Sink More Putts with the Open Putting Stance: Shoot Lower Scores!

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open putting stance

In the game of golf, mastering the art of putting is crucial for success. One aspect of putting that often gets overlooked is the stance used by golfers. There are various putting stances, but today, we will be focusing on the open putting stance and what it has to offer. As you read on, you’ll discover the benefits of this unique stance and learn how to set it up to improve your overall putting skills and shoot lower scores.

The open putting stance is a method where a golfer positions their front foot half a step behind their other foot, resulting in a stance that feels more natural to some players. Although less common, this approach has several advantages, including improved vision of the putting line and easier arm swings. We’ll dive into the details of the open putting stance, share tips on how to implement it, and even explore case studies of professional golfers who use this technique to their advantage.

Let’s embark on this journey to better understand the open putting stance and unlock the potential it has to offer in improving your golf game. Are you ready to learn how this stance can change the way you approach the greens? Keep reading to find out!

Key Takeaways

  • The open putting stance can provide improved vision and a more natural feel for many golfers
  • Mastering this stance requires understanding its setup and practicing tips for effective use
  • Professional golfers’ case studies showcase the potential benefits of adopting an open putting stance in your game

Different Types of Putting Stances

When it comes to perfecting your golf game, one of the critical aspects to consider is your putting stance. By understanding the different types of putting stances, you can determine which one best suits your putting style and ultimately improve your performance on the greens. In this section, we’ll talk about a few of the common putting stances, such as open stance putting, square stance, and closed stance.

Open Stance Putting In an open putting stance, your front foot (the foot closest to the hole) is positioned a half step behind your other foot. This unique style gives you a more unobstructed view of the target line, allowing for better alignment and more involvement of your arms in the putting stroke. It is particularly useful for beginners who are trying to get the hang of putting because it feels less rigid than the closed or square stance.

Square Stance A square stance is considered the “standard” stance in golf. In this stance, your feet are aligned parallel to your target line, forming a solid and stable base for your putting stroke. This stance is generally recommended for most golfers, as it encourages consistency in your stroke. However, some golfers might find an open or closed stance more comfortable depending on their preferences and physical attributes.

Closed Stance In a closed stance, your front foot is positioned slightly ahead of your rear foot, pointing towards the hole. This stance promotes a more in-to-out swing path, which can help some golfers generate a smoother and more consistent putting motion. However, one potential drawback of a closed stance is that it may introduce some unwanted movement in your putting stroke due to the body’s natural tendency to rotate.

Now that you have a basic understanding of these three stances, it’s important to experiment with each one to find out which works best for you.

Square Putting Stance

In golf, the square putting stance refers to a position where your feet are square to the target line, with your shoulders and hips square to the line. The idea is to establish a solid base for your stroke, aiming to achieve better consistency and control over your putts. When setting up in this stance, your line of vision should be perpendicular to the target line, ensuring you have proper alignment.

open putting stance

Advantages and Disadvantages of The Square Putting Stance


  1. Simplicity: The traditional stance is straightforward and easy to adopt, making it suitable for golfers of all skill levels.
  2. Consistency: By maintaining a square alignment, you can develop a more consistent and repeatable stroke.
  3. Easy alignment: Lining up with your feet, hips, and shoulders parallel to the target line makes it easier to align your putts.


  1. Limited view of the target line: Your line of vision may get restricted in this stance, making it difficult to visualize the target line.
  2. Restriction of natural arm swing: With your body square to the line, it may hinder the free flow of your arms during the stroke.
  3. Tension in the body: Holding everything square might lead to unnecessary tension in your body and affect your ability to make a smooth, natural stroke.

When deciding on the right putting stance, it’s essential to consider your personal preferences and comfort. While the traditional putting stance offers simplicity and alignment, it’s worth experimenting with other stances such as the open putting stance to find the one that best suits your game.

Open Putting Stance

An open putting stance is a golf putting technique where the toe line of the golfer is aimed to the left of the target line. In this setup, the putting is aimed at the start line while the feet are aimed to the left. Your lead foot (the one closest to the hole) is pulled back slightly from the target line, and the shoulders and hips are slightly open to the line.

open putting stance

The Open Stance vs. the Straight Stance Explained

In a traditional square stance, you line up your feet parallel to your target line. With an open putting stance, on the other hand, you point your feet slightly to the left of the target line for a right-handed golfer, or towards the right for left-handed players. This stance aims to give you more control over your putting stroke, making it more pendulum-like in its motion.

Advantages of Putting with Open Stance

  1. Better Line of Sight: One of the main benefits of an open putting stance is the improved line of sight it provides to the hole. By opening your stance, you’ll have a better view of your target, which can help you aim your putts accurately.
  2. Enhanced Pendulum Motion: By opening your shoulders and hips slightly, you create a smooth, pendulum-like motion in your arms, allowing for a controlled straight back putting stroke that can lead to more consistent putts.
  3. Staying Down Through the Ball: The open stance helps keep your head behind the ball, still, and maintain a stable base as you putt, ensuring you stay down through the ball and make better contact.

Disadvantages of Putting with an Open Stance

  1. Pulling Putts: One of the cons of an open putting stance is that it may cause some golfers to pull the ball, resulting in missed putts to the left or right.
  2. Bad Habits for the Full Swing: As your attention shifts to mastering the intricacies of the open putting stance, you may inadvertently create some bad habits in your full swing.
  3. Requires Practice and Adjustment: Adopting an open putting stance requires a significant amount of practice and adjustment. You’ll need the discipline to put in the time to hone your technique and make it work for your game.

How to Set Up An Open Stance Putting

So, you’re looking to improve your golf game and change your stance to an open putting stance? Great choice! Let’s dive right into it and start setting up your open putting stance step by step.

First, let’s take a look at foot positioning. Set up square to begin with. Then, place your trail foot (the one farthest from the hole) on the target line, and then pull your lead foot back about 6 inches or so. Make sure your feet are comfortable and balanced. All set? Perfect, let’s move on.

Now, let’s focus on the alignment of your shoulders and hips. Rotate your shoulders and hips slightly to the left (for right-handed golfers) or to the right (for left-handed golfers), so that they feel as though they are slightly open to the target line. Be cautious not to open them too much, as this may cause you to cut across the ball.

Finally, let’s talk about hand and arm placement. Hold your putter with a light grip pressure and place your hands slightly ahead of the ball. Let your arms hang naturally from your shoulders and form a triangle with your chest. Keep those elbows close to your body, you don’t want them flying around!

Tips to Become Better at Open Stance in Putting

Practice and repetition for consistency

When it comes to improving your putting with an open stance, practice is key. Dedicate time to practicing your open stance when putting on different types of greens and distances. By repeating your setup routine until it becomes second nature, you’ll feel more confident on the course. Make sure to focus on making a smooth stroke with a consistent tempo to achieve the best results.

Adjustments for different green slopes

The slope of the putting green can have a significant impact on your putt, so it’s important to adjust your aim and speed accordingly. For uphill putts, try aiming slightly higher than usual and hitting the golf ball harder to compensate for the incline. On the contrary, for downhill putts, aim slightly lower and hit the ball softer to control its speed.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Using An Open Stance

The following are some common errors golfers may face when using an open golf stance, and how you can avoid them:

  • Pulling your putts: Make sure your putter face is aligned correctly with your target. To avoid pulling putts, concentrate on maintaining a square putter face throughout your stroke.
  • Lifting your head too early: Resist the temptation to look up too soon, as this can cause pushed or pulled putts. Keep your eyes on the ball until after impact, so you can maintain a more consistent stroke.
  • Decelerating through impact: A common tendency when using an open stance is to decelerate while making the stroke, which can lead to poor contact and off-target or short putts. To prevent this, concentrate on accelerating through the ball during your stroke, ensuring a clean and accurate putt.

Further Reading – For the most comprehensive guide on putting, including grip styles, tips, and how to practice, see our golf putting and golf putting tips pages.

Pro Golfers With An Open Stance

Did you know that some professional golfers have found success by using an open putting stance? Let’s take a look at a few examples.

Jack Nicklaus: One of the greatest golfers of all time, Nicklaus used an open stance throughout his career. It’s said that this approach helped him see his line better and make a more natural stroke. With 18 major championships under his belt, he was known for his clutch putting. You might consider trying it out if you’d like to improve your own game too.

Brad Faxon: Regarded as one of the best putters ever, Faxon also adopted an open stance early in his career. He shared that it allowed him to swing his arms freely and feel more relaxed over the ball. Winning eight PGA Tour events and leading the tour in putting average four times, his technique seems to be quite effective. Maybe you could give it a shot as well?

Jordan Spieth: As one of the current stars in golf, Spieth uses an open stance for his putting, too. He mentioned that this technique helps him keep his head still and his stroke on plane. With three major championships and a world number one ranking in 2015, it seems like he’s onto something. Why not see if this method works for you?

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of an open putting stance?

An open putting stance offers a few key advantages. Firstly, it allows you to see the line better, which can help improve your alignment and accuracy. Additionally, it provides increased freedom of arm movement, making it easier to maintain a smooth, consistent putting motion.

How do I properly execute an open putting stance?

To set up in an open putting stance, position your front foot (the foot closest to the hole) a half step behind your other foot. It’s important to maintain proper alignment with your target line and keep your putter head square at impact. Practice this stance to find the right balance of openness and comfort to enhance your putting performance.

How does an open stance affect putter selection?

Your putting stance should not have a significant impact on your putter choice. However, it’s essential to select a putter that complements your overall putting technique, including your stance. Consider factors like the putter’s head design, grip, and length to find the right fit for your style.

Does Tiger putt with an open stance?

Many golf experts believe that Tiger does indeed putt with an open stance. They argue that his left foot is positioned slightly behind his right foot, indicating an open stance. However, there are also those who argue that Tiger’s stance is more neutral, with his feet parallel to the target line. Ultimately, it may come down to individual interpretation, as there is no definitive answer to whether Tiger putts with an open stance. 

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Tommy is a confirmed golf fanatic. He's been playing golf for 20 years and just loves everything about the game. His dad used to play golf a lot and watch the PGA and European Tours, so Tommy started watching too. Now he knows a lot about golf and loves to coach people and help them play better.

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