Determining Proper Stance Width

Do you think your stance width is based on the width of your shoulders? Think again...

  • Estimate center of hip socket (roughly 1.5" inside hip bones)
  • Get in neutral joint alignment: Line up center of hips, knees, and ankles
  • Position feet so that center of ankles are about 2" outside neutral

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Brent
What should stance width look like for driver and 3 wood?
June 23, 2021
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Brent. They can stay in the same 2 Inches outside of neutral position or go to 3 Inches. Take a look at Proper Tee Height and Hit Your Fairway Woods Solid Videos.
June 23, 2021
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Brent
Thanks Craig
June 24, 2021
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Brian
Does stance width change slightly when increasing the club length or is this a misconception? Seems in other videos your stance is near identical regardless of club for full swings.
April 25, 2021
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Brian. Misconception. The loft and length of the club shouldn't determine stance width. Stance should be 2 inches outside Neutral Joint Alignment for all stock shots. Specialty shots and driver you can make some adjustments because they require different parameters at impact.
April 25, 2021
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Eric
I think I have a very steady head so if I creep outside of NGA + 2” I don’t get to a proper position in my backswing. On my bathroom mirror I took a bar of soap drew three vertical lines - one in the center of my face (my nose), one to my right ear and the last on the edge of my right shoulder. If I am in NGA + 2, I end up between line 2 and 3 over my right leg. If I move out my stance be 2 or 3 inches my head ends up inside my right leg at the top. I can get my head over my right leg, but then I am way outside line 3. Also, I tend to notice (as a person with not the greatest posture from 30 years in front of a computer) I tend to round my shoulders less in NGA + 2. Does this all make sense?
April 7, 2021
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Eric. It can make sense. All depending on your size and shoulder width. But, try not to overcomplicate it. You will have to move in the swing due to weight shift. Don't pin yourself down in a box.
April 7, 2021
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Eric
I'm 6'4" with broad shoulders and no very wide hips. When I was younger they always said to set up shoulder width.
April 8, 2021
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Eric. Yes. That is a common mistake amongst early instruction is the shoulder width apart thinking. Your line may work, but try to judge more by the hip sockets.
April 8, 2021
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Gary C
I am curious about why most pros seem to have a stance that is wider than RST recommends. What are the benefits and drawbacks? Why do they use a wider stance, and more importantly, why does RST recommend we use a slightly more narrow stance. The pros obviously get their weight properly shifted and do many things better or more consistently than the average amateur. Not trying to dispute RST so much as clarify the differences between what they do and what we are practicing in the RST method.
February 12, 2021
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Gary. Take a look at Swing Faults When Your Stance is Too Wide Video. There will be a lot of the answers you seek in there. We base the stance width according to the anatomy. More prone to protect bodily health. I can tell you there are lots more tour pros that are going away from the overly wide stance these days. It is an unnecessary variable that makes weight transfer harder and can lead to hip/knee injury.
February 12, 2021
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Kevin
Hi guys, I have been an on again off again member of rotary swing for some time. I live up in Northern Ontario where golf is only a 4-5 month a year sport. I remember there used to a video called "postures effect on takeaway" under set up. It talked about how most people's clubs are too long for them. I can't seem to find it anymore. Can you please inform if it has been removed from the site or simply put in another section. Better yet, if there is a video that goes into detail about club length, would it be possible to share? Thanks in advance for your time
January 16, 2021
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Kevin. Put this in the earch bar. Posture's Effect on the Takeaway Video. I don't know of another one that details the club length exactly. But, will go try to find.
January 17, 2021
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Kevin
Good afternoon, sorry to keep harping on this but I am currently having a set of clubs built and do not want to cut them too short. I am about Chucks height...5'9" (with a wrist to floor measurement of 32 1/2 inches). I remember a video Chuck released a long time ago called "postures effect the takeaway" where he stated that he was 5'9" and his clubs were 1 -1/2" short of standard. In Chuck's roadshow video "How to Use Your Hips Correctly in the Golf Swing ala Vintage Tiger Woods" Chuck states that your arms only move up and down in the golf swing(relative to your body). In another Utube video "driver vs iron shot" Chuck states that his driver is almost a foot longer than his 8 iron. The driver swing and 8 iron swing are supposed to be identical with some minor setup changes. Your wrist to floor measurement does not change no matter what club you are using. To me the only reason the club should get longer is due to the lie angle of the club, hence moving the ball further away from you. I really believe that my clubs should be 1/4-1/2" short of standard but after watching the driver vs iron shot video on Utube I am really second guessing myself as my driver is only 3" longer than my 8 iron. I was hitting everything solid consistently this past summer out on the range choking up on my clubs to the lengths I have attached. Any wisdom that you can share on this would be greatly appreciated
January 20, 2021
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Kevin. I don't have all the data for you as I haven't studied club fitting in a long time. However, I know for myself 5-10 I am a 1/2 inch short with every club. But, I also have longer arms. You just need to find a quality and experienced fitter. Chuck will be getting fit next month by one of the tour vans. He is going to share the process and what they deemed appropriate, etc. Should have more information to provide then.
January 21, 2021
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Kevin
Great! Thanks Craig. I am pretty sure that my irons are going to fine. I just worry about losing width with such a short driver . Would you mind sharing the length of your driver with me....I am just curious to see if mine is at least in the ball park. Thanks Craig, Kev
January 21, 2021
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Kevin. I would suggest bumping that up. I have 2 that I float between: 44 1/2, 43 3/4.
January 21, 2021
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Kevin
great, thanks for your time Craig
January 22, 2021
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Gary C
After watching some short game videos I notice the my stance width that RST teaches (2 inches outside NJA) puts me in a stance that seems very similar to my putting stance and chuck mentions to use the same stance for chipping and pitching. Would it be correct to conclude that, with the exception of possibly the driver, the RST fundamentals would dictate that I use the same basic stance for all iron and wedge shots as well as for chipping, pitching AND putting? Seems that would make things easy to repeat throughout the bag.
December 29, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Gary. With short game (chipping and pitching) you may narrow the stance to a club and a half width, or NJA because you won't require a big lateral movement of weight to shallow the club. Take a look at Golf Chipping Tips | How to Chip a Golf ball - Proper Setup and Perfect Pitch Shot Setup.
December 29, 2020
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Ben
I noticed in the "Bomb Your Driver" course that Chuck's stance is a fair bit wider compared to what is taught here. How wide should your stance be with a driver?
November 16, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Ben. 1 Inch wider with both feet is fine for a driver. Take a look at Proper Tee Height Video.
November 17, 2020
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Daniel
in a strange way this is the single best piece of golf advice i have ever received. so effective in terms of balancing out the overall swing.
October 19, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Daniel. Thanks for the post. Sometimes the smallest of details makes the biggest differences.
October 20, 2020
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Alan
Hi, To allow a better turn can I still flare my lead foot, say 30 degrees? Regards Alan
August 4, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Alan. That may be a lot of splay. But, yes you can splay the lead foot. Take a look at Should You Splay Your Feet at Setup Video.
August 4, 2020
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Eric
I have a very steady head, so if I go outside NGA + 2 I end up not doing a proper weight shift which results in a flying right elbow and over the top downswing. I see a lot of good players with wide stances., especially on the driver, do they make it work by extra head movement to get over their right leg, excess axis tilt?
August 3, 2020
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Manny (Certified RST Instructor)
1st setting up with a wider than NGA +2 for the Driver, is to accommodate the height of the ball and the forward ball position. There is a need to setup slightly closed to target line, and assure you have proper axis tilt. The move which helps the weight transfer starts with the right shoulder blade glide, and softly getting over to the right side (Ankle), then sequence down to impact, while keeping the head behind the ball and a back to target feel.
August 3, 2020
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Shawn
That explains why I can hit a much better shot with a more narrow stance for me.
July 17, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Shawn. Enough stability to be able to move without falling over. Stance only needs to be varied with specialty shots and clubs.
July 18, 2020
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Tony
Good video as it has helped me to sit in the transition, with a narrower stance; struggled to do this well with a wide stance. Feeling a snap now in the posting up and definitely using the ground. Hitting it with the legs must make it go further. My aching back is also easier. This Chuck guy is good !
March 23, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Tony. Thanks for the post and compliments!
March 23, 2020
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Fred
Is the stance the same for the driver?
February 23, 2020
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R.J. (Certified RST Instructor)
You can use the same stance and then it will fly a little lower, which a lot of professionals prefer because it helps them keep their driver under control, but they also have very high club head speeds so they don't need to worry about trying to bomb it. There is also a driver adjustment video on here that will describe well what you'll want to do to increase your launch angle with your driver. However, that adjustment only works well if you're at a point where you're already hitting your other clubs well and consistently.
February 24, 2020
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Fred
That would explain the last time I was out playing I started out driving well but by the end all my drives were worn burners. Was I not setting up with the ball farther tword the lead foot? I'll try and find that video.
February 24, 2020
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R.J. (Certified RST Instructor)
a slightly wider stance, ball further up in the stance, teed higher up and a slightly closed stance will be what you want to do with the driver to adjust your stance to use your normal swing to hit it further. This will help you catch the ball on the upswing, but closing the stance will help you keep the club face square when it is moved up further. When you make this adjustment, don't try to help the ball into the air, just put your normal swing on it and allow the adjustment to do the rest for you.
February 24, 2020
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Kevin
Hi Craig - I wanted to try and standardize my stance width more. I started out too wide with RST and my last review was too narrow. I marked the floor in my basement with tape inside my back heels and have a 9 inch gap between my heels (I also checked my axis tilt). Just wanted to confirm my setup with you before my next review
February 16, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Kevin. Stance looks great! Just make sure the hip bump is creating the tilt. You may have titled without bump.
February 17, 2020
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Emmanuel
Thoughts on this width apart?
September 16, 2019
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Emmanuel. Stance width looks pretty solid on my end. Just make sure you don't start trending towards adding more forward press.
September 17, 2019
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James
When Chuck says 2" outside of neutral, does he refer overall or is it 2" out from neutral each leg making it 4" overall width stance compared with neutral joint alignment?
July 18, 2019
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R.J. (Certified RST Instructor)
4" overall, it's 2" outside of NJA for each foot, about the size of a sharpie cap, which is said in one of the videos.
July 18, 2019
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Kirkland
Good question! Thanks for the answer!
March 30, 2020
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Richard
I have issues of coming over the top. When I increase my stance width when using the driver I seem to do better with this club at least. As a rule is there any benefit with increasing width stance a little more while using the driver. By the way your instruction has been super.
July 7, 2019
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Richard. Thank you for the compliments. Take a look at Proper Tee Height Video. It is okay to have a slightly wider stance with a driver because the width will increase axis tilt and secondary axis tilt which will keep the plane shallow.
July 7, 2019
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Diane
Hi I've been working on getting the proper stance width and set-up for full swing and also making adjustments to narrower stance as taught in the chipping/pitching series. But in the Driver course, stance width and standard driver set-up isn't specifically mentioned - it just looks a lot wider. Set-up adjustments are mentioned in some detail to achieve particular outcomes but are aimed at the better golfer. What is the 'standard' driver set-up I should be using (as a high handicap golfer)? Many Thanks! Diane
April 5, 2019
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Diane. Take a look at Proper Tee Height Video. The stance will adjust accordingly to what you are trying to do with the driver. Chris will explain all the details.
April 5, 2019
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Rod
Stance width. Should it vary from wedge thru to driver? I believe it should as the driver swing is usually faster than say a 7 iron and way more than wedge which is for precision Please let me know your opinion Thanks Rod
April 1, 2019
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Rod. A standard stock shot with wedge through 3wd doesn't necessitate a stance width change. For specialty short game shots/wedges and max launch driver. You will need to adjust the stance width. Proper Tee Height Video will show you the driver adjustments for example.
April 2, 2019
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Mikko-Pekka
This video is a good reminder as I tend to get too wide. I have a question relating to head movement. I was unable to find video about this. How much head movement is allowed during the swing? None, an inch or something else? My head moves a little bit so should I focus on keeping the head still?
February 25, 2019
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Dean
Hey M-P, the head is allowed to move in the golf swing so don't try to keep it fixed in place. Minimal movement on the backswing about an inch and some on the downswing because you are pulling your lead side over for NJA. You can observe this in the analyzer with Chuck's FO swings. The amount allowed toward the lead side has a cutoff point which is the golf ball; your head needs to stay behind it and from FO view the lead side of your head will be right up against it. This all takes place with good sequencing and a proper weight shift. Hope that helped!
February 25, 2019
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Mikko-Pekka
Thanks Dean! I am not sure if we should use Chuck as a model here as he is fused on his neck or something like that. In some of the RoadShow videos and even in my review Chuck says that head is moving too much. My head moves a little bit. As I was unable to find any video about this I was curious if there was RST fundamental about this subject.
February 26, 2019
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Dean
Sure thing M-P. Yeah I heard about the fusion of his neck but it's the shifting of the weight that allows the head to move and it is allowed up until a point so I think the model is good for seeing how much it moves. I've read many of Craig's answers about this question but I have not seen a specific video that only deals with the head movement. I did watch a video on setup where Chuck talks about too wide of a stance can make your head move off the ball too much and you can also pull yourself to the lead side too much and not achieve NJA or reverse pivot and head moves to lead side on takeaway. I saw all of that in the early stages of my rebuild! Bottom line it is allowed to move. I can dig up some of Craig's posts if you are concerned, just let me know. Or just repost and I'll stay out of the way...no worries.
February 26, 2019
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Mikko-Pekka
Thanks Dean for your answers. If you can find something specific like "your are allowed an inch of movement" I would be interested! It is very confusing as in RoadShow videos Chuck keeps the students head still with his hand.
February 26, 2019
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Dean
Here is one of many M-P. "Intro to Weight Shift in the Golf Swing" video thread: Gerald Chuck, How do you do weight shift and prevent your head from moving backward on the shift back and forward on the shift foreward? A moving head is a disaster in the golf swing isn't it? January 29, 2017, 6:09 am | Reply 64x64 Craig (Certified RST Instructor) In Reply To Gerald Hello Gerald. The head will move in the golf swing. You are correct that a moving head can be a disaster, but that's only if it is excessive. It will tend to move about a inch going back and an inch or two coming through. If the head stays perfectly stable it will be hard to shift the weight properly. Head movement due to proper weight shift is fine. Head movement due to push or poor rotation is bad. January 29, 2017, 4:46 p
February 26, 2019
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Mikko-Pekka
Thanks Dean! This clears things up.
February 26, 2019
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Dean
You are welcome M-P. Sometimes the instructors will make a student do something that is exaggerated, like holding a students head still, and then dial it down. The road show was tailored to each individuals needs and I can understand the confusion but I have rarely come across a question in my mind that the boards don't already have an answer to, you just have to look for it. I really enjoyed binge watching them on YouTube. Good luck with your swing!
February 26, 2019
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Eric
Since my hip joint is believed to be 1.5 inches inside my hip bone and I should center my feet two inches outside my hip joint, I set up with my hip bone even width with my big toe on either side, make sense? Question, I have played some really good golf in your recommended stance width. If I forget about it, my natural stance is for my right foot (right ha see golfer) to set up about 3 inches wider. When I do this (the inside of my foot is well outside my hip bone) I lose mobility in my hips, they don’t naturally turn and I start lifting my right arm/elbow in the swing - resulting in a flying elbow position. Why? What is the relationship between stance width and hip mobility/turn?
January 31, 2019
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Eric. Yes, two inches outside the hip joint. I think you have found the sweet spot. Glad to hear the setup is making a difference in the swing. With the narrower stance it is easier to shift weight into the glute, but also make the hip socket the primary balancing joint. When the stance gets too wide the weight will tend not to load correctly and if it falls forward will make the knee the primary balancing joint inhibiting proper rotation.
February 1, 2019
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Nolan
Does this mean I should have the same stance width for wedges to fairway woods?
November 11, 2018
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Nolan. Other than the driver and specific short game shots. No need to adjust the stance.
November 11, 2018
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Glen
I'm going to correct my (too wide) stance width tomorrow and set up with each side 2" outside of neutral joint alignment. How about for the driver: Is it OK to keep the same 2" outside of neutral join alignment OR is it better to go wider? If so then how much wider with the driver?
June 12, 2018
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Glen. You may keep the same for a driver. However, you can go slightly wider depending on what launch you would prefer. Take a look at Proper Tee Height Video.
June 12, 2018
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Glen
Thanks Craig for the quick answer. Your reviews of my swing are great and are helping me correct my swing issues.
June 13, 2018
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Glen. Appreciate the compliments. Let's keep it moving in the right direction.
June 13, 2018
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Eric
Narrowing my stance width to two inches outside of NJA has been very helpful. Essentially, after doing the math it lines up my big toe with my hip bone. When my stance was too wide I tended to take the club inside to a flying elbow. I THINK this is because when I was wide, when I put my right hand on the club I tended to rotate it,like a top spin with a ping pong paddle. If I get to the narrower stance my right shoulder doesn’t hike up closing my right shoulder, it comes straight across, my shoulders stay square to the target, no rounding, and even my left hip stays square vs. a tendency to open with a wider stance. From a physiological basis, why: (1) does my right hand rotate into a gorilla grip with wide stance, (2) why do I tend to open my left hip/stance with a wide stance? Thanks.
June 5, 2018
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Eric. The opening is a tendency because it provides a better ability to clear the hips with a wider stance. Typically, with a wider stance players will tend to also add excessive knee bend, or rounding of the spine when bending over. Causing the shoulder blades to get disengaged from the core providing a more prone gorilla grip positioning.
June 5, 2018
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Eric
Yes, pretty fascinating. I was told that I had too much kneenbend causing an over the top start of my downswing since it promotes over turn with hips. Also, find it so much easier to stay in posture without rounding shoulders with NJA+2
June 5, 2018
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Magnus
Since the knee is more or less halfway between the ankle and hip joint (at least on my body) the knee should basically be 1" inside the the ankle with the stance width according to your guidlines. A vertical line through the middle of my knee (an alignment rod) would then touch the inside of my foot. Do you agree that it would be a correct way to check proper setup?
May 16, 2018
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Magnus. Your assessment of the position relative to the knee is pretty close. Ideally, I would rather you use the hip socket dropping the alignment rod from there.
May 16, 2018
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Mark
I've been working on narrowing my stance as recommended in a swing review. I now seem to be pulling / hooking a bit more and sometimes hitting a bit too much of the ground before the ball. Are these to be expected during an adjustment period or is there something else that you reckon typically happens after narrowing the stance? Thanks.
April 30, 2018
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Mark. If the stance width is now correct and you are used to being too wide. You might be dealing with stability issues and over using push in your swing. Once, you start shifting weight properly and start using pulling forces to rotate shoulders, move weight, etc.. It will start to improve.
April 30, 2018
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Paul
Do you recommend opening the left out towards target slightly at address ?
March 21, 2018
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Paul. All depends on if you have limited internal hip mobility. Take a look at Should You Splay Your Feet Video.
March 21, 2018
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Rosie
I am a little bit "knock kneed." That is, when i stand with my knees together, my heels are about 1.5" apart. Is it more important to base my stance on having my knees directly below my hip joints, or my feet directly below my hip joints? With the next adjustment being to move my feet apart about another 4" total (2" per foot). Thanks!
August 3, 2017
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Hi Rosie, great questions here! It's best to position the center of the ankle 2 inches outside of the center of the hip socket.
August 6, 2017
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Xavier
Does this same stance work with my driver, woods, and long irons? I've been instructed that a wider stance provides more power with the aforementioned clubs. Please advise!
March 29, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Xavier. You may have a wider stance with a driver (Proper Tee Height Video and Driver Setup Adjustments Video). However, it is unnecessary to have an overly wide stance.
March 29, 2017
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Robert
I think this is the worst job you ever did regarding width of stance. Width of stance is very much determined by the club you are hitting. A driver width of stance must obviously be wider than a full pitching wedge stance so as to allow for a more weeping, shallow club head motion through impact. Adam Scott only has about 4 to 5 degrees of spine tilt to the right on a driver and is vertical with his spine angle on a full pitching wedge. The biggest difference in the angle of attack is caused by width of stance.
March 7, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Robert. I apologize that you are displeased with the video/information above. We strive to provide 100% accurate information based on biomechanics and anatomical absolutes. Width of stance is determined by your body size and not length of club or width of shoulders. You need to be looking at your hips, specifically the sockets where your legs attach, to determine your stance width. So there’s an anatomical basis for your stance width. Angle of attack is based of off the shaft angle into impact. I could easily change the angle by moving the ball before even thinking about stance. If I kept my stance width the exact same, but placed my ball off of my trail foot and then one off of my lead foot. Would the angle not change since the only thing I moved was my ball position and not stance? Your pelvis doesn't grow/change just because you grabbed a different club. Therefore, there wouldn't be a basis that a 9 iron needs to be narrower than a 7 iron. You are still the same body size whether it be a wedge or driver. Yes, you can have a vary in degree of axis tilt and stance width which will change launch (for driver to change launch angle - see Proper Tee Height, Driver Launch Angle and Driver Setup Adjustments Video). And, some players will use less tilt with a wedge, but is that always necessary. For example, if we use your example of Adam Scott as the baseline. Should every player setup exactly like Adam? Is Adam 100% anatomically correct? With Adam being 6 feet tall, should a player being only 5 feet tall and narrow hips have the exact same distance between their feet? Take a look at the Stance Too Wide Video to see if the smaller player setup wider like Adam would he/she have a problem shifting their weight or moving their head. We can all agree that changing your setup can definitely affect characteristics of the swing and shot. However, having multiple stances for every club and someone trying to mimic a player unlike their body size could create a world of inefficiencies.
March 8, 2017
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Christopher
Great response
July 3, 2017
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Sebastian
Is the stance theory the same for the long clubs (Driver, Woods) as it is for the Irons?
March 7, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Sebastian. There is some variance for the Driver. Take a look at the Proper Tee Height Video and Driver Setup Adjustments Video.
March 7, 2017
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Sebastian
Thanx for the quick reply! Much obliged! Sebastian
March 7, 2017
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Christopher
Just had my best ever range session and only working my way through the intro videos so far, thanks for all the great advice! Just wanted to ask, for 2 inches, is that 2 inches per foot i.e. I move my left foot 2 inches to the left and my right foot 2 inches to the right? Or is it 2 inches in total i.e. I move both only 1 inch? Cheers if you could let me know!
February 16, 2017
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Greg
Thanks for your question Christopher, i was going to ask the same.
February 20, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Christopher. Great. 2/per foot. Keep up the good work.
February 16, 2017
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Gisella
Sorry but I've tried to do the stance like you say,but they told me that for my height (1,92 meters) it's not wide enough,especially for the driver
January 15, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Gisella. You are allowed a little wider stance for the driver. Take a look at the Driver Launch Angle Video.
January 15, 2017
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Jeffrey
If your to wide then you can't rotate on the backswing and it's difficult to transfer the weight on the downswing.
January 15, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Jeffrey. Do you have a question about being too wide?
January 15, 2017
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Yuefeng
Hello, is it ok to widen the stance a bit (maybe an additional inch or so) for longer clubs just to feel more stable on the ground? Could there be a comfort range outside NJA where we can have some discretion for the balance of stability and control? Thanks.
December 12, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Yuefeng. With the driver it is acceptable to widen the stance. You don't need it with the other clubs. But, for fairway woods if you need that extra inch and still shift properly. Don't sweat it.
December 13, 2016
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Vince
My review said my stance is too wide (and I agree). I'd like to measure out what it 'should' be and mark it on a board or something for when I do my 5-step rotation drills to ingrain proper stance width. I'm 5'10 and if I take a string and weight and go from mid-hip through knee and ankles with my feet perpendicular to the target line, I measure about 10" between the middle of the toes of both feet (essentially mid-ankle to mid-ankle width). Adding 2" that would mean with feet perpendicular to target line, that would give me about 14" stance width. Is that a number somebody 5'10" or so might reasonably have ? 10+2+2 = 14 mid-ankle to mid-ankle for NJA + 2 each side ? Can anybody provide their numbers just as a point of reference ?
December 9, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Vince. I am 5'10 as well. Mine for a reference is 16 using your calculations.
December 10, 2016
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Eric
Thanks, I will make sure to be 2 inches outside NJA. I think when I get outside of the NJA + 2 inches (wide stance), it immobilizes my hips on the backswing, and then my arms take over, especially my right arm and my arms get me to the feel of a backswing with the flying elbow. Does that make sense? I think this because if I'm in NJA+2 my hips turn fully and I get to a good top position with elbow pointing down vs. pointing behind me.
November 7, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Eric. That could be your issue. The trail hip needs to turn roughly 45 degrees in the backswing. Take a look at the Weight Shift Video Part 2 to help the proper turn.
November 7, 2016
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Eric
Ha, fairly wide stance.
November 6, 2016
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Eric
Your site is amazing. I have a question. I have been an over-the-top guy for years. I've had instructors tell me to drop my shoulder on the downswing, hit to first base, etc. None of it feels natural. I have tried making my left side more dominant. I have a bad flying elbow and I've always felt that is a big part of it. I'm 6'4" and I've always had a girly wide stance. When I went to neutral joint alignment on my stance width I could feel my right elbow starting to point down my pull has changed to a nice draw. Even if I experiment and go 2 inches outside of neutral I can feel my flying elbow and the over the top pull returns. Does this anatomically make sense? Thanks, I've told a lit of people about your site. Wish you were doing a session in Northern California.
November 6, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Eric. Thanks for the compliments of the site and our instruction. Ideally, we would want you 2 inches outside of neutral. That shouldn't make that big a difference in path when change from NJA. I'm guessing when you are more narrow the shifting happens sooner therefore making it easier to shallow the path. Try getting the stance 2 Inches out and work on the initial move with the Fixing Your Weight Transfer Video. Also, we won't be in Northern California anytime soon (I apologize). But, feel free to use the swing reviews and we will be happy to take a look. Add the 3 Functions of the Right Arm to help corral the flying elbow.
November 7, 2016
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Jason
Never mind just read that answer below
September 8, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Glad you found the answer Jason. All the best.
September 9, 2016
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Jason
Does the width of your stance change ever based on the club you are hitting?
September 8, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Jason. The stance width may change with the driver or certain short game shots. But, will remain the same for most standard or stock shots.
September 9, 2016
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Yuefeng
Following up on this question, I noted for some tour players they do tend to have wider stance at least for woods, is there any merit to an old rule whereby the longer the club, the wider the stance while maintaining the same ball position off the left ear? Also, Chuck mentioned a wider stance will lead to improper weight transfer issues (head move off the ball / insufficient weight transfer going back and then long shift to the left going down), but then how do I deal with these issues when swinging a driver with wider stance?
September 22, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Yuefeng. You may have a wider stance with the driver, but unnecessary with the other clubs (Proper Tee Height Video). The addition of the width is very minimal. The head still shouldn't move that much. Also, you are tying to catch it on the upswing. If the head starts moving too much, then you probably added too much width.
September 22, 2016
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Miguel
Hi guys, The stance has always been a grey area in my golf swing. The majority of the Instructors say we need to be wide and when you see swing analysis video of the big hitters, they all have a wide stance. I have notice that when my stance is wide as previous instructors ask me to be, my golf swing suffers and I become inconsistent. So it's so nice to see that you guys are confirming my feelings and beliefs. My questions: 1. For a normal shot should my stance width be the same from lob wedge to 3 wood? 2. What about the driver should my stance width be a little wider or it should remain the same? My concern with the driver is that if my stance width is narrow I'll sacrifice distance. Thanks,
September 5, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Miguel. Standard stock distance or width in the stance from wedges to 3 wood. The driver can be slightly wider due to the different nature you want at impact (more positive angle of attack). Take a look at the Proper Tee Height Video.
September 6, 2016
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Miguel
I tried a narrow stance at the range and surprise! The compression on the ball was so much better. I just need to get used to this stance width, but will definitely keep at it. Thanks Craig!
September 6, 2016
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Jess
In determining proper stance, do you have spine tilt in a chip stance, a pitch stance and a putting stance, like you demonstrated full shot stance. In other words is there some degree of spine tilt in every kind of stance?
August 25, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Jess. There is very minimal in the putting stance. But, yes due to the trail hand being lower on the club there will always be a slight amount of axis tilt.
August 25, 2016
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John
Can I clarify this guidance, as I think, according to my interpretation, that my stance, especially with the driver, is far too wide, but moving it in to this 'narrow' of a stance feels incredibly uncomfortable and far less powerful. Before making such a change, I want to make sure I'm interpreting correctly. When I stand in a way that has my ankle and hip socket centres vertically aligned, as the video shows, the centres of my feet are approx. 9" apart which (coincidentally ?) is the same distance between centre of my belt loops on the shorts I'm wearing... My feet are 4" wide, so the outside edges of my feet are approx. 13" apart. If I add 2" each side, I move my feet to approx. 17" apart. For a driver, I've seen references that maybe another 1" each side is ok, but not necessary, which would give me a maximum driver stance width of about 19". I've tried that and it feels soooooo narrow. Am I missing something or do those measurements sound correct, i.e. 17" for irons, 19" for driver, when measured from outside of foot to outside of foot ? Thanks.
July 31, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello John. You might be a hair narrow when setting up for NJA. Without see your body alignments it would be tough to say. But, it sounds just a little in. I would suggest uploading a video for review and having one of our instructors take a look.
August 2, 2016
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Marc
For those who struggle to find where the middle of the hip is, it would seem that one way of determining the right stance width would be to widen the stance until the point where your head is going to move 1 or 1.5 inches. If you go too wide, the head will have to move more than this. Would the head move the same distance for a driver?
October 31, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Marc. It seems like you are making it harder on yourself than you should to find good positioning. Use the belt loop on your pants or the hip bones. An alignment rod from there can help you pinpoint the distance. And/or How to Ingrain Perfect Stance Width Video.
October 31, 2015
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Marc
Hi could you please let me know whether you would shorten the width for shots within 100 yards where accuracy is more important than club head speed? Thanks, Marc
October 21, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Marc. For a standard wedge shot the stance width will remain the same. Only until you get into pitching and chipping will the stance start to narrow.
October 22, 2015
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dawn
Given that women's hips are considerably variable, I think a comment specific to women is warranted
July 28, 2015
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Hey Dawn, you are absolutely correct when you say the design of women's hips are different. If you know that you have a wide pelvis, then we can help you determine how wide your stance should be so that you are stable during the swing and you can shift you weight without your head moving all over the place. As rule of thumb, start out 2 inches outside of neutral joint alignment and then see if you can transfer your weight like we teach without your head moving an inch to an inch and a half. Let me know if you need further guidance and I will gladly assist you.
July 28, 2015
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Greg
Craig - Please have a chat with Chuck - this might be worth posting on the notes afor all of the ladies on the site.
February 20, 2017
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John
Does height affect stand width? At a thin 6' 3", is a wider base better, more necessary for stability? Or does it make no difference because it is a rotary swing around the spine?
June 7, 2015
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R.J. (Certified RST Instructor)
John, great question! If you're a taller person, you very well may have a wider stance than someone who is shorter, but not relatively speaking. Your stance width should be determined by the width of your hips as that is what your legs are attached to. If you check out the 5 minutes to the perfect golf stance video, there will be step by step instructions on how to get into the perfect stance, stance width included. R.J.
June 7, 2015
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John
Is that 5 Minutes to the Perfect Golf Setup or something else? I don't see a 5 minutes to a perfect stance.
June 7, 2015
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R.J. (Certified RST Instructor)
John, yes, that was a typo on my part. 5 minutes to the perfect golf setup is the video.
June 9, 2015
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Robert
R.J. - I too am in the tall and thin category (all legs and arms / lanky / whatever). In the downswing that 3 inch lateral shift can wreak havoc on my stability. Can I think of the transition as more of a "downward" move with the left leg, the with lateral portion being a side effect? Almost feel like I could drive my left heel 45 degrees into the ground from the top of the backswing ... so lateral and down at the same time?
June 8, 2015
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R.J. (Certified RST Instructor)
The first part of that could be true, Rob. You can use your squat to assist your lateral shift, but if you push your left heel into the ground at a 45 degree angle, it will force you to lean back away from the target. Now, if you mean load pressure into your heel at a 45 degree angle, that's fine as long as you get over top of your left leg entirely before you post up the lead leg (push heel into ground) and release the club. However, you'd be better off if you worked on the stance and weight shift into the backswing more so that you're stabilized coming into the downswing. R.J.
June 9, 2015
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John
Yes, i agree. This is what you folks talk about in the Perfect Lower Body Stability video. I'm also working with your weight shift video and actually trying to get my glutes activated so my weight shift is through my ankles...I can't really "feel" any of this stuff yet when I'm on the course, but on the driving range it's magic! Hopefully, I can transfer the "feel" of this swing soon!
June 8, 2015
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R.J. (Certified RST Instructor)
John, it's likely that when you're taking it on the course, you're tensing up or thinking about it too much. Relax and hit the ball, you'll be fine as long as you put the work in prior to the round. R.J.
June 9, 2015
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Loran
The stance width for the driver is wider, correct? Does the right foot remain straight and square in all swing stances, as opposed to the left foot?
June 6, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Loan. The stance width can be just a touch wider for the driver. Preferably, the stance/toes will stay square. No real need to flare out the toes.
June 6, 2015
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Jeramy
Hello, I have a question about stance width in particular. I have bowed legs, and when I stand in neutral joint alignment with my hip sockets directly over my feet, my knees are not in line obviously and are outside this line. Would this affect my stance width at all? Thank You
April 14, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Jeramy. Your stance width is still going to be 2 inches outside NJA. The issue will be what the knees do when you shift your weight. You will need to be a little conscious of the fact that when you transfer the weight to your lead side at the start of the downswing. Make sure the lead knee doesn't externally rotate too far out. Letting you slide or push into impact beyond NJA.
April 15, 2015
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Nguyen
Hi In the article, the Hip socket is roughly 1.5'' inside hip bones, so can I extend our stance a little more (0.5'') outside my hip bones will be OK? I.e the stance will be 1'' larger than my hip?
April 10, 2015
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R.J. (Certified RST Instructor)
Nguyen, neutral joint alignment would be when the ankle is under the hip joint so, if your hip bone is 1.5" inches outside your hip joint, then being 0.5" outside your hip bone would make you 2" outside neutral joint alignment, which is ideal in the golf swing. So, the easy answer to your question is yes. R.J.
April 10, 2015
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Nguyen
Thank R.J, it would be easier for me.
April 10, 2015
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R.J. (Certified RST Instructor)
You're welcome. It's actually easier for everyone. Good luck with your game, Nguyen. R.J.
April 11, 2015
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Seth
What is the recommended foot position? I've heard back foot needs to be perpendicular while front foot needs to be slightly open and I've heard both feet need to be slightly open. I've heard the driver foot position is different than the irons also. Any RST advice?
March 1, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Seth. Preferably the feet should be perpendicular. Therefore, allowing someone to post efficiently and not tend to hip spin. You can flare it out just a tad for looks if it throws you off too much. Just understand the more the feet are flared the more the hips tend to rotate open too much. Shouldn't really change from club to club.
March 1, 2015
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Mark
Chuck's explanation seems legit but I don't think any pro's have their stance that narrow. Even your pro swing analysis examples are far wider than Chuck's suggested width.
February 24, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hey Mark. We are basing it all on BioMechanics. This is just what science and anatomy tell us is the safest and most efficient. Other players might tend to be wider. But, as you can tell from the demonstration. There isn't too much of an advantage.
February 24, 2015
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Ronald
I have a question concerning foot placement. Specifically flare. Do you advocate a certain amount of "toes out" flare to aid in rotation or is it better to have your feet parallel to each other to limit lower body rotation?
February 11, 2015
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R.J. (Certified RST Instructor)
Ronald, we don't want to flare the feet because it allows the hips to turn too much in the swing. Hips that aren't stabilized are also going to promote lateral shifting and twisting of the knee joints, which is going to put us at risk for injury. Flaring the feet may seem like it is assisting in rotation, but it actually limits the amount of separation that we can get between our hip and shoulder turn. If you stabilize the hips with the glute muscles, the hips will not rotate more than 45 degrees in either direction as long as our knees are pointed in the correct direction and our heels are on the ground. Once, the hips are stabilized, we can get a great shoulder turn with little effort. R.J.
February 11, 2015
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Taweesak
After study you video awhile, I understand that all clubs will be the same width stance except pitch and chip shot and The driver which may need more distance need the adjustment setup.
January 27, 2015
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Aaron (Certified RST Instructor)
Exactly right! Good work! The driver can have the same stance width for lets say a nice stock shot. But widening her up a little bit will help the really launch the ball!
January 27, 2015
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Taweesak
Thanks, but how could we widening ?
January 28, 2015
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Taweesak
Is the stance width same for all club ( Wedge to Driver) ?
January 27, 2015
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Aaron (Certified RST Instructor)
Can be for most stock shots, see comment above.
January 27, 2015
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David
Hi guys. I know we all have slightly different hip widths, though would a few inches outside NJA, pretty much line the center of my ankles up with the outside hip area (outside of my trousers at widest hip area point)? I am a lean guy. I notice the stance Chuck stakes during this particular video appears a little narrower than most of the RST instructional videos on this site, and all the videos I have drawn lines on in the 'self analysis' video area. They all seem to line the instructor's ankle centers up with the outside of their trousers at widest hip area point. Perhaps that is another guide for 2" outside NJA? Any narrower than that and I feel too unstable even with a slower centered rotation.
January 25, 2015
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R.J. (Certified RST Instructor)
David, You can get the perfect stance width every time during your practice time with two alignment rods and a sharpie. Stand in NJA with your weight centered over your ankles, then place alignment rods on the ground marking the outside edges of your feet. Take the cap off the sharpie, it is about 2" in length. Use it to remark the alignment sticks 2" wider for each foot, then place your feet up against the sticks again and your stance will be at the proper width. Golf clubs work as well, if you don't have alignment rods. R.J.
January 26, 2015
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Chris
Hey, I have had a ACL replacement and my left knee doesnt fully lock straight. It has a slight bend in it all the time. Any advice for this or does the same rules apply?
September 19, 2014
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Chris. The same rules will apply. It is ok that the left knee has a slight bend. Only minor tweaks at impact could be needed. Your setup should remain the same.
September 19, 2014
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Dennis
Does the stance width of "a couple inches outside of neutral" apply to the driver as well? I've seen a wider stance width when hitting driver advocated time and again.
August 12, 2014
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Dennis. Yes, the stance width will remain the same. There isn't a need for a overly wide base.
August 12, 2014
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Pat
Chuck, I am LOVING this instruction site!! One question: Are pros like Rory McIlroy and Martin Kymer succeeding in spite of their very wide stances? On their drivers, their width appears to be almost three feet wide. Only on short shots do they have a stance that is balanced hip over knee, knee over ankle.
August 8, 2014
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Pat. Glad you are loving the site. Yes, they are succeeding despite the stance width. It's something they have done from a very young age. Lots of hours training to not slide, or move the body all over the place to transfer weight. They are able to use the stance very well. However, it is inefficient.
August 8, 2014
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David
Maybe I jumped the gun...after several sessions at the range I realized having a wider stance did put some strain on my back & also hitting the ball fat at times...then I did as chuck described in the stance video & felt my body coil very easy with no strain on my back & yes I was hitting the ball much further. Guess you can teach a old dog new tricks! Thanks for all the feedback...you guys were right on!
May 12, 2014
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Glad you got some clarity through putting it to use. If you are getting any stress in the lower back, make sure that you have pulled your belly button in at address to take any curvature off the lower spine and also make sure that you are not over rotating in the backswing causing the vertebrae to compress. Good luck.
May 12, 2014
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Blake
For all the neighsayors out there, I can attest that this "Narrrow" stance really does take strain off the back. With Progressive-Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis, I struggle with something called Spasticity. Before starting this program, my stance was much wider, due to balance issues related to MS and my back hurt after every round and worse the next morning. by narrowing the stance, it forces my shoulders to rotate around my axis point and not my hips (the hip rotation was the cause of the pain), and not only am I hitting longer, more straight and more consistant shots, but the back pain is completely gone. I don't hurt NEAR as much the next morning and at the end of 18 holes, I feel like I could go 18 more. Listen to what Chuck is telling you. It isn't just something he pulled out of thin air. It is anatomically correct and when you actually practice the videos you are given, you can be sure you are being set up to be successful, but in a healty way that reduces the chance for injury. If you don't believe what Chuck is saying in this video, read and believe my testimonial. I'm physical proof that this stance width works and when I get my stance too wide...out of habit, my back lets me know. That's why practicing in a mirror, without a club is so important. Get use to the feeling of the swing and weight shift, axis tilt/hip bump, before you ever put a club in your hands and head to the driving range. If you don't trust the process, it won't work for you. I trust Chuck and the system. I've been playing since late January-early Febuary as exercise and a way to gain flexability as suggested by my Neurologist. I have to be careful with my body...more careful than most, but it sure is a nice feeling to be a week into the program and already being one of the longest and most accurate hitters in my group. I practice in my room in front of a mirror. I stretch a lot, and I practice 3-5 hours a day, with breaks, at the range every Tuesday -Sunday. Saturday morning is the day my group plays together. I practiced 3-4 hours in the morning and 3-4 hours in the evening, in my room, in front of a mirror, without a club, for a few days before I ever even went to the range to hit a ball. Bottom line....TRUST THE ROTARYSWING SYSTEM! It works.
May 11, 2014
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Thanks for the great response there bsimm!!!!
May 12, 2014
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David
Like I said I totally disagree...it's no proven fact with that narrow stance. Look at tigers narrow stance now! Almost has a reverse pivot. Not to mentioned surgery on the back. The narrow the stance the more hip turn which in turn puts a lot of strain on the back! Common sense!
May 9, 2014
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
2 inches outside of neutral on each side is not what I would consider narrow in any sort of modern day golf instruction The width of the address relates to the width of the pelvis in each person rather than the old expression shoulder width apart. The shoulders have little do do with stance width. The proven facts behind RST is that getting into neutral joint alignment at impact under the amount of torque and force created in the swing is absolutely critical for protecting the joints that are so often worn. Loading to the right side and stabilizing the pelvis with the glutes, keeps you inside of neutral and will not allow the hips to over rotate which in turn can allow the torso to over rotate. Common sense has nothing to do with the determination of the stance width. Wide stances and narrow stances can produce reverse pivots as we see it all the time. The point is to load the correct muscles to stabilize the pelvis and then be able to unload into a safe spot which we have a panel of doctors that stand behind this.
May 9, 2014
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David
I think you guys have a lot of valuable info. But as far as stance width I don't buy it...to narrow of a stance doesn't fly. In any sport there is always a stable foundation. Could u imagine a linebacker with a narrow stance. Look how wide Hogan's stance was! And for that matter Michelle Wie's stance. I think u guys have not done enough research in that area and can lead to a reverse pivot. Which can lead to injury. I myself am 57 yrs old & have no back pain from swinging a golf club because my hips don't turn as much as someone with a narrow stance? Almost all my buddys with a narrow stance have back trouble!
May 9, 2014
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Stance width is a fundamental with certain requirements. Being able to maintain a stable base during the load and unload, shifting the weight properly without creating a ton of lateral head movement etc. With being 2" outside of NJA, this allows for a stable base and makes the load and unload very possible with minimal head movement. When you are at the address position you should have enough axis tilt to where the spine is just inside the left knee. When you start the shift to the right, some of the tilt is lost and you are now working to rotate the shoulders properly (perpendicular) to the spine to the top of the swing. If you do not have axis tilt, then you will more than likely reverse pivot. Stance width is a subjective question in the world of golf instruction and we know that with being 2" out side of NJA, that you can load right, then shift fully back into NJA at impact which is critical for protecting joints all while controlling the bottom of the swing arc.
May 9, 2014
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Yoshi
Do you recommend the same stance width for all clubs? Or wider stance for longer clubs for stability?
May 7, 2014
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
For stock shots, you want the width of the stance to remain constant. If you are hitting a specialty shot, there can be some variance in width. There can also be some driver setup adjustments as well as noted in the driver setup adjustment video.
May 7, 2014
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lee
Prior to my introduction to RST, my foot width was a little greater than RST recommends. As time wears on i still fight getting too wide. i made an adjustment yesterday that seems to have made a great difference in feeling comfortable and strong in the RTS stanace width. I feel like my legs are now a little bowed, although i suspect they are not really bowed, but past habits had both knees pitched inward slightly, now i focus on keeping knees separation. This gives me a much greater feeling of stability at my reduced foot width. now i feel as wide or wider as i was before i made the transition to RST stance width . Now for the question, in the take-a-way > back swing, does my left knee move perpendicular to the target line or does it move a little toward the ball?
May 5, 2014
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
There should be very little movement in the left knee from the takeaway into the backswing. Check out the left knee laser beam video.
May 7, 2014
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Todd
Similar question to Kathy, how can I choose not to have my email address show up as my handle? I could not see a place to change this in my profile info. In this video about stance width, is it dependent on what club you're holding? I know a couple of inches outside of neutral alignment is taught, but does this work for all clubs including the putter?
May 2, 2014
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
There are 3 tabs above your profile info that you will need to click on and adjust your info to how your name is displayed. If you cant figure it out or find it, let me know and I can help you further. For all stock shots the width will remain the same from one club to the next. There can be some adjustments to the putter and the driver as we have videos on that within the site currently. One is called driver setup adjustments and check out the short game section
May 2, 2014
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kathy
Please don't use my last name on line .Being a left handed golfer , I wonder why instructors don't simple say forward arm or forward leg or back arm or leg instead of right or left . when we are watching or facing our instructors it is usually a mirror image but when we get into the right or left arm it becomes confusing . I really think your website and the RSI instruction is the best , I have ever taken .I spent all last summer taking lessons and did not get any help . So congratulations , great job !
April 6, 2014
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Hey Kathy, sorry for the delay in response as we were having some technical difficulties with comment responses. If you go to your profile located in member tools then click on account details, you can take you last name out of there so it cannot be seen on the website. Thank you for the kind words and we appreciate the feedback. We can certainly try to be a bit more diligent about the right and left stuff as we move forward.
April 8, 2014

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