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Implementing a narrow golf stance can provide benefits like easier rotation, improved consistency, better weight shift, and slice correction. But it comes with potential drawbacks such as less stability. Learn to find your optimal narrow stance width through testing different foot positions based on factors like flexibility, swing mechanics, and shot shape. Use drills to reinforce proper motions and avoid common mistakes when utilizing a narrower base.
A narrow golf stance is one in which your feet are positioned closer together than shoulder-width apart. The exact width can vary based on factors like your height and flexibility, but generally, a narrow stance means your feet are noticeably nearer each other compared to a conventional “square” stance. It’s important to distinguish between a narrow stance and an ultra-narrow or feet-together stance, which is an extreme version some golfers use for specific shots.
I find a narrow stance has certain potential benefits, including easier hip rotation and weight shift during the swing. With your feet closer together, it can be simpler to turn your hips on the backswing while allowing your weight to shift onto your front foot on the downswing. This can lead to more power and more consistent ball striking. A narrow stance may also help correct a slice by promoting an inside-out swing path.
However, there are some possible drawbacks to using a very narrow stance. It can reduce stability and balance compared to a wider stance. You may also hunch over more at setup leading to back or spine strain. And for some golfers, a narrower base can restrict the ability to fully rotate the hips and generate maximum lower body power.
The purpose of this article is to take an in-depth look at how a narrow golf stance impacts all aspects of your swing technique. I’ll offer clear, actionable guidance on the optimal width to use based on your body type, flexibility, and desired shot shape. I’ll also provide tips to help you implement a narrow stance effectively, train the proper motions through drills, and avoid common mistakes. My goal is to analyze both the benefits and limitations so you can determine if a narrow stance could help take your ball-striking and consistency to the next level.
Table of Contents
What is a Narrow Golf Stance?
A narrow golf stance simply refers to positioning your feet closer together than shoulder-width apart at address. However, the optimal narrow stance width can vary significantly based on factors like height, flexibility, swing mechanics, and club selection. There is no standardized exact width that constitutes a narrow stance. It falls along a spectrum and is best defined in relation to a conventional square stance, where your feet are aligned with your shoulder width.
How Narrow is a Narrow Stance?
For most golfers, a narrow stance generally ranges from about 2-6 inches narrower than your shoulders. But some players might go with a stance up to 10 inches or so more narrow. The objective is to bring your feet in from the standard position enough to where you start to feel slight restrictions in your balance and lower body mobility. Yet not so close together that you are unstable and cramped.
I tend to start with my feet just inside my shoulder width and adjust from there as needed based on the club, shot shape, and my flexibility that day. I go with the stance width that allows me a full shoulder turn and enough lateral hip bump on the downswing while still keeping balanced. For me, this works out to around 3-5 inches narrower than my shoulders.
Narrow vs. Ultra-Narrow Stance
It’s important to distinguish a narrow stance from an ultra-narrow or feet-together stance. With an ultra-narrow stance, your feet are very close, less than a couple of inches apart. While this extreme position can serve a purpose for certain specialty shots, it prevents the hips from turning properly on the backswing. An ultra-narrow stance also makes it nearly impossible to transfer weight fully onto the front side.
A narrow stance finds a sweet spot in the middle – allowing for mobility while retaining stability. Most golfers will get the desired benefits from a narrow stance while avoiding the limitations of an ultra-narrow base.
Narrow vs. Square Stance
Compared to a square stance directly in line with the shoulders, a narrow stance brings the feet closer together in a diagonal alignment. This allows for a freer hip turn and easier weight shift. A square stance provides more stability but can restrict the hips. A narrow stance sacrifices some stability in exchange for increased mobility and rotation.
The ideal stance width depends on your physical attributes and desired ball flight. Adjusting your stance width is an effective way to tune your swing mechanics and dial in more consistency.
Benefits of a Narrow Golf Stance
Adjusting to a narrower stance offers some potential advantages that can improve different parts of the golf swing. While a narrow stance isn’t necessarily better or worse than a square stance, it does change the swing dynamics in ways that benefit certain players and shots.
Easier Rotation and Weight Shift
One of the main benefits of a narrow stance is it allows greater freedom of movement in the hips during the swing. With your feet positioned closer together, there is more space and range of motion for the hips to rotate on the backswing and downswing.
On the backswing, you can turn your hips further away from the target while also getting your weight centered over the back foot. Having the feet closer frees up the hips rather than restricting them.
As you transition into the downswing, a narrow stance makes it simpler to initiate the motion by bumping your front hip forward toward the target. From there, you can swing through the ball as your weight shifts onto your front foot. Eliminating excessive width reduces lower body stability but increases mobility.
I find a narrow stance allows me to fully engage my lower body in coiling on the backswing and uncoiling violently into the ball. For golfers lacking hip mobility or rotational power, narrowing the stance can unleash more speed and power.
More Consistent Ball-Striking
In addition to added rotational power, a narrow stance can enhance the consistency of your ball striking. Because your feet are angled diagonally rather than perfectly square, it minimizes lateral motion during the swing. This reduces excess lower body variables that lead to inconsistent mechanics.
With a narrow stance, any swaying off the ball or sliding of the hips will quickly throw you off balance. You are required to keep the lower body quiet and rotate around a fixed axis instead. This repeatable motion allows your upper body and arms to find the optimal swing path to and through the ball.
I often switch to a narrow stance when I’m making inconsistent contact and losing my swing path. Eliminating extra movement in the lower body helps me return to solid, crisp impacts on the sweet spot of the clubface.
Shifting to a narrow stance is an effective adjustment for golfers who chronically struggle with slicing the ball. Often a slice is caused by an overly outside-in swing path and an open clubface through impact. Bringing your feet closer together encourages the swing path to come more from the inside and allows the clubface to square up.
The diagonal alignment of the narrow stance forces your body to rotate more around your spine angle rather than swaying off the ball. This inside-out swing motion reduces the angle of attack through the ball to compress it better and hit controlled draws rather than slices.
When I start seeing my shots leak to the right, transitioning to a narrow stance is one of the first things I try to engage my hips more and get the clubhead coming from the inside. This minor setup adjustment can make a major difference in shot shape.
Drawbacks of a Narrow Stance
While using a narrower stance can provide some advantages for hip rotation, weight shift, and ball striking, it also comes with some potential drawbacks to consider. Eliminating too much width from your stance can lead to the following issues:
Less Stable and Balance Issues
The most obvious downside of a very narrow stance is reduced stability and balance. With your feet closer together, you have a smaller base of support. This makes it more difficult to maintain equilibrium, especially on uneven lies or hilly terrain.
During the swing, excessive swaying or over-rotation can easily throw you off balance with a narrow stance. You have less ability to stabilize yourself and will be more likely to fall backward, forward, or dip the shoulder on the downswing. For some golfers, the lack of stability leads to tension, poor tempo, and reactive movements.
I tend to only use a narrow stance on flat, even lies, and switch back to square on sidehill slopes or awkward stances. The stability challenges of a narrow stance can outweigh the mobility benefits on certain shots.
Restricted Hip Turn
Bringing your feet in too narrow can begin to restrict your ability to fully rotate your hips on the backswing. While a moderate narrow stance provides more hip mobility, an ultra-narrow or feet-together stance severely limits the lateral hip movement required for a full shoulder turn.
Your hips have to bump forward on the downswing to make room for the backswing. Without enough space between the feet, it’s impossible to complete a full coil. This leads to an arms-dominated swing without leverage from the lower body.
I find my optimal narrow stance width allows me to still complete a full shoulder turn at the top by permitting lateral hip bumps. Too narrow, and I begin to limit my power potential.
Back and Spine Strain
In an effort to adjust to the lack of stability with a very narrow stance, some golfers will hunch over excessively at setup. This can lead to back, neck, and spine strain over time.
Bending too far from the hips to reach the ball can reduce your spine angle. Compensating for balance issues by reaching your upper body toward the ground is an inefficient movement pattern. It’s important to maintain good posture even with feet closer together.
I monitor my spine angle and hip hinge at address whenever using a narrow stance. The goal is a centered, athletic position without rounding my shoulders or loosening my posture.
Power Generation Limitations
While a narrow stance may help weight shift and body rotation, taking too narrow of a stance can restrict your ability to generate maximum power. The source of speed and power in the golf swing is the lower body. Limiting the foundation too much takes away from potential force production.
Ground reaction forces are reduced with feet too close together. The loss of lateral stability prevents fully leveraging lower body strength and athleticism. While rotation may increase, the loss of stability diminishes the overall power applied to the ball.
I’m careful not to go so narrow that I lose connection with the ground and the ability to push forcefully into the turf. A moderate narrow stance retains stability while a more extreme narrowing becomes counterproductive for power.
Determining Optimal Stance Width
When implementing a narrow stance, one of the key factors is dialing in the optimal width for your body and desired shot shape. There is no universal ideal narrow stance width – it requires testing and tuning specific to your attributes and swing. Here are some tips for finding your optimal narrow stance width:
Consider Physical Limitations
Your flexibility, athleticism, and strength will impact how narrow you can go. Golfers who lack hip mobility and core stability will struggle with an overly narrow base. Test your hip rotation at various widths to gauge what allows a full turn without pain.
I ensure my narrow stance is wide enough to complete a full shoulder turn. Approaching tee shots, I make practice swings at progressively narrower widths until rotation becomes limited, then add a bit more width.
Balance Stability vs. Mobility
Try different narrow stance widths while making smooth partial swings. Assess your balance, weight shift, and swing motions at each one. The optimal width balances stability and mobility for your abilities.
Too wide and you lose mobility benefits; too narrow and balance/power suffers. I start narrower and widen slowly until finding the stance allowing free hip turn and weight shift with balance.
Adjust for Shot Shape
Widen or close your stance to promote desired ball flight. A stance-aligned left encourages a draw while right promotes a fade. Modulate width based on your miss – a wider stance to hit a draw if you normally slice it.
Before a round, I’ll hit shots from both a wide and narrow stance to determine which shape each promotes that day. Then I adjust as conditions change.
Modify for Club Selection
A relatively narrower stance works better for shorter shots while a wider stance is better for full swings. Take a shorter stance for finesse wedge shots and partial swings. Widen up closer to the square for maximal power on drives.
On a 110-yard partial wedge shot, I narrow my stance significantly from a driver tee shot. But I start narrow on every club then add width if I need more stability or power.
Dialing in your optimal narrow stance width is a matter of testing, making adjustments, and finding the sweet spot for your body and swing. Let mobility, balance, shot shape goals, and club selection dictate your ideal width.
Setup and Alignment Tips
Proper setup and alignment are critical for executing an effective narrow stance. Here are some key pointers for positioning your body correctly:
Aim your stance several degrees left of the target line to promote a draw. This encourages swinging from the inside out through impact. Align too far left and you risk overdrawing.
I align my narrow stance 5-10 degrees left of my target line. From there I can swing out to the right and back to the left easier.
Position 60-80% of your weight on your front foot at address. Because it’s harder to shift weight from a narrow stance, start weighted forward. Don’t go beyond 80% or you’ll limit your ability to load the backswing.
I set up with 70% of my weight on my left instep and 30% on my right heel when using a narrow stance. This allows me to load my right side on the backswing.
Let your knees flex naturally rather than locking them straight. Avoid hyperextending them backward. Knee flex adds shock absorption and athleticism.
I keep a slight 10-20-degree bend in both knees so I can bump my front knee toward the target on the downswing. Locked knees reduce power.
Maintain your spine angle and posture from address through the entire swing. Don’t straighten up or hunch over in an effort to reach the ball.
With a narrow stance, I’m vigilant about posture. My chin remains tucked, back flat, and spine angle the same at impact as at address. No excessive bending.
Play the ball slightly back of center in your stance, aligned with your back heel. This lowers your hands at address allowing for a bigger shoulder turn.
I position the ball 1-2 inches back of the midpoint between my feet with a narrow stance. This helps my arms drop on the correct plane.
Proper setup alignment lets you maximize the benefits of a narrow stance for hip mobility, weight shift, and swing path control.
Narrow Stance Chipping and Pitching
A narrow stance can be highly effective for chipping and pitching shots around the green requiring precision and finesse. Here’s how it enhances the short game:
Excellent for Control
Taking a narrower stance for chipping, pitching, and bunker shots gives you superior control over ball flight, trajectory, and distance. With feet closer together, the lower body stays quiet – eliminating issues like fat shots and chunking it.
I narrow my stance dramatically whenever I need to precisely carry a shot a specific yardage and make it stop quickly after landing. It takes excess motion out of the lower body.
Promotes Minimal Lower Body Movement
The essence of quality short gameplay is keeping the lower body still while making a compact, controlled swing with the core and arms. A narrow stance forces minimal lateral hip slide or excessive weight shift during the motion.
From a narrow base, I feel anchored in place, rotating my core and arms back and through while my lower body remains largely inactive. This minimizes mishits and inconsistent contacts.
Allows Shoulder Turn and Arm Swing
With a narrow stance, the power and motion are generated primarily with the upper body. You can make a full shoulder turn going back with your arms staying connected to your chest and core.
My upper body coils fully on the backswing as my arms hinge and wrists cock. Then I smoothly swing through the ball with my lat and shoulder rotation while keeping lower body quiet.
Focus on Crisp, Compact Motion
Use a narrow stance to make the motion more compact and efficient. Don’t take the club back very far, but instead feel a crisp, accelerating stroke through impact keeping the face square.
I make sure to eliminate any excessive loops or slack on the backswing from a narrow stance. My focus is accelerating the clubface crisp and solidly into through the bottom of the ball.
The reduced complexity of motion from a narrow stance leads to a much-improved feel, consistency, and control on short finesse shots around the green.
Narrow Stance Full Swing Modifications
While a narrow stance works great for short shots, you’ll need to make some adjustments for full power swings with the driver and long irons. Here are some tips:
Widen Stance Slightly
Add a couple of inches of width from your chipping stance to swing fully without losing balance. The exact width depends on your flexibility and swing arc. But allow enough room for a full shoulder turn.
On full swings, I widen my stance about 2-4 inches from my pitching stance. This gives me a strong enough base to coil fully and drive into the ground.
Allow Front Hip Bump
As you transition into the downswing, let your front hip bump forward toward the target to make space for your arms and club to drop on plane. Don’t sway, but pivot your hip.
I feel my left hip move slightly forward as I plant my front heel. This clears my left side for a powerful downswing sequence.
Squat into the Front Leg
Use your front leg to squat down into the ground on the downswing, keeping your head behind the ball. Sitting into your front leg recruits power from the lower body.
I concentrate on dropping my body into my front thigh, flexing my knee as I drive down into the turf. This adds leverage, stability, and ground force.
Complete Weight Shift
Fully shift your weight onto your front foot during the downswing. Don’t hang back. Allow the hips to rotate open as you drive your weight forward through impact.
From a full swing narrow stance, I shift aggressively onto my left side, letting my back foot roll inward as I strike through the ball into a balanced finish.
Making these moves from a slightly wider stance allows you to strike the ball powerfully while maintaining stability. The techniques remain the same as the chipping motion.
It takes practice to ingrain the proper motions and feels of using a narrow stance. Try these training drills to dial it in:
Narrow Stance Alignment Drills
Stand in front of an impact bag or other target and take your narrow stance aligned left of the bag. Make rehearsal swings focused on keeping your lower body quiet while turning your core and arms back and through.
I spend 5-10 minutes each range session rehearsing my narrow stance alignment and motions. This grooves the swing mechanics.
Chipping and Pitching Reps
Hit multiple chips and pitches in a row from a narrow stance. Start with less than full swings to emphasize control. Work up to full pitching strokes as you dial in your distances.
Hitting 10-15-yard chip shots and 30-50-yard pitches from a narrow base lets me reinforce compact mechanics. I also vary trajectory from low to high.
Make controlled half swings with mid and long irons concentrating on shifting weight into your front side and bumping your lead hip. Exaggerate hip turn and squatting motion.
I’ll hit 3-5 half shots in a row feeling my lead hip drive forward as I shift forcefully into my front thigh. This builds proper sequencing.
Monitor Swing Metrics
Check your swing path, clubface position, angle of attack, and ball flight numbers on a launch monitor while using a narrow stance. Confirm you are swinging from the inside.
Seeing the data lets me validate when my narrow stance is promoting the desired delivery dynamics for solid ball striking and an accurate draw.
Reinforcing new motor patterns through purposeful practice is key. These drills help make a narrow stance feel natural so it translates easily to the course.
When first implementing a narrow stance, there are some common mistakes golfers make that can negate the potential benefits:
Gripping Club Too Tight
The lack of stability from a narrow stance can cause some players to grip the club excessively tight in an effort to gain control. But this leads to restricted swing motion, decelerating, and reduced power.
I consciously focus on maintaining a light, relaxed grip pressure when using a narrow stance. Tension just counters the mobility benefits.
Overactive Lower Body
Letting the lower body sway and slide too much during the swing is a common compensation for lack of stability with a narrow base. But this leads to inconsistent ball striking.
From my narrow stance, I drill keeping my lower body quiet. My legs act like solid pillars as I coil around my spine angle. No excessive lateral motion.
Some golfers dip their heads or round their shoulders at address trying to reach the ball from a narrow stance. This reduces the spine angle and hampers rotation.
I’m vigilant about maintaining an erect posture and spine angle at setup. No slouching or bending solely from the hips and waist.
Incomplete Weight Shift
Not fully shifting your weight onto your front foot and leg on the downswing eliminates power and often leads to fat or thin shots.
I feel like I’m dropping and squatting forcefully into my front side when swinging from a narrow stance. My weight gets fully on my lead foot.
Casting or Flipping
Insufficient stability can also prompt some golfers to cast the club early in the downswing or flip the wrists through impact when using a narrow stance.
I maintain lag in the downswing and don’t release my wrists too early. My arms stay connected to my body for solid compression.
Being aware of these common errors allows me to avoid them when utilizing a narrow stance. I keep it an athletic, powerful motion.
When to Use a Narrow Stance
While a narrow stance isn’t ideal for every golfer or every shot, there are certain situations where a narrower base can be effective:
Correct a Slice
If you consistently struggle with slicing the ball, a narrow stance can help immediately reduce the excessive outside-in swing path causing the slice. The stance alignment promotes more of an inside approach.
When I start seeing my shots leak right, going to a narrow stance is my first adjustment to get the club coming more from the inside. This squares the clubface to reduce slice spin.
Improve Ball-Striking Consistency
A narrow stance simplifies the swing by reducing excessive motion in multiple planes. This can lead to more solid, consistent ball contact, especially for players who tend to sway or slide.
I switch to a narrow stance when my ball-striking is losing compression. The limited motion helps me strike crisp shots on the clubface sweet spot.
Increase Hip and Shoulder Turn
Players with restricted hip mobility can benefit from a narrower base to allow greater rotation. Seniors or golfers with limited flexibility find a narrow stance provides more coiling.
When I feel like my shoulder turn is truncated during the swing, going to a narrow stance frees up my hips to turn more fully.
Maximum Control on Finesse Shots
The minimal lower body motion from a narrow stance offers superior control and precision on short game shots around the green requiring nuance and touch.
Anytime I need to carry a shot a specific distance or control spin on a pitch or chip, a narrow stance improves accuracy and feels significant.
Golfers dealing with knee pain, hip injuries, or other physical restrictions preventing a wide stance may benefit from narrowing their base to relieve discomfort when swinging.
If injury or age prohibits getting wide, I take an appropriately narrow stance to stay balanced and swing freely without pain or awkwardness.
Implementing a narrow stance can provide some potential benefits for golfers seeking more mobility, consistency, and control in their swings. However, it also comes with limitations to consider.
Recap of Main Benefits
A narrow stance allows freer rotation, improved weight shift, swing path control to correct a slice, and superior finesse on short shots. For players with mobility restrictions, it can also enable a fuller turn.
When I need more repeatable mechanics or want to hit a draw, a narrow base simplifies my motion and gets the club coming from the inside. It’s also excellent for precise distance control on pitches, chips, and bunker shots.
While a narrow stance has advantages, reducing width too much can also diminish stability, restrict the hips, and limit power generation for some golfers. It also requires precise techniques to avoid common errors.
I’m careful not to narrow my stance excessively when I need maximum distance or hitting from uneven lies. Too narrow, and my balance, swing arc, and leverage can suffer.
Test Different Widths
There is no universal ideal narrow stance width. Golfers must experiment with different foot positions to find the optimal balance of mobility and stability for their body type and swing.
Through testing and drills, I dial in the precise stance width allowing me a full turn and weight shift without sacrificing balance. This varies based on the club, shot shape, and conditions.
Can Pay Dividends for Many Golfers
While a narrow stance has some challenges to overcome, it can be an extremely effective technique for golfers seeking more consistency and control.
When utilized properly and practiced purposefully, I find a narrow stance helps me strike shots purely, shape shots intentionally, and take my short-game precision to a new level. The benefits are well worth the investment.