Consistent putting starts with your putting alignment, and that is dependent upon a balanced putting stance. Just as a center-shafted putter balances your putter from heel to toe and a heavier putter grip balances the putter from top to bottom (counterbalanced putter grips), a balanced golf stance plays an essential role in keeping you and your putter aligned to your target—better alignment through better balance and posture.
Having your feet firmly planted and aligned provides the necessary foundation to supply sensory information to the rest of your muscles, joints, and neuromuscular system, allowing them to function more intuitively.
Are your feet square and hip-width apart? Where are they placed relative to each other (is one foot further forward than the other, is one foot turned in or out more than the other, etc.)? Also, is your weight equally distributed left to right and front to back (ball of the foot or heel). These components are essential for you to FEEL so that you KNOW where your body is in space.
Our balance and vision are linked through three interrelated sensory systems. These three systems work together; the vestibular system (i.e., inner ear), the visual system (i.e., eyes), and the proprioceptive system (i.e., body position and movement).
Most often, we hear that vision affects your balance. This is very true; our vision does affect balance. It’s also true that being off-balance can affect your vision. Meaning that if you are off-balance at your base due to your posture and muscular imbalances, then it’s likely that the information your eyes are sending to your brain may also be “off-balance.” This, in turn, can affect your binocular vision (your eyes seeing equally)—something to consider when reading the greens and determining your alignment to the hole during your set-up.
The more balanced your musculoskeletal system is, the more aligned your load-bearing joints will be, which will positively affect all the sensory systems of your body. You will be more likely to feel and know where you are in space accurately. Being balanced left to right will ultimately allow your arms and shoulders to swing squarely along the intended line.
It’s not uncommon to believe that you are balanced in your stance. When setting up my putting stance, I purposely bring attention to my weight distribution and foot placement, as my balance awareness is sometimes off.
I practice at home to improve awareness of my balance by getting a dressing mirror and leaning it against a wall. I walk around the room and then stop and stand 12 to 15 feet away from the mirror. I face the mirror and ask myself a few questions about my balance. Do I feel balanced left to right and forward and back? You can do this yourself, and as you look at the mirror, focus on your hips and legs and see if the mirror confirms what you feel. You can repeat this in another way by closing your eyes and marching in place. Allow your body to settle in its normal stance, then check the mirror. Doing this won’t correct your imbalances; however, it will bring awareness to be mindful of your balance during your putting stance set up.
If you decide you wish to address any muscle imbalances and would like to work towards correcting them, I am a devotee of the Egoscue Method of Postural Alignment. I’m confident that improving your muscle imbalances will positively impact your posture and ultimately help you obtain a balanced golf stance. Learn more about The Egoscue Method of Postural Alignment at: https://www.egoscue.com/what-is-egoscue/