Where your feet and shoulders align affects the way you’ll swing the golf club. In a perfect world, we’re trying to square our feet and shoulders with our target line, however this is not always going to be the case. Some people play closed feet, open shoulders and vice versa. If you do one or the other, it is important to understand how this relationship will affect your ball flight.
Compared to your shoulder line, the alignment of your feet is less pivotal to the success of your shot. The start line of your shot will tend to match that of your shoulder line as opposed to your feet. It’s important to realize you can swing and be successful when elements of your feet and shoulders do not align.
When we know our feet align open to our target, we’ll subconsciously counteract this by closing our shoulders. This is fine so long as you understand the basic principles of what this will do to your swing. Open stance to closed shoulders will encourage the club path to be out-to-in. The typical ball flight will be a ball starting out right of the target and drawing back to the left. Players like Kenny Perry, Angel Cabrera, and recently Bubba Watson with many of his iron shots have successfully used this method.
Feet closed to the target tends to promote shoulder alignment that is open, encouraging an in-to-out swing path. Players of the past like Craig Parry, Craig Stadler and even to a degree, Ben Hogan all used this method. Yet, this is one of the more common mistakes amateur golfers make. Most amateur golfers get into trouble here because it is so exaggerated as opposed to the players mentioned above who were only slight in their differences in alignment. A large exaggeration leads to a significant slice and loss in distance for many amateurs golfers. However, if minimized and controlled a slight in-to-out swing path can assist with accuracy on all shots.