Playing Golf With A Closed Stance: Complete Overview

Golf is an amazing game that can be played with many different methods.  In one of our posts, Weirdest Golf Swings: Top 10, we highlighted the many various types of swings and the quality results that came about. 

Do not be fooled, you do not need the picture perfect swing to have quality results. There are many different ways to hit a golf ball solid and control the distance and curvature of the ball. 

Here at golfjourney365, we believe in these basic fundamentals of a golf swing:

  • Controlling where the club hits the ground.
  • Controlling the curvature of the ball.
  • Having enough distance to play the course.

When you look at these fundamentals vs the traditional fundamentals drilled into our mind, it might actually make some sense on why those non traditional looking swings actually work.

Golf 101 might be a bit different than what you have learned in the past. See below.
Here is a list of items that many of us have heard over the years on our golf journey:
  • Perfect posture
  • Perfect grip
  • Straight alignment
  • Hands in the perfect spot on backswing
  • Lead with your lower body
  • Perfect position at the top of backswing

And on and on and on, you come to realize that there are many different ways to make your swing work. You don’t need all of those items above to actually hit good golf shots. Might they help, of course, but in the world of amateur golf, there are many ways to make things work in the game of golf. 

The reality is that many amateurs do not have the time or the guidance to get the picture perfect looking swing and may even lack some of the physical requirements to look so good with the swing.  I know from my own experience, I have played golf with plenty of people over the years that can score and get great results from playing and owning their swing.

One option that I see quite often is the golfer that plays from a closed stance.  As a result, I wanted to provide a complete overview of the options and actual golf coaches that actually promote swinging from a closed stance. 

The reality is that the ball will start where the clubface is pointing at impact and then curve according to the relationship between the clubface and the swing path.  (See Ball Flight Laws Below for More Detail)

Some golf instruction can be really helpful. Check out our recommended online instructors below.

Playing Golf with a Closed Stance

Playing golf with a closed stance might work for you.  In fact, you can control the three fundamentals listed above playing from a closed stance.  Did you know that Arnold Palmer and Sam Snead, two of the greatest golfers of all time, actually aimed to the right? 

There are also golfers that aimed to the right that included Lee Trevino, Jack Niclaus and Fred Couples.  Our point being, you do not have to aim straight to be a great golfer, this is a misunderstood fundamental of the game.  Having a slightly close stance might be beneficial for your game.

Below we will take you through the following topics:

  • Two Golf Instructors that Promote a Closed Stance
  • Jim Venetos Method
  • Shawn Clement Method
  • Playing Golf with a Closed Stance
  • Understanding Ball Flight Laws
  • What You Can Do To Play Better Golf Today

Two Golf Instructors that Promote a Closed Stance

There are two instructors that promote playing from a closed stance. Although they vary greatly in their approach, they both promote slightly closed shoulders to help with the direction of the path.  While both promote the clubface aiming at the target, both promote turning the shoulders slight closed when hitting a draw. These two teachers:

Jim Venetos Method

The Jim Venetos approach is rather unique, but it works.  I have utilized the closed setup position for a period of time and still go to it when I need to hit a draw. 

The major benefit of his closed setup approach is that you are able to control a swing path that goes to the right for the right handed golfer.  This promotes a draw shot if the club face can stay closed to the path.

He believes and promotes a stillness approach, where a golfer puts 70% of their weight on their front foot, closes their shoulders and then swings along that path.  He believes in a left sided swing where the left hand and arm are controlling the shot.

Does it work?

If you want solid contact (fundamental 1), the 70% of the weight on the front foot definetly helps with this approach.  If you want to control the curve (fundamental 2), you should be able to hit a draw on this demand by playing from a closed position. 

The club face is aimed at your final destination/target and the path swings right of the face. This produces a draw. For the golfer that never can hit a draw, this approach is worth a shot. 

As far as fundamental #3, you might be surprised the distance you can hit a golf ball by quieting down your body and relying on your arm swing, solid contact and some gravity in your swing. The ball will jump off the club face and more than likely you will hit a similar distance.

Here is Jim providing a quick overview of his swing approach.

Who Should Try the Jim Venetos Swing?

Anyone that is struggling with solid contact, or battles a slice.  This swing will teach you the proper swing path and club control needed to meet fundamentals 1 and 2.  Do any of these characterize your golf game:

  • People often tell you to stop overswinging.
  • You slice the ball significantly.
  • You lack distance.
  • You stress day to day what your swing might be and what trouble you will experience.
  • You have no idea if you miss the shot what direction it is going.
  • You have always dreamed of hitting a draw, but have never been able to.

If you said yes to any of these, the Jim Venetos closed approach where everything is controlled in the setup and maintaining stillness might be for you.  I will tell you that I hit some of the most pure short iron shots of my life with this swing approach.

I also knew where my misses were going to be. If you can get past the funny looking setup and the comments from your golfing buddies, you might find a solution that works for you.

Shawn Clement Method

Shawn Clement spends a lot of time on the setup in the golf swing.  He believes that the setup and then swinging along that path will help you curve the ball in the correct direction. 

He promotes working the ball both ways and using the momentum and gravity of the club and swinging it in the proper direction.  He has excellent videos on youtube on shaping your shots and maintaining your focus on the task of hitting the target.

The Shawn Clement approach has helped my golf game significantly, especially with the driver.  I am able to swing free and easy with very little tension.

The ball jumps off the club face and usually curves the way I intended it to curve (fundamental 2).  I also have seen an increase in overall distance (fundamental 3) and my contact is average (fundamental 1).

As far as a closed stance, he promotes the diagonal stance and using this stance to hit a draw or a fade depending on your setup and your swing path.

Here is an excellent video that Shawn Clement has created on playing from the diagonal stance:

Does It Work?

The diagonal stance gives you a feeling of power and control.  You are able to create some quality power while controlling the path of your swing.  When I need a go to shot on a right to left hole, the diagonal stance is utilized and I am able to hit the shot. 

I used it twice yesterday on back to back holes where the hole slightly turned right to left and the wind was blowing slightly to our back and right to left.  This resulted in two beautiful shots that were able to ride the wind and get out there pretty far on a long par 4 and shorter par 5.  

Who Should Try the Shawn Clement Swing?

Anyone that struggles to hit the curve the ball (fundamental 2) the direction that what.  This approach can be great for the higher handicap players who struggle with contact due to being too focused on the ball and not focusing enough on the target or the lower handicap player that needs some help working the ball both ways. 

This could help the lower handicap player off the tee to stay out of trouble and with approach shots to work the ball from the center of the green towards the flag. Shawn is a very positive person who has a wealth of videos available.

Do any of these statements describe your game?

  • You are too ball focused.
  • You have no idea what way the ball is curving (fundamental 2).
  • You struggle with your setup and just always aim straight.
  • You struggle slicing the ball.
  • You lose distance by not making solid contact.
  • You try to manipulate the club.

If any of these descriptions describe your game, it is probably time to check out Shawn Clement and try his approach.  You might find relief if you are constantly stressing about what way the ball will curve the setup positions and the simple approach by Shawn Clement can take your game to the next level.

Playing Golf With A Closed Stance

The golfers who can benefit most from playing with a closed stance are those that have sliced the ball their entire playing careers.  The closed stance promotes an in to out club path, which promotes a draw as long as the face is closed to the path.  

The new ball flight laws make it easy to understand the curvature of the ball  and a golfer can sense that in to out path and simply having the face just somewhat closed to the path and like magic the draw shot will happen. 

I know that when playing with a closed stance I pretty much eliminate the left side of the course as I know the ball will start somewhere to the right of the main target line and draw back towards the center of the course.

When you can eliminate one side of the course and have a better idea where you might miss a shot, you can start playing more relaxed golf that is based on strategy instead of hoping that the ball goes straight. 

Both Jim Venetos and Shawn Clement are great instructors that have helped many golfers in their journey. Don’t we all want to make consistent, solid contact and understand what way the ball might curve? In my opinion, both of these instructors can help you get there. 

They have complete systems with membership offerings to help you grow as a golfer both physically and strategically.

Understanding the Ball Flight Laws

I believe that understanding the ball flight laws is a major aha moment for most golfers.  When you learn the new ball flight laws, things seem to make more sense in the golf swing. Growing up I always heard that you needed to close the club face to hit a draw. 

So many of us would throw our hands and try to ensure the club face was closed. However, there was one missing piece of advice. The club face only has to be closed to the swing path, so in reality it can be open to the target line, but has to be closed to the swing path.

Let’s explain further.  The ball will start where the club face is pointing for the most part.  For example, if the club face is 2 degrees open to the target line, the ball will start to the right. 

Then the direction it curves is relative to the swing path. So if the path is 4 degrees to the right of the target the ball will start right and then curve away from the path.  These numbers above would result in a push draw.  

On the other hand, if the club face is once again 2 degrees open, but your swing path is 3 degrees left of the target line.  The club face is open to both the target line and the swing path.

The ball will start to the right and then curve away from the path once again which in this example the ball will curve right.  The result is a push fade that is going to potentially end up in a bad result.

The bottom line is that the ball will start where the club face is pointing and then curve away from the path.  In order to hit a slight pull fade, a swing that has a face pointing 2 degrees left and a path that is 4 degrees left will result in a shot that starts slightly left and fades back towards the target.

So how does this information help?  It helps you solve your own issues. By reading your ball flight you are now able to understand what the club face and the swing path are doing.  They work hand in hand.

It is essential that you can be consistent. They don’t need to match up, but they should be within a certain range.

Here is an excellent video on Golf Ball Flight Laws:

What You Can Do To Play Better Golf Today

What does this mean for you?  I believe in the following recipe to get better:

1 – Improve your motion in the golf swing by identifying a golf instructor.  Here are some options:

Here is a list of golf instructors that we have reviewed:

2 – Train to swing faster and improve your swing speed.  Here are some options:

Looking to gain more Speed and Distance in your swing. Two Options:

3 – Understand course strategy and work to break through your next barrier.  Here is a series on breaking through:

We have provided guides on how to break 100, 90, 80 and 70. Check out more below, if interested.

Don’t Forget to Check out our 15 best golf swings of all time.

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