The Address Position

What can we learn from the address position of a great player such as Curtis Strange ? (pictured above)  For starters Strange has set himself up in a nice balanced orientation- especially with the width of his stance. 

With a driver the stance should be wide enough so if we drew a line down from each shoulder that line would drop down to the ground very close to the insides of the feet. That is the stance width necessary to remain in balance once the club starts moving up and around the body with motion. 

This would alter to a slightly narrower stance for long irons and fairway woods. It would also decrease in width for mid irons (the line would fall in the middle of the feet) and slightly narrower again for short irons where the shoulders would be corresponding to the outside of the feet.

The right shoulder is slightly lower than the left for various reasons. The right hand is lower on the club AND the stance width is wider for the driver. The body tends to feel behind and tilted ever so slightly as a result of this. Never try and tilt your body away. That is un-necessary and not needed if you build the stance correctly.

The arms form a triangle. Letting the arms hang correctly downwards without tension creates a triangle when in the address position. This can help the golfer create a nice one piece takeaway- where the triangle stays formed and intact for as long as possible until the right arm begins to fold or bend once it can't stay straight any longer.

Weight distribution should be 50% on either leg. Never feel the legs or body leaning left or right. The pressure in both feet should feel balanced and neutral. You may feel more into the right side on the longer clubs or into the left side a little more on the shorter clubs- this however is ONLY because the stance width will have your head and spine and eyes in a different viewing angle. With a wider stance you will feel the head and eyes more behind the ball and thus feel like you are leaning right or behind the ball. Conversely a narrower stance will position the head, spine and eyes more on top or sometimes forward of the ball -hence the illusion of the weight feeling forwards.

Ball position - for any normal trajectory shot NEVER alters. Keep the ball in the same spot relative to your left foot. The wider the stance the more the ball will feel pushed forward. The narrower the stance the more the ball will feel central or moved back.

Now we have taken care of a neutral address and setup lets move on and see what really changes at impact in comparison.

The Impact Position

So what has really changed from Strange's address position compared to his impact position?

BTW- I hate the word position for impact!! It is not really a position. It is a pass through point- a moment in the swing and not truly a goal or a consideration.

Many believe or instruct that the hands need to be pushed forward for impact. Strange proves that theory wrong. His left arm and shaft are in a corresponding straight line- like the left arm is an extension of the shaft. There is no instinct to shove or force the hands forward in an attempt to strike the ball.

The right arm is NOT thrusting or straightening, it has remained bent. Yes it is being used to create power and releasing the club but it's structure remains almost identical to where it started at setup.

The head. In relation to the tree in the backdrop Strange's head is practically unchanged. It is even slightly tilted backwards and the eyeline has shifted slightly- lining the eyes up a hair to the right of where they began. This is a vision of hitting the ball slightly from the inside.

The left shoulder has raised gently and the right shoulder has dropped - showing a more tilted shoulder pattern than where he started at address. Again, this shows a nice inside approach to the ball. A higher right shoulder would insist the swing path came over the top in an attempt to strike the ball. 

The only TRUE difference is in how the legs have worked. The legs have moved laterally towards the target- driving forwards and not spinning. Remember lateral leg motion BECOMES an opening of the left hip. You can try this for yourself just standing with your feet apart and not even holding a club. Try and move your hips forwards toward your target. You will see you CAN'T keep going forwards as the body would fall over. Instinct and balance will make our left hip open up the more it tries to go forwards.

This is a classic example of the human body wanting to remain in balance. As a result I highly recommend never trying to open the lower half. Your motion and balance instincts will do it for you.

The left knee has not snapped straight or peeled away from the ball. It is bent and supportive and stable. Golfers who snap their left leg straight do this because they don't know how to keep moving the body beyond impact and to the finish. They snap the leg in an effort to create speed. This speed is however in the incorrect segment of the swing.

They snap the leg and stall the body and try create the speed with their hands instead. opening up a whole bunch of other issues in the clubface control, the swing path entry and exit. Of course they also open themselves up to probable injury of the knee or back or wrist as the body stops and the clubhead goes winging past- them moved only by the hands and not the entire body structure.

The right leg and knee is driving forwards- to the target. This shows a nice inwards push and pressure still working down 9no matter that the heel is raising). The more weight and pressure goes lateral and into the left heel the more the right heel may lift. This is again the human body at work trying to stay balanced and moving without having to make allowances. If the right knee popped outwards towards the ball then the ground pressure has been lost long before. This again would be an effort to keep the speed of the club up (even though it will be slowing down as a result)

Strange's wrists are ideal. The left wrist has flattened out slightly more than it assumed at address. The right wrist is bent slightly more than it was. This is a direct correlation to the beautiful legwork and lateral motion of the lower half combined with the ability to keep the upper body behind the ball and closed off for longer in the downswing.


Golfer's or Instructor's belief's often read still photos as a position and not a dynamic motion . Therefore it is quite common for mis-diagnosis to occur.

Never judge a still photo by it's appearance alone.    EVERY "position" or "part" of the golf swing occurs for two reasons. What has come before that point AND what is yet to come beyond that point.

In Curtis Strange's instance we witnessed one of the straightest hitters of the ball perform well under the most intense pressure. He excelled at US Open venues where a premium was placed on accuracy and his swing is living proof that he controlled his clubface and the hitting zone to a higher standard than many of his rivals.

Address & Impact- they aren't as far apart as we may have been told to think.