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Good footwork the key to getting that perfect swing.
Good footwork the key to getting that perfect swing. (Kellie Stenzel/WorldGolf.com)

Be a stepper: The three responsibilities of a golfer's set-up footwork

Kellie Stenzel, PGABy Kellie Stenzel, PGA,
Special Contributor

After you set your golf club behind your golf ball and your hands onto the grip of the club, you should be a stepper. Your feet have three responsibilities and in order to accomplish each of these it can and should take as many steps to do so:

1. Ball position
2. Proper distance from your golf ball and club
3. Alignment

Ball position

When stepping your feet, it is important that you accomplish proper ball position for the club and the situation at hand.

If you are hitting an iron, hybrid or fairway wood, with your golf ball on the ground in a relatively flat lie, you should step your feet equidistantly apart as you widen them so that the club is centered in your body at the completion of your stepping.

The ball position should be more in line with the forward instep, the left step should be smaller and the right, widening step should be wider.

The proper foot work will accomplish the right ball position, making proper contact possible.

Proper distance from your golf ball and club

When stepping your feet, you must also adjust your distance from your club and ball so that you are in the proper posture (bowing forward from your hips) and adjusting your feet to the point where you feel your hands hanging directly below your shoulders.

With each club, you should consistently be the same distance from the end of the grip of the club to your body. This is the measuring point, rather than to the ball, which should change as the length of each club changes.


When stepping your feet, after you've properly aimed your clubface to the target, you need to stand so that the line through your toes is parallel to the target line, thus left of the target. This line through your toes should be "parallel left." This line is parallel to the target line but left of the target, much like railroad tracks.

As you can see, your feet have many responsibilities during your set up routine. Therefore, I like to see a minimum of four steps to adjust and prefer six to eight steps. The first couple of steps may be larger to get you in the rough vicinity of the right distance, and the remaining make the smaller adjustments necessary to be particular about ball position, proper distance from the golf club and proper alignment.

You will also tend to see better players taking more steps. Besides accomplishing each of these responsibilities, it can also serve to relax the body and help with rhythm.

So, mimic the good golfers and become a stepper.

- Kellie Stenzel, PGA, has been named by Golf Magazine as one of the Top 100 Teachers in America, and has been a Golf For Women Top 50 teacher since 1999. She has published three books: "The Women's Guide to Golf: A Handbook for Beginners," "The Women's Guide to Consistent Golf," and "The Women's Guide to Lower Scores." She is also rated by Golf Digest as one of the top teachers in New York.

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