Dare To Flare
Flexibility is a critical element in the golf swing and should play a significant role in determining what type of setup you adopt. In particular, the position of the left foot is strongly impacted by flexibility level. This is key, because left-foot positioning can affect several swing characteristics, including backswing length, hip turn and subsequent torso rotation through the ball. Knowing your body and choosing the correct left foot position can have a noticeable effect on your swing speed and shotmaking ability, so give it some careful thought and get ready to experiment.
If you’re less flexible, try positioning your left foot at a 45-degree angle to your stance line (three to five inches open to the left, for right-handed golfers) at address. This will tighten up your hip action and provide more torso rotation and speed through the ball. Although it might feel a bit strange at first, utilizing the 45-degree left foot position will allow you to produce greater clubhead speed without additional effort. If you’re more flexible, on the other hand, place your left foot at a 90-degree angle to the target line. This will add a touch more lateral hip motion to your downswing, which will slow down the rotational speed of your hips, providing more stability and fewer overaccelerated, out-of-control swings. Finally, if you’re a senior or someone who’s lost a significant amount of flexibility, you should try positioning your left foot at a 20-degree angle to the target line. This will reduce the amount of torso turn to the top of the swing and will maximize rotation through the ball. To help you determine what position best suits your physical ability and swing type, take a closer look at what each position does and what type of golfer it can benefit.
90° To The Target Line
If you position your left foot at 90 degrees to your target line (or at a right angle to your stance line), it will allow several things to happen. First, it will allow you to make a better and longer backswing turn by freeing up your hips on the way to the top. But you also can suffer a loss of distance because you’ll lose the torque and tension you create in your backswing by overturning your hips in the backswing.
The second thing this foot position does is allow for a full pelvic slide through impact. In other words, it makes it easier for you to slide your hips targetward faster during the downswing. Thus, it keeps those short irons on-line better by helping your body “get out of the way” on the downswing so the club can work down the line longer.
The only negative aspect of the 90-degree foot position is that it inhibits the torso’s rotation through impact. Remember, a square left foot promotes a pelvic slide, not a pelvic turn. This foot position, therefore, should be used mostly for maximizing distance in the shorter irons where a steeper downswing path—and a path that stays down the target line longer—is required.