The golf swing is outwardly similar to many other motions involving swinging a tool or playing implement, such as an ax or a baseball bat. However, unlike many of these motions, the result of the swing is highly dependent on several sub-motions being properly aligned and timed. These ensure that the club travels up to the ball in line with the desired path; that the clubface is in line with the swing path; and that the ball hits the center or “sweet spot” of the clubface. The ability to do this consistently, across a complete set of clubs with a wide range of shaft lengths and clubface areas, is a key skill for any golfer, and takes a significant effort to achieve.
Stance to how the golfer positions themselves in order to play a stroke; it is fundamentally important in being able to play a stroke effectively. The stance adopted is determined by what stroke is being played. All stances involve a slight crouch. This allows for a more efficient striking posture whilst also isometrically preloading the muscles of the legs and core; this allows the stroke to be played more dynamically and with a greater level of overall control. When adopting their stance golfers start with the non-dominant side of the body facing the target (for a right-hander, the target is to their left). Setting the stance in regard to the position of the ball, and placing the clubhead behind the ball, is known as being at address; when in this position the player’s body and the centerline of the club face are positioned parallel to the desired line of travel, with the feet either perpendicular to that line or slightly splayed outward. The feet are commonly shoulder-width apart for middle irons and putters, narrower for short irons and wider for long irons and woods. The ball is typically more to the “front” of the positioned player’s stance (closer to the leading foot) for lower-lofted clubs, with the usual ball position for a drive being just behind the arch of the leading foot. The ball is placed further “back” in the player’s stance (toward the trailing foot) as the loft of the club to be used. Most iron shots and putts are made with the ball roughly centered in the stance, while a few mid- and short-iron shots are made with the ball slightly behind the center of the stance to ensure consistent contact between the ball and clubface, so the ball is on its way before the club continues down into the turf.