Open Stance in Golf: Advantages, Disadvantages and Tips

Golf is a wonderful game. 

One that sends many of us on a journey to find a swing that works. 

A golf swing that we can count on to be consistent round after round. 

On this journey, we often explore different setups, swing feels, and find ourselves seeking that one solution that can help us own our swing and reach that consistency we all desire.  The open stance in golf is one option that can help and one instructor in particular found his “Eureka” moment.

Below have some major advantages of the open stance, 5 tips and some excellent videos from the best instructors in the world.

The open stance in golf – 5 tips below!

What is an open stance in golf?

An open stance is where the toe line of the golfer is aimed to the left of the target line.  The club is typically aimed at the target, but the feet are aimed to the left.  There is a variation in how open a golfer might be with an open stance.  There are several advantages to the open stance in golf.

Advantages of the Open Golf Stance

  1. Allows the hips to clear
  2. Allows the club to drop into a slot
  3. Potentially more power

Advantage 1 – Allows the hips to clear

One struggle that many amateur golfers have is that the hips do not properly clear.  This can cause ground contact issues and potential loss of power. 

The other issue is that many golfers might over slide their hips.  The open stance allows the golfer to swing free and easy.  One of the most admired swings of all time is Fred Couples.  He opened his stance and played with the most beautiful tempo. 

Everything appears to be free and easy and some of this may be connected with his open stance and allow his hips to clear.

Related: Average Club Distance by Age

Advantage 2 – Allows the club to drop into a slot

Many amateur golfers pull the club down too hard at the top.  The upper body moves first, causing an over the top swing that produces a slice.  The open stance in golf can allow the golfer to be patient without worrying about getting through the shot. 

Patience at the top of the swing is important and allows the body to clear out a bit as the arms then come through.  Slightly opening the stance can allow the golfer to be patient and drop the club in the right slot instead of forcing the club down.

Related: Golf stance tips

Advantage 3 – Potentially More Power

One of the keys to any great, powerful golf swing is the sequence.  With the open stance in golf, the golfer is put in a position where the body can properly clear and the hips can help accelerate the club through the hitting zone. 

This allows the golfer to maximize their power and let the swing go.  Trying to manipulate the club as your hips are jammed up can be a bad recipe.  Instead, give the open stance a shot and allow the club to fall into the slot, gain the proper sequence and see if you have extra distance or even just simply better ball contact.

Related: Putting with an Open Stance

Disadvantages of the Open Stance in Golf

  1. Can cause the golfer to cut across the ball
  2. Can result in a loss of distance

Disadvantage 1 – Can can the golfer to cut across the ball

If the golfer struggles to stay through the shot, he or she might find their dominant shot shape becomes a fade or slice due to the swing path it could produce. I would recommend checking out Lee Trevino’s swing and his action through the impact zone to see what a great swing looks like with an open stance.

Related: Golf Stance for Seniors

Disadvantage 2 – Can result in a loss of distance

Some golfer hit powerful shots with a closed stance due to the resistance and breaking mechanics that is created. With the golfer too far open, you might get that extra sling shot affect with the club through the shot. This might be the case for all golfers, but the open stance might produce a slice spin and little speed.

Related: Golf Stance With Driver

Best Golfers of All Time – Open Stance

One of the interesting things about the game of golf is that one of the fundamentals that is driven into your minds as beginners is that we must align like a railroad track. That everything should be in line – the club, the shoulders and the feet line.

If you really dive into it all you will see plenty of all time greats that play from an open or closed stance. Some of the best to ever play from a more open stance include Lee Trevino, Fred Couples, and Jack Nicklaus to name a few. Two golfers that come to mind that played from a closed stance include Sam Snead and Arnold Palmer.

The main point here is that there are many ways to swing a club. Find what works for you! The open stance might put int the best positions to have a repeatable and consistent golf swing. We owe to our games to try different options and find the “secret in the dirt” like Ben Hogan promoted!

Related: Wide Stance in Golf

Open Stance in Golf – 5 Tips

  1. Square up the club face
  2. Monitor your club path
  3. Hit a draw of fade
  4. Feel the left hip move backward
  5. Be Patient

Tip 1 – Square up the club face

When you are setting up with an open stance, make sure your club face is more square to the target.  This will help you start the ball towards the target or slight left or right for a draw or fade. 

If you allow the club face to aim along your feet line, you might end up hitting a pull or a slice.  Be aware of your feet line, shoulder line and club face line.  It takes some concentration to make sure you stay on the path with an open stance in golf.

Related: Narrow stance in golf

Tip 2 – Monitor your club path

Make sure you aren’t swinging along your feet line, unless you are trying to hit a pull or a pull fade.  You will want to think about swinging the path down the line and trying to get the ball to start somewhat straight.  I like to hit a slight right to left path even with an open stance. 

This allows me to hit a draw or even a push fade.  Lee Trevino hit some of the great push fades as well as Jack Nicklaus.  This had an open stance, but a path that moved more out to in.  The best way is to experiment with the different feels and find the slot that works for you.

Related: Best swing path for irons

Tip 3 – Hit a draw of fade

The hardest shot in golf is the perfectly straight shot.  It takes the face and the path behind lined up perfectly.  Whether you are a 5 handicap or a 25 handicap you can hit a draw or a fade. 

Keep in mind that the ball will start where the club face is at impact and then curve away from your path.  Check out ball flight laws below for some assistance and a quality overview.

Related: Draw vs Fade

Tip 4 – Feel the left hip move backward

On the downswing, your left hip should move back and away from the target.  This allows your club to fall into the proper slot.  If you shove your hips forward and slide too much you may have inconsistent contact or shove the ball to the right. 

Instead, feel that the hit is move away and counterbalancing the swinging of the club. 

Related: How the hips work in the golf swing

Mike Malaska has a great video on the proper movement of the hips.

Tip 5 – Be Patient

Too many golfers rush their swing from the top.  Instead let the body move a bit and be patient with pulling your arms down in the swing.  The arms move much faster than the body in the swing and your arms will get to the ball. 

This lack of tension from not pulling will help you maximize your speed and you should see some great results in distance from an easy feeling swing.

Open Golf Stance – Eureka Swing

PGA Professional, Steve Johnston has the “Eureka” Golf Swing that he has spent many years perfecting and sharing his progress with this youtube viewers.  If you are someone that wants some great detail on hitting from the open stance, then Steve Johnston might be a great person for you to follow and learn from.

He has explored greatly and has worked with other golfers to improve and grow the open stance golf swing.  He promotes the compression and the draw spin that result from this approach to the golf swing.  Finding a quality instructor is a key in your golf journey. 

The great thing about learning the golf swing today is the amount of quality information and help that is available for golfers. 

What I enjoy most about the open stance golf swing is that I love the feeling of using my left arm in the golf swing, especially with my irons.  The compression is incredible and allows you to hit the ball further with a lower effort level.  It allows you to get to the impact position that you see many of the pros in without having to force yourself to get to that position.

Main takeaways from the video below: 

  • The left arm follows the target line
  • The upper body follows the feet line.

Open Stance vs Closed Stance

The great thing about golf is that there are many ways to play the game and this starts with the stance. There is no perfect stance for every golfer.

In fact, there are great golfers that have used an open stance and great golfers that have used a closed stance. During my journey to reaching the scratch level, there are times when I have used a slightly open stance and times when I have closed the stance off a bit. Every round is new journey within the big journey and surviving the 18 holes and posting your best score is the mission. How you get there can be different from round to round.

Golfers who have used an open stance:

  • Lee Trevino
  • Fred Couples
  • Jack Nicklaus

Golfers who have used a closed stance:

  • Arnold Palmer
  • Sam Snead

Related: Playing Golf With A Closed Stance

Final Thoughts: Open Stance in Golf

Get out there and test what stance is best for your game. Check out the golf swings of some of the greatest of all time listed above and keep a close eye on how they approach their swing!

Here at golfjourney365, we are on a journey to reach our full potential, play as much as possible and have fun.  Golf is a wonderful relief from the grind of everyday life.  Make sure you enjoy it! 

Recent Posts