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Ball Position

Ball Position refers to the placement of a player's golf ball in relation to their stance/feet. Ball position can vary depending on the club a player is hitting and the type of shot/trajectory that is desired. To hit a ball higher a player would position the ball more forward in their stance (target side). To hit a ball lower they would play the ball closer to their rear foot (non target side).

Ball Position Drills

Ball Position Tips

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  • Considtency in the Set Up Equals Consistent Strikes

    A consistent set up is crucial to consistent driving. If you play your ball position too far back, you can end up with a push. If you play it too far forward you can end up pulling the shot. Reaching for the ball can cause you to swing back too flat, whereas standing too close can cause you to pick the club up on too steep of a plane. Standing up too tall can also cause a flat backswing, whereas bending over too much can cause your shoulders to rotate on a steep plane. You simply must do the same thing every time in order achieve a consistent and predictable ball flight.

  • Ball Position Affects Rise

    According to the SAM Putt Lab stats you want your putter to have a 4 degree rise coming through the ball to get an ideal roll. This is why having your ball position forward of the bottom of your arc is so important. A solid ball position and neutral set up will help you to achieve the perfect rise angle.

  • Play Irons at the Bottom of Your Arc

    Play irons just forward of center. That way you will trap the ball at the bottom point in the arc if you are properly shifting your weight. It doesn't matter which iron you are hitting. If you are shifting your weight, the bottom of the arc will be forward of center. Remember, you need to hit down on irons to get the ball to pop back up in the air, so trapping it at the bottom point of the arc is crucial.

  • Play it Forward for Optimum Spin

    Play the ball forward of the center of your stance. This will help control spin which in turn will result in more consistent distance. If you are varying where you play the ball in your stance you will be imparting backspin on some putts and top spin on others. Top spin is ideal. With backspin, the ball may skid at first slowing the initial velocity and overall, you will not get that good accelerating roll to the hole.

  • A Forward Ball Position Promotes a Fade

    The farther forward you play the ball in your stance, the more you will tend to fade or slice the ball. This is because by time you get to the ball, you are already on the forward side of the arc and swinging inward. This puts cut spin (left to right spin) on the ball. This combined with an open or square clubface will give you a fade or a slice. If you happen to close the face through impact, the shot will be pulled and stay left.

  • Play the Ball Back For a Draw

    To hit a draw or a hook, play the ball slightly further back in your stance than you would for a straight ball. This ball position will help you work the ball back in because it is on the inside of the arc. Thus, you will have an inside out angle of attack which will help you spin the ball back to the left if your face is square or closed.

  • Stay Forward to Hit it Low

    To hit a shot low and bring your trajectory down you must keep your sternum over or in front of the ball. When your sternum and center of gravity get back behind the ball you will shoot the ball up. To keep it down you must feel like you stay over or in front of the ball. This will help you trap the ball and de loft the face. Keep your head and sternum moving forward towards the target consistently throughout the swing. Playing the ball back in your stance will help you keep your trajectory down as well.

  • Play it Left For Loft

    To hit the ball higher move it forward in your stance. This way you will catch the ball more on the up arc with a face that has more loft. Also, make sure that your head and sternum stay well behind the ball. Getting them in front of the ball will only smother it and knock it out low. When you are behind it, again, you will be able to strike the ball with a more lofted face and a bit on the up swing which will shoot the ball out high.

  • Play the Ball Left For Loft

    To hit the ball higher, play the ball forward of the center of your stance so you will catch it on the upswing and add loft. After your club hits the bottom point of your arc and starts coming up, the face angle changes and will have more loft. This helps propel the ball up into the air. Note that you still have to hit down on the ball, because if you make contact high on the ball, that in turn will knock the ball down.

  • Master 3 Ball Positions

    Try mastering 3 ball positions to become consistent with your angle of attack. One for irons, one for fairway woods and one for driver. In the old days pros used to teach a progressive ball position where you start at the back foot with your wedge and then progressively move the ball forward as loft decreases. The issue with this is that you have to master about 14 different ball positions. With your irons, you need to trap them at the bottom point of your arc, so it makes sense to play them all in the same place in your stance. That way you are using the loft that is built into your club for a reason.

  • Play the Ball at Front Arm Pit

    When driving be sure to position the ball forward in your stance. The ball should be in line with your front arm pit. This will allow you to catch the ball on the upswing and launch it high into the air. Positioning the ball in the middle or back of your stance will cause you to hit down on it too much. The result will be either a pop up or a smothered low shot. Playing it too far back can even cause a push to the right.

  • Play Fairway Woods Forward of Center

    When hitting fairway woods off of the ground play them forward of the center of your stance so that you don't catch them too much on the down arc. If you did that you would strike the ball with a hooded face with little loft. The result would be a super low shot that won't give you the carry distance you need. Be sure however to transfer your weight properly through the strike and still try to hit down enough to take a small divot.

  • Keep it Simple and Play it in the Middle

    When pitching, unless you have to hit the shot particularly high or low, simply play it in the middle of your stance. A middle ball position gives most players the best chance at striking the sweet spot and catching the ball at the right part of the swing arc. If you need to hit the ball higher, remember "left means loft."

  • Position Hybrids Like an Iron

    When setting up to hit a hybrid, you can pretty much play them in the same position as you would an iron. I recommend for most of my students that they play the ball in the middle or one ball forward of middle of their stance with their irons. I think one ball forward of middle works very well for hybrids as you want to make sure you can still hit down on them. Playing them too far forward will make you catch them too much on the up swing.

  • Play Your Ball Forward

    When setting up to putt ,play your ball just forward of your sternum. Check in front of a mirror to make sure you've got it right. Playing a ball back in your stance will make you hit down on the putt. This can cause the ball to bounce. When you position it forward of center you catch it on the up swing and get a smooth roll.

  • Ball Position Affects Loft and Spin

    With a bump and run you can play the ball at various points in your stance. There are no rules, only preferences. The further back of center you play it, the lower the ball will come out and the less backspin and roll you will get. Playing it forward of center will allow the ball to check up quicker and have less roll out. In most cases a middle ball position works fine and can even result in more consistent strikes.

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