Can an Open Putting Stance Help You Shoot Lower Scores?
Written by Brittany Olizarowicz

Britt O has been playing golf since the age of 7. Almost 30 years later, she still loves the game, has played competitively on every level, and spent a good portion of her life as a Class A PGA Professional. Britt currently resides in Savannah, GA, with her husband and two young children. Current Handicap: 1

Updated on December 13, 2023

Open stance putting is a unique way to play the game that will impact your ability to make putts and score.

Golfers that use open stance putting are going against what is conventional, but sometimes, an open putting stance feels more natural to players.

Let’s take a more detailed look at what an open putting stance is, how it can help you lower your scores and whether or not it would be a good fit for your game.


What is an Open Putting Stance?

An open stance in putting is when your body is turned more towards the target. Most of the stances we take in golf have us set up square to the target with our shoulders, hips, knees, and feet all on a parallel line.

However, with an open stance, your front foot will be set up a bit more turned towards the target. When this happens, your entire body will be turned a bit more this way, allowing for a more straightforward look down the target line.

Golfers with an open stance tend to have much more ability to swing through toward the target as they are not restricted by a closed stance. However, as with any change in your golf game, there are always both positives and negatives to consider.


How to Put with an Open Stance

The best way to putt with an open stance is to set up your feet square. When I do this, I then like to get my feet a little more narrow and turn them towards the left of the target. The turning of the feet towards the left of the target (for a right-handed player) should, in turn, open the hips and the shoulders.

Once you have this in place, you can ensure your weight distribution is even between both of your feet; it’s also then essential to get the ball in the middle of your feet or slightly towards the front.

Once you have this setup and your alignment is correct, you can take your typical swing path and continue your stroke towards the target. For the best consistency, it is a good idea to work on the type of stroke you will take; many golfers with an open stance like the straight back and straight through style putting stroke.


Pros of an Open Putting Stance

The positives of a putting stroke tend to outweigh the negatives. However, you will have to test the effectiveness of this open putting stance to first ensure it is the right fit for you.

  • Golfers feel more comfortable
  • Can see the line better
  • More natural distance control
  • Consistent and repeatable swing path
  • More involvement of the arms and less with the hands
  • Feels less rigid than a closed or square stance


Cons of an Open Putting Stance

The biggest con of an open putting stance is that it can open you up to some unwanted movement in your golf putting stroke. Some players notice that their legs and hips start to sway, and that can be a problem. My solution here is to take a slightly narrower stance, and it usually does the trick.

  • It can allow hips and lower body to sway
  • If very open, it can be hard to get the club far enough back on a backswing
  • Ball position may be off when first learning how to putt with an open stance


Pros Who Putt With an Open Stance

The open putting stance is a perfectly legal and acceptable way to put, and therefore it has been used on tour by many players. The most notable of these players is Jack Nicklaus. Jack Nicklaus certainly knew how to putt under pressure, and he ensured that his stance was always comfortable and stable before he took his stroke.

Jack Nicklaus is considered by many to be the greatest golfer of all time, and the fact that he putted in this way indeed tells us a lot about how this putter can perform. Golfers with an open stance while putting often feel that the ball can travel down the line with very little motion in the hands and wrists.

More and more golfers today are getting square and rigid with their strokes, and we will see this change through the years. Currently, it’s more common to be square than open, but that doesn’t mean we will see it stay this way forever.


How to Decide if an Open Putting Stance is Right for You

An open putting stance could be an excellent choice for your golf game, but there are a few things that you should consider before making this decision.

Also, remember that when making a significant change like this to your putting stroke, you will want to give yourself some time to practice it on the putting green before heading to the golf course.

Type of Putting Stroke

There are two basic ways to swing the putter. You can have a straight back/straight through putting stroke, or you can have more of an arc style. We have always found the straight back straight through to be better for the open stance putter.

When you have an arc style, the way the putter moves around the body can be a bit more difficult to manage with an open stance. This can come down to player preference, but it is something to consider when deciding if this is right for you.

Alignment Issues

One of the things that I always found to be beneficial with an open putting stance is alignment. Allowing yourself to line up with an open stance makes it incredibly easy to see the line in front of you.

With this line to the target being more visible, it makes a golfer feel as though they can start the ball on the line considerably easier. If you feel like you are making good putting strokes, but the ball doesn’t start down the line the way you want it to, the open putting stance could be the right fit for your game.

Trial and Error

Of course, the most important way to decide if an open putting stance is right for you is to try it on the green. You should know that you may not like the feel of this adjustment right away, and it does make sense to try it for a little while before deciding if it is good or bad.

I highly recommend putting from 5, 10, and 20 feet when trying out the open stance putting stroke. I always felt that it was an effortless adjustment in the short putts, but it took some time to get used to the longer putts.

In addition, if you are finding that you pull your putts to the left when switching to the open stance, it may make sense to close the stance just a little. Some golfers will overexaggerate this open feeling, and it doesn’t always work out.

Putter Type

The open putting stance can work for any type of putter you own. However, some large mallet putters can sometimes make it difficult on longer putts.

If you have a blade style or traditional mallet, the open putting stance is a bit easier. Keep this in mind as you make the switch and decide which type of putting stance will bring you the most consistency.


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Brittany Olizarowicz

Britt O has been playing golf since the age of 7. Almost 30 years later, she still loves the game, has played competitively on every level, and spent a good portion of her life as a Class A PGA Professional. Britt currently resides in Savannah, GA, with her husband and two young children. Current Handicap: 1