This is about as fundamental as can be when it comes to the game of golf. We are, after all, hitting a ball that is not moving. Thus, we need to be sure we position ourselves in relation to the ball properly. If the ball is on a tee, we say the ball is “teed up”, and this only is the case on the first shot of any given hole. Any other circumstance where the ball comes to rest is called its “lie”.
We can get more involved as we go on, but in keeping with the “rookie” theme, I’m going to keep this article as simple and clear as possible. Let’s assume then for the rest of this article that the ball and you are on a perfectly “level” plane, i.e., no uphill/downhill/sidehill craziness yet.
With that being stated, your feet should be shoulder width apart for basically every shot. You want your “base” to be stable. Not so wide that your mobility is hampered, and not too narrow that your balance is compromised while swinging any given club. In general ones stance will go from wide to narrow as we move from a driver down to a wedge, respectively. However, everyone is unique and we are going for whats most comfortable, a happy medium between balance and mobility. So, feel free to adjust these guidelines slightly to fit your abilities.
Starting with the driver and woods, your stance should be slightly wider than the width of your shoulders. As you progress down through your irons, your stance will pretty much remain shoulder width. I will get into tight lie, short chip stances later on.
The “address” basically refers to your stance in relation to the ball’s position when you have a club in your hands, and the club head is at rest behind the ball. In the way you address another person, you are about to say “Hi, how are you?”, as the golf ball is concerned, you are set up to figuratively say, “Hi Mr. ball, I’m about to smack you strait down the fairway!”. Again, let’s keep this simple for now.
The ball’s position at address is almost always going to be in line with the heal of your leading foot, whether you have a driver or a 9-iron in your hand. The difference will be how your feet narrow from shoulder length apart. The other aspect of your address is the distance you stand from the ball (you may have noticed the shaft length of your driver is a bit longer than that of your 9-iron). All you are going to do then is get closer to the ball as you move down in club shaft length. One general rule is that with any given club, while at address, the butt of the shaft should be pointing at the area around your belt buckle.