Ball position in the golf swing is a really important fundamental and has a huge bearing on what happens to the flight and direction of the golf ball. If the ball position is too far back it can lead to the swing path being too steep. (i.e. deep divots). This usually creates too much spin on the ball and leads to loss of distance. Ball position too far back in the stance can also lead to poor transfer of weight on the downswing.

If your weight transfer is correct and the ball position is too far back the clubface does not usually have enough time to square up and this can lead to the ball flight being right of target.

To fix this the golfer normally has to manipulate the hands to produce an acceptable result. There are numerous different methods to establish ball position.

The most common one is to find ball position between the feet, the pitching wedge  being played in the middle of the stance and the driver off the left heel. (If you’re a right handed golfer).

One of the pitfalls with this method is that you can have the correct ball position but your shoulders could be misaligned. Your shoulders determine the swing path so even if the ball position is correct the path of the swing could lead to misdirected shots.

A good method to try is to use the sternum as a guide to get ball position. The sternum is used for the top hand of the long (broomstick) putter (see pic 1) this allows the putter head to apex in the correct place.

John Dickson on ball position
pic 1

So too for an iron shot one can position the golf ball in line with the sternum (see pic 2). This will help keep the shoulders square to the intended target line and help optimise the strike of the golf ball as the clubhead will bottom out at this point.

John Dickson on ball position
pic 2

This position can work for most of the irons as the only change will be the feet position. As the irons get longer the feet will change but the ball position relative to the sternum will not. With hybrids, fairway wood and driver (see pic 4) the ball position will move slightly left of the sternum due to these clubs being more of a sweeping motion.

John Dickson on ball position
pic 4

The three wood ball positions near the collar bone and the driver near the left armpit.

The other advantage of this method is that finding your ball position before setting up your feet will help you get the correct distance from the ball.

Most golfers set the feet first and the clubhead last. The professionals tend to set the clubhead first and the feet last.

John Dickson

Head Teaching Professional at
Copperleaf Golf Estate
Contact: 082 990 7201
Email: John@dicksongolf.co.za
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