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Slightly open stance as a more natural "neutral" setup?


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OK, so this is probably against the grain, but also, not everything works for everybody.  When I set up to the ball, I always feel more comfortable in an open stance (such as a baseball player that has his lead foot out to 3rd base).  Not a ton, but maybe I have my left foot 1" behind my right foot.  Here is why: I always feel that I can get more "open" at impact with this stance. Left side stacked and hips through.  When I set up "neutral" I have real trouble getting the hips through and hit a lot of draws and hooks.  I get to the top and feel it is a huge move to get that left side from closed to stacking and open. 

 

My coach always says "set up neutral, not open". But when I set up slightly open, I feel as if my weight is more properly distributed in setup and more natural overall.  I am staying more centered.  Why wouldn't I be able to do this (aside from my coach's opinion)?  Last night, as an experiment, I played the last 3.5 holes like this.

 

1) 148 yards from the rough, 9-iron to within 12 feet of the pin

2) 195 yards uphill par 3; drilled a 5-iron 200 yards, leaving me a 15-footer for birdie

3) 270 yard carry drive into a 10mph headwind, right side rough (caught a overhanging tree branch on the descent, would have been fairway otherwise)

4) well-struck 70 yard wedge, 15 footer for birdie chance

5) 255 yard carry drive into a 15mph headwind, right down the middle of the fairway (hole is more wide open, unlike the previous, which has less wind)

6) perfectly struck 95 yard wedge, 20 footer for birdie chance 

 

It was crazy: I was literally lights out, with just a hint of a fade.  I certainly wasn't hitting a fade purposely, I was just getting through the ball. 

 

When I really open my stance to hit a high fade (say I have 120 yards to the hole but need to get over a tree, I hit PW with an open stance which takes 20 yards off but has me hitting a 58 degree longer shaft wedge).  I can make this shot all day long and aside from the slight distance unpredictability due to open face being harder to control distance-wise, I get better results than if I just hit a square face, neutral stance PW.  

 

My body is a little weird: loose in some places, tight in others. I raced as a Pro/Cat 1 cyclist for a decade and 80,000 miles on the bike will cement certain movement patterns.  I think that may be part of it.  

 

With that said, why CAN'T I make this open stance swing if it works for me?  Some people putt with open stances.  They can control their bodies and keep rotation around C7 easier. Why not on full swings?  I can still hit that draw: I just need to line up with front foot a bit ahead of rear, keep the club flatter on the backswing, and exit a bit right.  But if I line up neutral, I still get the draw and hook if I am too quick.  Open stance helps to minimize this

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I’ve played some good golf setting up open.  Syncing Target aim feet and swing path can be difficult. Also easy to get lazy and not complete your backswing. 
 

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Posted (edited)

An open stance presets  your lead hip socket away from the target line . Since pelvis “ rotation” is largely dependent on the position of the hip sockets , opening the stance makes it easier to “ rotate “ the pelvis going down , but will also restrict the ability of the pelvis to “rotate” going back .

 

Flaring your lead foot towards the target will increase the range of motion of hip external rotation and lead knee rotation going down , making it easier for the pelvis to “  rotate” going down. But it will also reduce a golfers ability to internally rotate his lead hip  and knee going back , resulting in less pelvis “ rotation” going back

 

Depending on a golfers mobility , opening the stance slightly by pulling back the lead foot 1” away from the target line as you describe and flaring the lead foot 1/4 turn towards the target are easy fixes to encourage more pelvis”rotation “ going down . 
 

Edited by golfarb1
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A major problem with golf instruction is the idealization of certain positions and motions in a way that is seldom if ever performed by expert players.

 

The perfect swing plane, the neutral stance, the flat wrist, the neutral (or strong or weak) grip are all indiscriminately prescribed even though you can see that the vast majority of really good golfers have deviated from some or all of them.

 

The “static fundamentals” are not fundamentals and trying to achieve them in a rigid way (often differing from teacher to teacher) hurts more than it helps.  People teach “static fundamentals” because it is something they can teach, even if they cannot teach how to swing.  Is your coach one of those people?

 

Is your coach trying to mold you into a rigid stance that hurts your swing, or is he trying to correct something that is really not suitable for your swing in order to get you to so something that would complement or enhance your swing?
 

Who knows, but why pay him money for advice if you’re not going to take it?
Is that what you did when you raced?  Or did you give your coach’s advice a serious try even if it initially felt wrong?

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1 hour ago, Chunkitgood said:

A major problem with golf instruction is the idealization of certain positions and motions in a way that is seldom if ever performed by expert players.

 

The perfect swing plane, the neutral stance, the flat wrist, the neutral (or strong or weak) grip are all indiscriminately prescribed even though you can see that the vast majority of really good golfers have deviated from some or all of them.

 

The “static fundamentals” are not fundamentals and trying to achieve them in a rigid way (often differing from teacher to teacher) hurts more than it helps.  People teach “static fundamentals” because it is something they can teach, even if they cannot teach how to swing.  Is your coach one of those people?

 

Is your coach trying to mold you into a rigid stance that hurts your swing, or is he trying to correct something that is really not suitable for your swing in order to get you to so something that would complement or enhance your swing?
 

Who knows, but why pay him money for advice if you’re not going to take it?
Is that what you did when you raced?  Or did you give your coach’s advice a serious try even if it initially felt wrong?

 

I have been with him for 18 months now (basically since I started) and he has always assumed that a neutral stance is best. I have been trying to stay "neutral" for these past 18 months. Yet, every time I open my stance to hit a high fade or a pitch shot or whatever, it works better and, more importantly, feels natural and not contrived. I am not blowing off the recommendation; far from it.  But when my body speaks, I have to at least listen.  

 

bike racing is different from a coaching perspective : with modern powermeters and a big endurance background, each athlete has the capability to understand what works for them.  For example, instead of putting in miles consistently each week (say 700 during the season, 2 hard workouts during the week, one long 100+ mile ride, and the rest recovery pace), I would do 2 hard weeks (my 700 miles plus an extra interval session) and then totally chill for the 3rd week, only doing 120 miles or so on the bike.  I found that bigger recovery times worked better for me.  No coach would just "know" that, but I knew it, as I was on a full ride at a top D1 school for XC and track previously and had a lot of experience with what my body needed in terms of recovery.  In fact, I was pushed too hard my sophomore year and went from missing NCAA XC All American Honors in cross country to not being able to break 14:30 for a 5,000 meters that spring. My coach didn't get it; he had a formula and expected that each athlete responded in the same way to his training.  I had the capability to push myself through multiple hard workouts but would also go in the can if I sustained it too long, so I needed to manage my workload.  Others don't train as hard but don't take as much downtime either.  Same with cycling-sometimes things just work well for certain people (or any sport recently-most MLB players couldn't make it through a whole season playing every single day, much less Cal Ripken Jr.'s 16+ seasons).  

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20 hours ago, golfarb1 said:

An open stance presets  your lead hip socket away from the target line . Since pelvis “ rotation” is largely dependent on the position of the hip sockets , opening the stance makes it easier to “ rotate “ the pelvis going down , but will also restrict the ability of the pelvis to “rotate” going back .

 

Flaring your lead foot towards the target will increase the range of motion of hip external rotation and lead knee rotation going down , making it easier for the pelvis to “  rotate” going down. But it will also reduce a golfers ability to internally rotate his lead hip  and knee going back , resulting in less pelvis “ rotation” going back

 

Depending on a golfers mobility , opening the stance slightly by pulling back the lead foot 1” away from the target line as you describe and flaring the lead foot 1/4 turn towards the target are easy fixes to encourage more pelvis”rotation “ going down . 
 

 

That's why I play all my shots from a slightly open stance.

I used to always have an issue stopping or stalling my turn - my open stance has solved that (for the reasons you mention)

And just mentally I see the target better and am encouraged to swing in to out.

Whereas when I play from a nuetral to closed stance the target feels "left" to me and I tend to swing OTT.

I guess it's whatever works best for someone!

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