When we first take up golf, there are so many things to get our heads around. What clubs to use. What clothes to wear on the course. How to grip the club. Now it is time for another one – a golfer needs a good posture. Why? What does how we stand matter? The answer is it matters a great deal because if we do not get that right, we have no chance of sending the golf ball in the direction we want.

Better Golf Posture = Better Performance

Think of standing over the ball as a golfer’s performance area and it is easier to understand. Look at an actor as they take to the stage. Look at a dancer as they step on to the floor. What is the first thing we notice before they start their performance? Their posture. One of the first things an actor is taught about their profession is how to stand. Back straight, shoulders out, head up. That gives them the position to project their voice strongly and clearly to the audience. They are not slouched or slumped. And why are they are taught it so early? So that by the time they become seasoned professionals, it has become second nature and that is exactly the same for golf.

Every professional golfer has their own unique swing but what do they all have in common? When they stand over the ball, they all have the correct golf posture.

Keys to a good stance:

Fed up of hitting bad shots? As we all know there are so many ways of hitting a bad golf shot! We can top the ball a short distance, we can skull it low and fast or we can sky it high and not very far. The common denominator between these basic three errors is poor contact. The likelihood is that is we will have committed the error before we have even started our backswing, meaning we have given ourselves no chance of hitting a good shot. Why? Because we do not have the correct posture.

It only takes a couple of seconds but making sure we have the correct golf posture is vital. If it is good enough for a pro playing for millions of dollars, then it is good enough – and necessary – for us.

Three steps for a good Stance:

 1) Take our club and hold it out in front of us. Make sure our hands are just above the waistline and keep our elbows flexed. We don’t want our arms to be stiff and rigid. Stand up straight with our chest out and our shoulders back. Check that our club face is square on. If we hold it too open or too closed at this point, we are setting ourselves up for a slice or a hook – exactly what we don’t want.

 2) Now we need to tilt our body forwards, but only at the hips. Our lower back and spine must remain straight rather than rounded. We also need to feel that we are pushing our bottom out. That allows us to maintain our weight and not think that we are going to lose our balance when we swing the club.

 3) The final step involves us lowering the club to touch the ground behind the ball. At this stage, we need to flex our knees lightly. The correct posture requires our knees to be slightly bent as that gives us the right blend of flexibility and balance. The danger is not to bend our knees too much. We are preparing to hit a golf ball, not do some limbo dancing!

Posture and ball position:

Another key element of achieving a good posture is by making sure the ball is in the correct position in our stance, when we address the ball.

For irons, we generally want the ball in the middle of our stance. Let’s start with our feet together. Place the ball in line with the point where our feet come together. Now we need to make an equal step with our left and right foot to be roughly in line with our shoulders – our stance in golf parlance should be shoulder width apart. If in the right position, we should be able to draw an imaginary T on the ground, with the ball and our two feet covering the three end points.

For the driver, the stance needs to be slightly different as we want the ball towards our front foot at the address position. That is because the ball is teed up and the driver has a narrow angle of loft and we want to catch the ball at the point of impact (and send it high and far) when our swing is on the way up to the ball.

To achieve this, again start with our feet together and have the ball in line with the point where our feet come together. But this time, we need to make a small step with our front foot (the one nearest the hole) and a larger one with our back foot. Again, we want to create the position where our stance is roughly shoulder width apart.

Postures to avoid:

Too rigid: Swinging a golf club requires movement and fluidity in our bodies. Therefore, we must avoid standing up too straight and becoming rigid because that is not the correct posture. That creates tension and will not let us swing the club properly. Remember, Frankenstein does not play golf!

Too stooped: Now we are quickly taught that we must keep our head over the ball at the point of impact. But the danger is to go too far the other way and get our head so far over the ball that we become stooped. That will not allow us the room to make a full swing and everything will become too cramped.

Practice our Stance:

For anyone new to golf, shall we tell them a little secret? Things do not happen by magic. If we have seen Tiger Woods or Rory McIlroy do something seemingly ‘magical’ on the golf course, it’s not magic as such, but from sheer hard work and practice.

Golf is a game of the three Rs – repetition, repetition, repetition. It is about doing something so often that it becomes second nature. Once we find the right posture for our body and swing, muscle memory will kick in and anything slightly awry from that ‘norm’ will feel odd. We want our posture and address to be grounded, balanced and flexible.

The best thing about our posture and stance is that we can practice these away from the golf course. If we have a quiet five or ten minutes at home, grab a club and find enough space to be able to hold the club out before we put it into position. If necessary, put marker lines on the floor for where to position our feet and our club and then go through the drills to work on improving our golf posture. Getting it drilled into our minds at home will give us more success of hitting great shots when we get to the course.

About the Author

Adam Lanigan - Golf Writer

Adam is a freelance news and sports journalist who has written for the BBC, The Sunday Post, The I, The Times, The Telegraph and more. He has been writing about golf for nearly two decades and has covered 13 Open Championships and two Ryder Cups. Not only does Adam cover golf, but he has played golf for as long as he can remember. He was a member at Northenden Golf Club for around 25 years until his children arrived and his last official handicap was 11, although on any given day his form fluctuates anywhere between eight and 18.