Driver Stance vs. Shot Shape

Hello abs’ers,

I wanted to ask your general views on stance for long irons / woods.

From a personal perspective, playing my woods / 2 & 3 irons with a square stance results in a left to right shot. Im not sure how much movement in this shot would be considered normal or acceptable from a square position?

Reading some older golf instruction books it looks like this result is ‘possibly’ to be expected from a square stance and that the longer shots should be adjusted to closed stance. I could be wrong about this intepretation…

Some sources as follows:

  1. Johnny Revolta - short cuts to better golf (for the driver) “your right foot will be about an inch farther from the the line of flight than your left”

  2. Ben Hogan - power golf “my left foot is advanced approximately one half inch, while my right foot has been withdrawn one half inch, making the overall alteration one inch. These adjustments in stance, slight as they may seem, are important. they alter the facing of the body”.

  3. Tommy Armour - how to play your best golf - has a stance diagram that shows closed stance for driver and the club handle moving back behind the ball slightly, presumbly as a result of the body aligning slightly right?

  4. Byron Nelson - winning golf “in playing shots with woods, I use a slightly closed stance”.

Ive just started experimenting with this adjustment and hitting some much straighter shots (though lots more practise needed).

I’d be really interested to read your views and opinions on this…

Mr. Lek,

I think referred to the key to all of this is something you already stated:

“Ive just started experimenting with this adjustment and hitting some much straighter shots (though lots more practise needed).”

Something you’ll learn relatively quickly on ABS is that key’s to alignment vary from person to person. If, through your experimentation, you find that in order to hit a 3 wood, 2 Iron or any other club where you want you need to aim a little more closed or open to your intended target then you should do whatever it is you need to do to hit your shot.

Experimentation can provide ownership of the technique and, when it comes to the golf swing, ownership is half the battle (at least that’s what I find). To be sure, there are “good” and “bad” ways to aim. However, these “good” and “bad” techniques will vary in their expressions from person to person.

As for your question, I think you’re thinking is fairly sound, if you’re looking for the opposite direction in ball flight it would make sense to close your stance to promote a swing path from the inside.

I know there are people on this site who are more qualified to answer your question and give a fuller response but I hope this is helpful.


Sask, thanks for your comments and I appreciate what you are saying about personal variance.

I was wondering if any other players here had adopted a closed stance for their driver swings? This would be in addition to the initial body / face alignment for a given shot type.

From the sources quoted, its interesting to look at Mr Hogan in the shell video clips.

His preshot routine includes the initial shot alignment, then what appears to be a one/two shuffle - the left/right, half inch adjustments he mentioned in Power Golf. This could be some other last second adjustment to the shape of the hole but he does appear to close on the woods in the same way each time.

Would be interesting to read others intepretation of this.

Weight shift is more critical with the longer irons. A closed stance helps get weight right and aids one in making a bigger turn going back. If the torso rotation is strong moving through impact, the right foot if working correctly should resist if a proper cohesive tension exists within the body.

Open stances work well for short iron shots because you can strike shots with a more descending blow and get away with it. Depending upon one’s lie, it might be more desirable also.

This difference is why we often see good short iron players who are not particularly good long iron players or visa versa.

The modern game suggests just using hybrids… :frowning:

But there is a lost skill set here that is worth the price of admission in my opinion… if not just for the very real experience and feeling within the body of mastering the craft and art of it.

Thanks for your reply Lag,

It sounds like you agree a closed stance could be beneficial for long iron / wood play.

If I understand you correctly, rather than thinking of it in terms of a draw set up, the slightly closed stance for long clubs is more like making room for the turn back and helping to shallow the angle of approach to the ball. Would this also contribute to more of a sweeping motion referred to by players such as Mr Nicklaus?

It’s certainly a shame that the industry has focused on changing the game with hybrid / boom stick bats rather than emphasizing the technique.

Yes that is correct.
The closed stance will aid in a shallower entry, good for the longer clubs.

I can draw or fade the ball from either closed or open stance.
Here, we teach a more sophisticated and ultimately simpler approach to shaping the ball through post impact intentions.

I don’t have to change anything in my set up, backswing or downswing to shape the ball. No chance in ball position or stance.
I may change those things for other reasons… topography, lie, wind etc, but the shape of the shot is determined much later in the process.

Thanks for your advice, much appreciated. The ABS approach to shot making also sounds very interesting.


I wanted to post an update on this thread as been working it through for several moths. It seams that visualization of the hole and a feel of the shot shape is a significant mental factor. This can be a problem working on a range and just looking up from stance position.

My drives are now working both ways fairly consistently by a) walking into the shot from either left or right rear of the ball (pre-shot visualization and intent) and b) allowing my arms / body to work with the curvature of the shot. I cant explain this more scientifically but I’m sure others have a better understanding of how / why it works.

The idea came from your earlier post and also the Ken Venturi videos posted on another thread where he mentioned something about ‘not fighting the hole’.

I was also very saddened to learn of Mr Venturi’s passing a while back. A great man with immense passion and love for the game R.I.P Ken.

This clip of Jimmy Demaret pretty much sums it up.