In a perfect world, every golfer would be in perfect alignment. Before the backswing even begins, all golfers would have perfect alignment.
Golf isnt perfect, but you already know that. Golf swings are complex and can be frustrating for even the most skilled players.
The majority of your golf swing happens before the club is ever returned to you at the take-out. The quality and shape of your shot will depend on how you stance.
Amateur golfers are more likely to adopt a closed stance than an open one. Let’s review how this impacts your swing and what you can do to hit it better than ever.
Closed Stance Golf
Alignment, alignment, alignment.
That’s what one of my first golf coaches taught me early on in my golf career. Even though its been 20 years, I still remember the lesson.
So, why did he keep repeating this lesson over and again?
Because he knew that alignment was the foundation of a great golf swing. If you don’t know how to aim, you’re going to make this sport 10X harder on yourself.
Your stance plays a major role in your address position and can have an enormous impact on alignment. Balance, posture, and comfort are all important aspects of your swing.
There are three basic golf stances: Open, closed, and square golf stances. Let’s review each of the following below and impact on ball position + target line, with an emphasis on the Closed golf.
Before getting into a closed stance, let’s talk about the opposite which is known as an open stance.
If you’re a right-handed golfer, an open stance means that you are aimed left of the target (aka open). Your toe line is to the left of the target. This encourages a power fade and an outside swing path. If you visit a driving range you’ll see very few golfers aimed in this direction as most tend to have a closed position (more on that in a second).
An open stance promotes natural fade and a more consistent ball flight than a close stance. For a lot of golfers, this isn’t ideal as the majority of the golfing population struggles with a fade already. An open stance can make this even more amplified into a banana slice if you’re not careful.
An open stance makes it more difficult to play in the wind and can result in a loss of distance. This is another problem for some golfers who want to hit the ball longer than it takes.
I’ve also found that an open stance adjusts your weight slightly more toward your back foot. This is key with driving as you want to swing up to increase launch angle (since you’re hitting it off a tee). Personally, I prefer to have an open stance when driving and a neutral stance when using my wedges and irons.
Click here to read more about an open position.
As I mentioned, golfers should set up at address position. This is called a square stance, meaning your feet are parallel to the target and your hips are straight.
A square stance makes it easy to hit all kinds of shots; whether it’s straight ball flight, a draw, or a cut shot. Since you’re neutral to the target it’s easy to adjust your clubface and swing path.
If you watch a lot of PGA Tour golf on TV or LIV golf online, you’ll see plenty of neutral stance golf swings. This is something you should strive for as you aim to shoot lower scores. But as you play more golf, you’ll see that sometimes you need to adjust your stance based on the club you’re hitting, shot shape, and any obstacles you might need to hit around.
Closed stance is the best way to approach the golf ball.
If you’re a right-handed golfer this refers to your body being right (or closed) of the target. The target is higher than your left shoulder than your body lines. Your right foot is generally back and encourages a more inward swing.
My bet is that if you go to the driving range at your local course, you’ll see more closed stances than open ones. Some players intentionally take this type of stance, while others do it unintentionally.
Benefits of a Closed Stance
As with an open stance, there is a benefit to addressing the golf balls Without being neutral to the target.
It can help promote a draw-swing. It promotes a more inward to out swing as many golfers struggle with a fade that often becomes a slice. It’s easier to roll your hands over from this position.
Another benefit is that it leads to a lower ball flight as you’re delofting the club at impact position. If you’re someone that has a ton of natural speed and struggles with hitting it too high, this stance can help promote a lower trajectory. This is ideal if you’re playing in the wind and hitting a lot of knockdown shots.
This stance can also be used to bend a hook shot around trees.
There are downsides to a Closed Stance
Closed stances have their downsides but also offer the greatest benefits. Since you’re aimed right, it is easier to “turn it over” aka, hit a draw. But if you have an inside takeaway that leads to a steep downswing, it can also lead to a lot of pulled shots.
Growing up, I played golf with a man who was notoriously accurate in hitting the target. Ironically, he didn’t know this until I recorded his swing to show him. He couldn’t believe how far right he was aimed.
He was able to make it work with his takeaway. He would pull the ball back toward the target, instead of hitting it straight with an draw. Sometimes it worked, but sometimes it was a disaster. Closed stances can be successful, but you need to know how to draw.
Another problem is that it can promote a draw and lead to a very fast hook shot. A closed-stance snap hook can be as frustrating as a slice and can cause serious problems on your left side of the course. The ball will have extra spin and roll due to your hands being in contact with it at impact.
Your stance position can have a huge impact on your weight, and balance. Recently, I was struggling to hit thin shots. A coach suggested that I lift 90% of my weight with my left foot. I lowered my right foot like a kickstand, and put all my pressure on the right toes.
As my weight was almost all on my left leg, this resulted in a closed stance. Almost instantly I started hitting it better because I was able to transfer my weight properly.
So if you’re struggling with thin shots, even using a closed stance in practice for some drills can help. I prefer to use a closed stance for wedges because you need most your weight on your lead leg in order to create a descending blow.
Shoulder vs. Hip Alignment of the Feet
Now that you have an idea of the pros and cons for each stance, I want to highlight the alignment of the shoulders. An alignment stick at the range can help golfers to understand where their feet are in each position.
But most golfers aren’t aware of their shoulder alignment target line.
Many golfers adopt a closed stance, which can help them win. But so many of them don’t have their shoulders on the same path. Instead, many golfers have open shoulders and a closed posture.
I know this because it was an issue that plagued and affected me for years. Since my “lines were crossed” I wasn’t committed to one shot and was working against myself. It caused a lot of takeaway problems which negatively affected my downswing.
So it’s okay to test out different angles and stances, just make sure your lines are all in sync. You must ensure your feet, hips, shoulders, and hips are aligned with the target when you are in a closed stance. Record your golf swing to double-check and I can almost guarantee it’ll make a huge difference with your overall ball striking.
FAQs About Square Stance vs Open or Closed
Are you looking for more information about how to align your golf swing and get the best stance? Continue reading if you have more questions about how to align your golf swing.
Is there a pros stance that is closed?
Yes, some professional golfers use a closed stance in order to play at an extremely high level. Sam Snead, Arnold Palmer are two of the most notable examples. They are two of golfs greatest players and it worked for them.
Is it a good idea to use a closed stance when playing golf?
Closed stances have their advantages and disadvantages.
A draw is a great benefit for every golfer. Since you’re aimed right of the target, this makes it easier to roll your hands more at impact.
By having more of a baseball swing, it’s easier to have an in to out golf swing. This will allow you to hit a more direct trajectory, avoid trouble, and increase your distance. The club is deflecting at address slightly and creating more topspin, drives should send higher.
Senior golfers should adopt a closed stance when playing golf.
Senior golfers may benefit from a close stance, which increases topspin and gives them more distance with their driver. Straighten out a fade and slice for more distance. It’s best to experiment on the range before taking it to the golf course.
Can a closed stance cause a cut?
A closed stance promotes a draw since you’re aimed to the right of the target. This will make it easier to draw and fix your slice. Hopefully this in to out swing can help you create more lag for extra distance!
Final Thoughts on Closed Stance Golf Swing
Your ability to hit the ball consistently can be affected by your stance. You can alter your balance, weight transfer, or shot shape by changing your stance.
A neutral stance is ideal for most golf swings. This allows you to hit the shot with more power and accuracy.
However, a closed stance can have its benefits. It can improve your ability to hit a draw and have a lower trajectory. You can try different stances at your driving range to determine which one is better for you golf swing.