To Flare or Not to Flare?

John Stahlschmidt
PGA Director of Instruction
JW Marriott Camelback Golf Club
Scottsdale, AZ

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Are you making a complete shoulder turn during the backswing? What about clearing the hips properly through impact on the way to a good finish? Shoulder turn and hip clearage are undoubtedly buzz terms that are heard often. Truth be told, they are important for a variety of reasons but many lack the mobility necessary to accomplish these tasks. Did you know that simple foot flare can go a long way in increasing mobility? So, do you consciously flare either your right or left foot at address?

Right Toe Flare – Many golfers set up with both feet square- see picture #1. The right foot square can greatly reduce the ability to internally rotate into your right hip. This also affects the ability to produce a full shoulder turn resulting in a lack of power. If this sounds like you, simply flare your right foot next time you are out hitting practice balls. The result could be longer straighter shots.

Left Toe Flare – Do you feel as if your hips stall through impact? This is common among the recreational golfers. It is amazing to see players like Justin Thomas and Rory McIlory rotate like a rubber band. This rotation is where much of their power comes from. In addition to more distance, hip rotation will help stabilize the club through the impact zone resulting in more accuracy. If you feel as if you are not turning through the ball properly, experiment with a little left toe flare as pictured in #2.

If you feel like your swing is getting too short going back or coming down, experiment with a little toe flare. You might find that something so simple can make all the difference in the world.

John Stahlschmidt, PGA is the Director of Instruction at the JW Marriott Camelback Golf Club in Paradise Valley in Arizona. To comment or to schedule a lesson, email John at