If you have been around the game of golf for quite some time, you know there are many theories about what is right and what is wrong.
Many people believe your body should be set up square at all times.
Still others think an open stance is a better plan for most golfers.
We think having some options and understanding how an open or closed stance will affect your game is the best possible way.
In our guide, we will help you understand some of the benefits of the open stance in golf.
With this information, you can decide if starting to open your stance for some shots will make a difference in your game.
Open Stance in Golf (10 Tips, Advantages)
1. You Can Clear Your Hips Easier
Probably the top reason golfers open their hips is to help make it easier to clear your hips through the shot.
When your body is square and your left leg is locked, it can be harder to turn through and transfer your weight.
Golfers who are older or have limited mobility have a hard time when the hips are closed.
You may notice that, when the left hip is closed and square to the target, you will have to increase your effort when it comes to clearing through your golf shot.
If you are not very good at this, you will probably hit quite a few shots out to the right.
Another factor to consider is that, when you properly clear your hips, they are turning and not sliding.
Golfers will need limited flexibility that doesn’t open their stance will tend to slide through the impact position instead of turning through it.
The sliding creates a variety of poor shots depending on what your face angle is like when you get to impact.
If you are new to the game or a bit older, try opening your stance just a little bit to be able to clear your hips.
You will immediately feel the difference.
If you are afraid you have opened your stance up too much, you will likely notice shots that end up going too far right of the target.
A slight fade will probably naturally happen with the open stance, but the real slices could be caused by leaving the stance way too open.
2. Opens Up a Spot for the Club to Drop in on the Downswing
You have most likely heard of golfers and golf instructors talking about swinging from the inside.
When you drop the club a bit inside on the downswing, you will have a much easier time releasing the ball and hitting a draw.
Sometimes when your stance is square, you will have a hard time feeling like you can drop the club down into the proper inside spot.
This will result in a swing that is over the top.
Over-the-top golf swings have been known to cause slices and pulls.
These swings are not the best when it comes to solid contact and connection with the golf ball.
When your stance is a bit open and the club can drop in, you will be able to release the club and make sure everything is headed towards your target.
This is a more advanced concept in golf.
It takes a long time to feel what “dropping” the club on the plane feels like.
If you are a newer player, this concept may not be the best for you to work on.
3. Helps You Hit a Variety of Shots
Golf is a sport that has lots of variables.
The weather can change, the lie can change, a golfer’s body can feel different from one day to the next.
If all you have is one swing and one shot, you will limit what you are capable of doing on the golf course.
You will very likely only be able to get to a certain level or handicap because your skills will block you from getting better.
Having an open stance allows you to hit some different shots like fades and slices when you want to.
It allows you to open your body more to the target and get some extra height on the ball at times.
When you come across a situation on a golf course that is going to take some outside-the-box thinking, you need extra shots in your bag.
These shots with open stances, closed stances, and more variety will make all the difference in learning how to score and be a better player.
This applies to the long game as well as your short game.
4. Easier on Your Body
Many people take up golf at a young age, but most don’t.
Most golfers are starting to play when they retire.
This usually means there are a lot of sixty- and seventy-year-old new golfers.
If it has been a while since you played sports, you may notice that golf can make you sore.
Some people will report back, hip, knee, and shoulder issues from playing golf.
If you follow the proper procedures and warm your body up, you can avoid some of these issues before they start.
For starters, golfers should always stretch before a round of golf.
When you swing a golf club, your speed is probably well into the eighty-mile-per-hour range.
Swinging something of any weight this fast takes a bit of physical effort.
If you don’t stretch, you may end up pulling or damaging a muscle.
In addition to stretching, it makes sense to step up to the golf ball in a way that you can feel loose and athletic.
If you are blocking yourself by having a square stance, you may want to try opening just a little bit.
Golfers will do a lot less damage to their hips and knees by making their bodies more loose.
Make sure you account for the fact that the ball could end up going a little further to the right when you open the stance.
For some golfers, it will result in a slight fade, but if it is predictable, injury-free, and consistent, this is a fade that players will welcome.
5. Better Feel
You may hear golfers talk about feel in their golf game.
Feel can take a bit of time to learn and master, and it is something that is continually changing.
You may hear golfers say their feel was off.
When you stand parallel to your target, blocked off from the direction you are headed, it can be hard to develop feel.
To get great feel, your mind and your body are going to need to work together.
For some people, taking that slightly open stance will help them develop better feel.
This is especially important when it comes to chipping.
If you want to chip well, you will end up being open to the target a lot of the time.
6. Easier Alignment
One of the things golfers struggle with most is alignment.
Alignment is difficult because you have to stand parallel to the target.
In other sports, when your body can face the target, you will feel the motions much more naturally.
Imagine trying to shoot a basketball with your body turned away from the target.
Of course, it is possible, but will it be the most consistent?
It takes a while to get good at alignment, and you may end up going through a few different strategies and pre-shot routines before you choose yours.
Golfers tend to try and control the ball at the last minute because they can’t see their target, and they are mostly trying to guide the ball.
When you open your body up just a little, it is easier to align yourself.
You will have a more unobstructed view of the hole, and you won’t feel as blocked off to your target.
The slightly open stance can sometimes result in a shot that goes further right, but you will soon be able to compensate for this as well.
The easier alignment is also part of what makes chipping and putting with an open stance a great idea.
7. Works Out of Bunkers
When you are hitting shots out of a bunker, your swing, setup, and stance will all be slightly different.
It is essential to make sure you don’t try to hit a shot out of a bunker the same way you hit a shot off the tee box.
The reason you need to treat the bunker shots differently is that the ball will react differently out of the sand.
You will need extra loft to get over the lip of the bunker as well.
A sand shot is supposed to fly high and then land softly.
Sand shots also take quite a bit of sand with them when they fly out.
For all of these reasons, the open stance is going to work out best in the bunker.
With the open stance, you will be able to rotate your body through the shot much more easily.
This extra bit of rotation will help a golfer to complete their swing and transfer their weight forward.
If you don’t do this when you play out of a bunker, you could end up leaving the ball in the sand.
Bunker shots take quite a bit of acceleration, and the open stance only helps to encourage this type of acceleration.
When you open your stance, the ball also tends to fly a little higher.
This extra ball flight certainly helps when it comes to flying the ball over the lip of the bunker.
8. More Accurate Chipping
If you watch closely, the majority of professional golfers stand open to the target when they are chipping.
They do this so they can rotate through towards the target and feel as though they have better control and accuracy over their shots.
If you are struggling with alignment and feel when it comes to chipping, opening your stance could be a great idea.
As we mentioned with the bunker shots, the open stance can also sometimes help the golf ball fly a bit higher.
If you struggle with lower pitch shots that don’t get the height they need, the open stance will be yet another benefit.
Some golfers like to open the clubface of their chipping clubs when they play.
If you are opening the clubface but keeping your square stance, sometimes you could end up shanking the chip shot.
The open clubface will end up making you hit the ball on the sole of the club.
When you open your stance and turn your body a bit towards the left, the results can be quite a bit better.
When you open your stance, you should open it according to the type of shot you are hitting.
For a longer pitch shot, your stance may be more wide open.
For a little chip right off the green, you will not need to open things up quite as much.
9. Choosing the Correct Amount of Open
One issue with opening your stance is that some golfers will take it too far.
There is certainly a point you can get to that your stance will be too wide open.
At this point, you will struggle to keep the ball straight, and you may notice your golf game starting to deteriorate.
Before you let this happen, it’s a good idea to ease into the whole open stance concept slowly.
For some players, it may be enough to turn your left toe out a little bit.
Most will have to take it a bit further than this, but the last thing you want to do is to open your stance up entirely before you have even tried this concept.
Golf requires players to make subtle adjustments to their swing and their game.
When you try and make significant changes, the results are rarely positive.
If you can take a picture of your swing or use a mirror, you may be able to see just how open you are making your stance.
This is something you will probably want to learn and play around with at the driving range.
Making changes on the golf course is challenging to do.
10. You Can Putt With an Open Stance
We saved our favorite tip/advantage for last.
If you have ever struggled with your putting game, you may want to try putting with an open stance.
Putting with an open stance makes alignment much easier, and it allows you to have a better line to your target.
Some golfers will not only set up with an open stance, but they will also look at the hole while they are putting.
This method of putting has become quite popular through the years, and it is very effective.
If you are a golfer who lifts their head as they come through impact, the open putting stance while looking at the hole can help your putting stroke have a lot less movement.
Putting with an open stance helps players get a better feel and better distance control as well.
This is a simple fix you can try in the middle of your round one day to see what it does for you.
Are There Disadvantages to an Open Stance?
Of course, all golf fixes can sometimes have downsides as well.
If there were one magical golf swing that worked for everyone, this game would not be nearly the challenge it is.
The biggest downside you will see with the open stance is that it can sometimes cause you to hit a fade or even a slice.
Usually, you have to have your setup pretty extreme for this to happen.
When the golf ball is fading or slicing, it is usually going to travel a lot less distance than a draw or a hook.
If you want to be more accurate, have some better feel, and make things easier on your body, the open stance is a great choice.
Just be prepared because you are very likely going to see the ball travel a few yards from left to right.
This will be more prominent with the longer clubs in the bag, and it will not affect the shorter clubs quite as much.
Most people won’t see the ball fade or turn in their chipping game.
Conclusion: Is an Open Stance a Good Idea?
If your golf game needs a little help, the open stance could be a great solution.
You will have an easier time clearing your hips, lots of room to drop the club on the plane, and an easier time aligning things as well.
Open stances don’t work for every golfer, but there are enough advantages that you should at least be able to use an open chipping stance.
Remember, when you adjust your golf game, try and make it subtle.
A subtle change is easier to adapt to, and you will be able to see if there are true differences in your golf game.