to keep their stance open in golf? 

A closed stance is more beneficial for seniors as it promotes a draw. A closed stance can help seniors increase their distance. 

Is it possible to draw if you have an open stance? 

An open stance can lead to a cut shot because it changes the swing path. This is why it’s recommended to golfers who hit a hook shot and need to straighten out their ball flight.

Final Thoughts on Open Stance Golf Swing

Open stances can help you hit a better cut shot, launch it higher and clear your hips quicker. This is why many golfers (like Fred Couples), prefer this stance over a neutral or closed position. 

It does have its drawbacks. This could only make the problem worse, as most golfers have trouble with a slice. It can also lead you to shorter distances.

If youre in trouble, however, it can teach you how to hit a slice between the trees. Youll also be able to clear your hips more quickly. If you’re someone that needs to feel your hips getting out of the way to start the downswing, this is a great position to learn. 

There are many ways to swing the golf clubs. There are many great golfers who have used an open stance to achieve amazing results. 

One Response

  1. Wonderful analysis! Your insights are very enlightening. For those interested in further details, here’s a link: DISCOVER MORE. Keen to hear your views!

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