Category Archives: ball position

Three Ways to Hit Better Golf Shots Without Practicing

Do you want to hit better shots without practicing? Well, maybe one small bucket of balls. Here are three things you can do that are guaranteed to improve your ball-striking in just minutes. Promise.

1. Slow down your swing. When you swing too fast and don’t give yourself a snowball’s chance in H-E-double hockey sticks to strike the ball on the center of the clubface. With your small bucket of balls, slow down your swing until you do. Then speed up gradually until you don’t. Then slow back down again until you do and resolve never to swing faster than that.

Slow.

Down.

If you aren’t hitting well on the course, try slowing down. Many times it’s the quickest fix there is.

2. Put the ball farther back in your stance. Maybe just a half inch. Many golfers play it too far forward because it feels powerful to be cranking into the ball from behind. Ease the ball back until you start making real good contact (you will). Then believe it and keep it there.

3. Aim yourself. Lay an alignment stick on the ground behind you. Step up to the ball and aim yourself at a target downrange. Reach back with your club and pull the stick against your heels. Step away from the ball so you have a down-the-line view of how you set up. I’ll bet you dollars to doughnuts you aimed yourself to the right of the target. Way right. Lefties, you’re likely to be aimed way left.

Move the stick so it is parallel left of the line from the ball to the target and step into your stance with your heels against the stick. That’s what being aimed at your target looks like.

Aim, unfortunately, is not something you can learn once and you have it forever. It takes constant renewal. Go through this process before you hit practice balls at the range or at the course. Every time.

The Center of Your Stance

This might seem like a small point, but it’s not.

I advocate, and many current instructors advocate, placing the ball in the center of your stance and keeping it there when you hit your irons.

But just saying “the center” isn’t really that specific.

The three photographs below all show a ball intersecting the center of a stance (yellow rod), but the ball is in a different place each time. Each ball is offset from the other by about 0.4 inches. This is not an insignificant difference. It is all the difference in the world.

You can’t have the ball here this time, there the next time, and someplace else the time after that and expect to make consistent contact with the same swing.

Experiment with where, exactly, in the center the ball needs to be for you to get ball first, ground second contact.

Once you have found that spot, memorize it and put the ball there EVERY TIME, at the range or on the course.

Ball Position

An easy way to hit the ball consistently well is for it to be in the same place every time you take your stance.

As easy way to be an inconsistent ball-striker is to move the ball all over the place.

Which one do you do?

You can hit fat or thin with a perfect swing if you keep moving the ball around in your stance. These two videos show you how to put the ball where it belongs.

Golf instruction books by some pros tell you to play everything off your left heel. That’s really beyond the capability of most recreational golfers.

Other books tell you to put the ball opposite your left heel with long clubs and move the ball toward the center of your stance as you move down to shorter clubs. That’s asking you to have a different swing for each club. Again, no.

One spot for your driver, one spot for a ball on the ground. You really can’t go wrong that way.

Why Ball Position is Important in Golf

Last week my son had a golf lesson in which the instructor corrected his ball position, which Son never paid any attention to, despite my harping on this detail almost every time we go to the range together.

So maybe I need to explain why it’s so important, and why, after you are set up to the ball, I could move it a half inch and ruin your shot just by doing that much

Your swing is an arc. The bottom of the arc needs to hit the ground at a certain point. Where that point is, is the subject of another post. Let’s just say that it would be very helpful if you could hit that spot on the ground every time. Then, if you put the ball in the right spot relative to the ground-hitting spot every time, you would get good contact every time (all other things being equal).

That is the reason why ball position is so important. When your ball is in a different place every time, you have to disrupt the swing you want to make in order find the ball. This is why I could move the ball a half inch and ruin your shot, because the ball position no longer matches the arc your swing mechanics create.

Most golfers play the ball too far forward, which means they have to reach out for the ball instead of swinging through it. Remember that golf is not a hit-the-ball game. It’s a swing-the-club game, with the ball getting in the way.

The next time you go to the range, take your alignment sticks and set up as shown in the photo. The stick between your feet always points to the ball. Your heels always go in the same place relative to the sticks. Learn (a) what the right position for your feet relative to the ball is, and (b) how to set up with the ball in that position every time.

It is true that specialty shots will find you placing the ball differently. They are all variations of the basic position, though. You need to know what your basic position is before you can vary it successfully.

For example, if I asked you to play the ball one ball back for some reason, I would mean from your standard ball position. You would need to know what that standard position is before you could make sense of my request.

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