The feet play an active role in the golf pattern. The placement of the feet at the address has as much importance as the other components in the golf swing. All must be coordinated in a fluid movement to obtain the maximum power and precision of the shot that is humanly possible.
Foot action is also involved in attaining the proper body balance. While the head acts as a mobile anchor for the hips and legs, leg power and balance can be destroyed by improper weight distribution and faulty placement of the feet, the result being a golfer who uses just his shoulders and hands to play the game.
The weight of the body should be evenly distributed between both feet with a feeling of being back on the heels rather than forward on the toes. The knees should be flexed toward each other, putting pressure on the inside of the right foot. This distribution of weight results in a solid attachment to the earth and prevents your feet from flying off the ground with the force of the swing. Please do not confuse solid attachment with planting your feet. Having your feet and legs planted is a static position.
There is a mobile action most top players employ, known as the forward press, that is barely perceptible to the eye. It is a slight shifting of the weight from the right to the left foot and back to the right foot to start the motion of the backswing. This foot action sets up the winding and unwinding of the body and allows the feet and legs to work through the ball on balance.
There should be no difficulty in acquiring the proper stance. The two most obvious faults are standing with the feet pigeon-toed, or with the feet turned out to excess. These faults must be guarded against because it is quite natural for some people to stand that way since they walk in the same manner. Either position makes it impossible to execute a correct body pivot.
In positioning the feet properly, place the right foot straight ahead of you on the intended line of flight with a slight pressure of weight on the inside of the foot. The left foot is placed on the same line with the toe slightly open. This is a square stance.
There are three golf stances that are used with good results. The closed stance, the open stance and the square stance. Each one of these stances have been employed by the best players for individual reasons. Each stance influences the motion of the body and the plane of the swing.
Probably a majority of golf pros have found that the closed stance has been more effective for the greatest majority of golfers for the shots that require power and distance. In most cases a closed stance puts a right-to-left diagonal overspin on the ball resulting in the type of shot that will attain more distance, while an open stance will produce a left-to-right ball with backspin. The closed stance will not necessarily generate a hooked ball, but will most certainly help overcome a slice.
Since the biggest thrill in golf is getting distance off the tee, the closed stanceis recommended for woods and long irons, a square stance for the medium irons, and an open stance for the short irons. The basic reasoning behind the closed position on long shots is that the body is allowed more freedom to make a full turn, since the right hip is back out of the way. The hands and the clubhead travel on an inside-to-out path without any conscious effort on the player’s part. To many this is a big advantage in acquiring a repeating pattern.
In placing the feet for the closed stance the right foot is pulled back of the left. How much is up to the individual and has to be experimented with until the proper position is found.
With the open stance the left foot is pulled back slightly. Accuracy, not distance, is required of the short irons. A short upright swing is taken and very little body turn is necessary. The open golf stance induces the upright path of the club which puts backspin on the ball. There are a few individuals who can use the open stance for distance with success, but from observation it looks as though they are in the minority. In most cases the open stance, when used for driving or fairway woods, will result in the sliced shot.
The fault with most golfers is that they do not pay enough attention to the way in which they take their stance. Placing the feet two inches off the intended line of flight can multiply into twenty yards in the flight of the ball to the left or right of the target. Take the time to make sure your feet are in proper alignment, with good balance.
Last, but not least, don’t stand with the feet any wider than the width of the shoulders, and ensure that the ball is correctly placed for each particular shot.