Swing Faults When Your Stance is Too Wide

One of the most common problems with the setup, here's what happens when your stance is too wide.

  • Proper stance width is 2" outside of neutral hip alignment
  • A wider stance may feel powerful, but inhibits weight transfer
  • Check your right shoe at follow through - there should be virtually no weight on that leg, so the shoe should be straight at finish

64x64
Eric
Sorry for all the comments, just nerding out on the understanding. You are right. Wide stance inhibits the weight shift, which toward the end of the backswing buries my left shoulder into my chin which forces my head to shift at the top of the backswing? I played the best round of my life when I focused on good stance width, but the next time I played it didn't work as well, but I think I neglected a good weight shift and just tried to swing back from my right shoulder glide. When I was playing I sometimes felt like the momentum from the weight shift almost got me to the top and the shoulder glide just kicked in naturally to keep me centered around my spine. Good posture (no rounded shoulders - easier to do in more narrow than wide stance), bend from hips weight to the ankles, axis tilt, NGA+2, start with weight shift and shoulder glide, downswing triggered by shift to left - check, check, check.
June 3, 2020
64x64
Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Eric. Yes, the lead shoulder chin bury position will move the head. Winning the race all start with the proper setup on the car.
June 3, 2020
64x64
Eric
As a follow up to my question below. If someone is inclined to have a steady head, does it make sense that a stance outside of NGA+2 causes the body to stop rotating (because the head doesn’t shift over the right side)? When I am not vigilant I naturally want to set a wider stance width because it feels more powerful and I pull or pull draw a lot of balls into the woods. Thanks
June 2, 2020
64x64
Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Eric. It doesn't stop the body from rotating, but negating a giant move of weight which would cause the head to shift.
June 3, 2020
64x64
Eric
Ok, I think I have figured out why I play better with NGA+2 inches (BTw, when you do the math I just line up my big toe with my hip bone). For some reason I have a very steady/quiet head. Therefore in NGA+2 I can get my head easily iver my right side with normal weight transfer and rotation. When I even get an inch or two wider than NGA+2, it would require me to shift my head over my right side, which leads to all kinds of other inconsistency issues due to trying to get back on the downswing another couple of inches. But for me, since I have a steady head, my hips stop turning, I don’t rotate over my right side in a wide stance and I end up picking the club up with my hands and arms into a flying elbow. Does this make sense?
February 20, 2020
64x64
R.J. (Certified RST Instructor)
Yes, it does. If you don't get 90 degrees of turn between your hips and shoulders (typically 45 degrees each), you're going to try to get to 90 degrees by shoving your lead side arm across your body which often results in the trailing arm to fly away from the body. It can also cause the lead arm to bend or excess forearm rotation in the trail side arm to the point of causing pain or discomfort.
February 21, 2020
64x64
Eric
What is the physiologic relationship between stance width and hip turn? If I forget getting into 2” outside neutral joint alignment, my hips stop turning early and I pick up the club with my right hand and/or push with my left into a flying elbow and a left pull of the ball. It seems like having the right hip in line with something has an impact - inside of right foot? I know there are a few reasons for good axis tilt, but is it also if you get a wide stance adding more axis tilt until your right hip moves into alignment with the same part of your body it would have at NJA + 2” and normal axis tilt?
January 8, 2020
64x64
Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Eric. As you know from the video and others the faults a too wide stance can cause. It will make shifting difficult, shifting will force too much head movement, etc.. The physiologic component relationship is more just about balance. Your brain is going to make counter adjustments wherever you put yourself and those are additional variables you don't need to deal with. The 2" outside NJA is the best place to shift weight and maintain balance without your head going all over the place.
January 9, 2020
64x64
Eric
Thanks, this is just my nerdy interest to understand the body mechanics. It might just be that when I stand wide and I do "normal" axis tilt, I have to hike my shoulder to the last couple of inches to get my right hand on the club - which leads to a right side dominance set up and a lawnmower pull with the right hand, arm and shoulder. I have noticed I naturally have a very still head, so a wide stance also requires a lot more head movement to get over the right side, and my head doesn't naturally want to do that, so I become all hands and arms. If I take a wider stance with extra axis tilt, it seems to work getting my right hand on the club and my head is more over my right side? Extra axis tilt on a wider stance also helps get my right hand on the club properly. Could be one or the other or both?
January 9, 2020
64x64
Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Eric. When you stand too wide you do have to add more tilt because of the extra width to get the proper spine alignment. Shouldn't force right side dominance however. Wider the stance the more the tilt and vice versa.
January 9, 2020
64x64
Eric
Ok, I went to the range tonight. The narrow stance really helps. The other important part is to get rid of rounded shoulder so my elbow can swing back in proper plane. Fine tuning.....When I get my shoulders in proper posture, and I put my right hand on the club, my right hand arm comes in under the club with my right shoulder not "hiked up", but when I take the grip with my right hand, it tends to rotate over the top of the grip back into the right side dominance. When I concentrate on putting my right hand straight line back parallel to my stance line, my hand goes on comfortably and I don't have the tendency to rotate my hand and shoulder into a hiked position - no right side dominance. Am I on to something here? I was hitting the ball well with this technique. Do you have any suggestions on other ways to eliminate this right side dominance?
August 13, 2019
64x64
Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Eric. Take a look at the Right Side Dominance at Setup Video and the Golf Grip Checkpoint Tips to help with placement. But, it sounds like you found a technique to help with hiking up the shoulder and getting the trail hand too much on top. The goal is however you add the hand. Don't preset right side dominance. Coming from under, or straight line position is fine. Tough for me to tell without seeing the entire sequence.
August 13, 2019
64x64
Eric
So, I think I have the opposite, but related problem. For some reason I keep my head very quiet in the backswing. So, when I get too wide on my stance, my head doesn’t move over my left side and I start to use my hands and arms to get the club back, into a flying elbow bad position at the top. Does that make sense? I also feel like it is easier to ge my right hand on then club in neutral joint alignment, whereas in a wider stance my right shoulder starts getting engaged into a right side dominance setup?
August 11, 2019
64x64
Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Eric. It would make sense to get right side dominant setup when the stance gets too wide. And, lack of weight back to the lead side. The main thing is if the stance is too wide it will affect all the vital components to make a sound swing.
August 11, 2019
64x64
Chad
What about the driver?
June 8, 2019
64x64
Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Chad. Take a look at Proper Tee Height Video to see what adjustments you can make with the driver. Also, with the driver too wide will tend to give players either excessive secondary axis tilt with an aggressive lower body (getting stuck). Or, hanging back and swinging over the top.
June 9, 2019
64x64
Eric
I struggle with right side dominance at set up. I notice that when I set up too wide, it is harder to move my right hand into the golf grip held by the left. The wider the stance the bigger the gap. It actually puts some rotation into my right hand like a table tennis top spin move. Axis tilt helps, but there is still a gap that needs to be forced by my right shoulder. Anyway, this causes a hikes up right shoulder, bad elbow movement leading to a flying elbow. Why does stance width have an impact here in setup. My shoulders (which are pretty broad) are a constant and my shoulders and arms aren’t connected to my legs? The simple solution is neutral stance width, just curious about the physiology of why this happens?
May 8, 2019
64x64
Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Eric. The wider the stance the more axis tilt you need to get the trail hand on the club properly. The trail hand will be below the lead hand. With having proper ball position to get the trail side on the club with the wider stance it would feel more natural to decrease axis tilt and reach over the top. Leading to your bad position. The narrower the stance the less axis tilt you need which probably feels more balanced and easier time setting up with tilt while adding trail hand.
May 8, 2019
64x64
Eric
Thank you. This logic was the missing link. Hit balls really well at the range tonight. Played around with widening my stance on my three wood and adding axis tilt. It works. Should I widen stance on driver and increase axis tilt.
May 9, 2019
64x64
Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Eric. Take a look at Proper Tee Height Video. Your axis tilt will need an adjustment with a driver if you choose wider stance and further forward ball position.
May 9, 2019
64x64
Ron
What is your thinking on opening up your stance with short irons, say 7 iron through the wedges?
February 2, 2019
64x64
Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Ron. Take a look at Should You Splay Your Feet Video. The splay is fine. But, unnecessary unless you have internal hip mobility.
February 2, 2019
64x64
Nolan
At set up, should the trailing foot be aligned perpendicular to the target line or can it also be splayed open?
November 13, 2018
64x64
Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Nolan. Splay is usually dependent on internal hip mobility. If you need a slight splay to allow for proper hip motion that is fine. Most players usually setup with both feet square, or with the leading foot slightly splayed.
November 13, 2018
64x64
John
Makes perfect sense however, with a wider stance hitting driver is it OK to let the head slide from left on back swing to right on down swing? John S,
June 11, 2018
64x64
Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello John. You will see some players do that to create a maximum extension point. But, I wouldn't train, or practice the move. Take a look at Proper Tee Height Video.
June 11, 2018
64x64
Eric
I am kind of fascinated by the physiology of stance width. I shot a 39 (with 3 three putts) doing NJA+2. It seems that even if I do NJA + 3 inches, my right elbow gets into a flying position. I think it is because I hold my head pretty still and instead of moving my head over my right side I pull with my right arm to create a swing plane, does that make sense? 1. Why do your hips get immobile in a too wide swing plane? 2. When I get too wide and set up with my left hand on the club, bringing my right hand into the grip starts pulling in my shoulder and my hand feels like I am hitting a top spin shot in table tennis. Why would stance width effect my upper body, shoulder in making an address? 3. Should we maintain NJA+2 for driver? Thanks for this. I have broad shoulders and a fairly narrow hips, and therefore I think the shoulder width stance i’ve Heard all my life has been bad for my swing.
January 15, 2018
64x64
Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Eric. Sometimes with a wider stance the subconscious thinks it needs push to help transfer the weight and the momentum of the arms will tend to swing deeper leading to the flying elbow. When the stance is too wide you lose distance relative to to neutral alignment making it harder to rotate/shift. The wider the stance shouldn't make you feel that much different with the upper half, but most players struggle with adding proper axis tilt which may be your top spin shot feeling. The driver can certainly be player NJA+2, but since it is a specialty club and there are some variations at impact you can make adjustments (Proper Tee Height Video).
January 15, 2018
64x64
Martin
When you say "NJA+2", I assume that we calculate that from the middle of our feet, and not not from the side of our feet (I hope this makes sense)? Thanks
June 6, 2018
64x64
Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Martin. Yes, from the stacked position. Using the hip socket line with the middle of the knee and ankle joint through the middle of the foot.
June 6, 2018
64x64
Steve
I had a stroke at 21, I am 57 now. It greatly affected my left side which limits me from transferring all or a lot of my weight to the left side. Fortunately, I am fairly flexible but still limited on my left side. Do you have any suggestions for someone in my position?
September 4, 2017
64x64
Chuck (Certified RST Instructor)
Most likely will have to to compensate by using a bit more right side to help you with the shift.
September 5, 2017
64x64
Steve
Thanks Chuck! I am working my way down the list of videos before hitting any more balls. Yes, I have picked up several things already to assist in my play. Think...I am going to appreciate the one-stop golf instructions.
September 5, 2017
64x64
David
Would you say that too wide of a stance contributes to early extension since you cant get the rotation of hips in time for the weight to be on the left side?
June 20, 2017
64x64
Chuck (Certified RST Instructor)
It can cause this.
September 5, 2017
64x64
Corey
Is each foot meant to be 2" outside of NJA? Or just 1" on each side (summing to the total 2")?
April 29, 2017
64x64
Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Corey. Each foot 2 inches outside NJA.
April 29, 2017
64x64
James
What sort of ball flight(push, pull, slice, hook) or hit (thin, fat)results from the stance being too wide?
March 18, 2017
64x64
Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello James. Too tough a variable to nail down. Some players will hang back and flip at impact causing hook or fat. Others will sway too far forward delaying the closing of the face and hit blocks.
March 18, 2017
64x64
stuart
Hi, This my first day with RST and this video is music to my ears. I have had over 100 golf lessons over last 15 years here in UK and in a least 90% of them I have been told that my stance is too narrow (also received many comments from fellow members at my club). At least now I can work on your instruction feeling comfortable over the ball. I have 5ft 8in and measured the width between the middle of my feet this morning after watching one of the first video's and it was 12in which feels very comfortable for me.
March 13, 2017
64x64
Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Great. Thanks for the post Stuart. Too wide of stance is where a lot of players go wrong.
March 13, 2017
64x64
David
Does this mean that you use the same width for every club?
August 11, 2015
64x64
Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello David. 2 inches outside NJA is standard for the majority of the bag. You can get a little wider for the driver if you would like. But, not too much.
August 11, 2015
64x64
Jarek
Do we need to keep the stance the same width for driving and everything else? It seems that I naturally want to widen just a tiny bit when hitting my driver.
December 8, 2014
64x64
Steven (Certified RST Instructor)
Jarek, It is going to be natural for you to have a wider stance with the woods. But for the standard iron shot we want your stance width to be 2 inches outside of neutral joint alignment. Go check out the driver setup adjustment video in the advanced setup part of the website.
December 8, 2014
64x64
Jarek
Hey just watched your recommended video and it didnt answer my question. What is the rule of thumb for stance width with a driver vs with irons?
December 8, 2014
64x64
Steven (Certified RST Instructor)
For a stock Iron shot we want the stance width to be 2 inches outside of neutral joint alignment. You can even keep it that way for a driver as well for more control. If you would like to widen the stance width go about an inch or so wider to establish a solid foundation while allowing for proper rotation and shifting of the weight. There are boney parts of the hip that stick out right underneath the abdominal muscles from there we go 2 inches wider on either side to create that solid base to stabilize that swing I hoped this helped, Steven
December 9, 2014
64x64
Jarek
Perfect thank you.
December 9, 2014
64x64
Christian
If have some friends that hit the ball more consistantly than I do and one of the things they have in common is a more narrow stance than what I have. This video is confirming I need to narrow my stance slightly.
December 8, 2014
64x64
Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Christian. Having the stance just outside Neutral Joint Alignment is crucial in using the body to maximum efficiency.
December 8, 2014
64x64
Gary
gee I am going from bad to worse . I really believe in the instruction but my golf is going down the gurgler. Yesterday , off the T , I pushed and sliced something awful. On the final T, I thought I would try and widen my stance. I hit a beautiful long slight draw, unfortunately I my aim was left of centre and the ball was heading for some trees , lout off bounds so I hit a provisional ball. Same shot but my aim was right of centre, long and beautiful. my first shot was in play and good. Sorry for the book, but moral is , do you think stance width can make such a difference?
September 29, 2014
64x64
Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Gary. Stance width can make a big difference in the golf swing. If you used a wider stance. You might have been reverting to an older position that allowed you to have "make up" moves to hit it well. Make sure you are getting the proper width. Not too wide and/or not too narrow. Use the How to Ingrain Proper Perfect Foot Position Video in this Section.
September 29, 2014
64x64
Alonzo
Question for Chuck and Craig. Given we all have different body types/dimensions for a general reference point, what is the distance, in inches, between your personal instep/inside of your shoes at set-up with a full shot 7 iron? Would that distance remain constant with all full iron shots? Driver swings? I'm 5'11, 34 inch waist, 32 inseam.
September 13, 2014
64x64
Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Alonzo. The stance width should remain constant for your clubs. Sometimes you can make some adjustments for the driver as it is a specialty club. However, you width is based upon your body type and your hip joints. I don't know my exact measurements, but use the How to Ingrain Proper Stance Width Video in the Advanced Setup Section to get yours down perfect every time.
September 14, 2014
64x64
Matthew
so after adjusting my stance to be a little narrower I found that my miss was a more exaggerated over the top. Is there something that I could possibly be carrying over from my swing with a wider stance that is making my miss more over the top than in the past?
June 24, 2014
64x64
Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
With the wider stance you probably were pushing too much from the right side to get to the left. It allowed you to have more make up time with your arms and gravity. Now, that the stance is in a more neural position. You don't need that make up time, but still trying to create the move. Take a look at the Stop Coming Over the Top Video in the Downswing Section to Understand how using the left side properly will allow you to start shallowing out the plane.
June 24, 2014

Is your golf stance too wide? It's an extremely common problem, especially for those who swing too much from the top like I discuss in the Flagpole Video. This golf instruction video shows you what the common swing faults are that you should expect when you stand too wide. 

If you want to find out how to determine your perfect golf stance width, check out this video that teaches you how to determine your perfect stance width based on your anatomy.

You may also be wondering, does your golf stance width change based on different clubs? I answer that age old question in this video.

We're after one thing: Real Results - Real Fast. And that's exactly what our members achieve. And that's why they say the AXIOM is: Mind-blowing. Game changing. Revolutionary.

Check it out ...

Here at RotarySwing, talk is cheap and the proof is always in the pudding. Come see the massive transformations we can achieve together in your swing.

See for yourself ...

From beginner to pro, we have what you need to get you where you want to go.

See how inside ...

RotarySwing was founded out of frustration with the current state of golf instruction. Quinton knew a better way had to exist to learn this game we all love.

Learn more ...