Ball position is one of the simplest and most underestimated factors affecting golf swings of most amateur players. It not only can have an effect on contact, but it can also affect your swing path into the ball. In the video below we walk through the basics behind ball position and where it should be located in your stance in relation to your front foot. When testing out your own ball position, we strongly recommend using a shaft rod or club to mark the center of your stance before comparing your ball positions to this video. You’d be surprised to find that your ball position isn’t always where you think it is. This video should be used as a guideline, and generally would be prefect advice for 99% of golfers out there.
In a nutshell, here’s where the ball should be positioned in your stance:
Driver – 1 inch inside your lead heel. Stance is larger than shoulder width apart.
5-Iron – 3 inches inside your lead heel. Stance is shoulder width apart.
PW – 3 inches insider you lead heel. Stance is 75-50% of shoulder width apart.
But just as this video states, this should only be used for flat ground with a good lie. In this post we’re going to look a little closer into particular changes you make in your ball position as your lies change, and also explain how ball position can begin to affect swing path.
Let’s start here, when you place the ball either too far back or too far forward in your stance it becomes very easy to start shifting your weight improperly in the backswing and downswing in attempts to make solid contact. If you play the ball too far back in your stance, one of two things will happen. First, if you make a solid weight transfer, you’re likely to attack the ball way from the inside resulting in a push that often hooks back. Second, and far more common, your ball position will encourage a reverse weight shift and an over-the-top move into the ball. Conversely if you play the ball too far forward, one of two things can happen. First, if your weight is trying to shift to your front foot,and you “slide your hips”, you are likely to see a big push slice produced by an open clubface at impact, coupled with an in to out swing. Or second, if you lunge at the ball at impact, an over-the-top steep swing that will send the ball left of the target.
Deep Rough Lie
For lies in deep rough, it’s always recommended to place the ball further back in your stance to help encourage a downward blow into impact to help pop the ball up. Another note on this as well, loft if your friend in situations like this, so don’t be afraid to up-club.
Sitting Up in The Rough Lie
For lies like this, it’s usually recommended to place the ball slightly up in your stance and play your shot much like you would hit an iron from the tee. Expect the ball to fly a little further than normal, on a higher trajectory.
Much like a lie sitting up in the rough, it is recommended to play this ball slightly ahead of your normal placement to ensure you’re hitting the ball slightly on the upswing. These shots are very easy to hit fat, so ball first contact is your primary focus.
Since the slope you’re swinging on is sloping away from your swing, you need to get the club to the ball slightly quicker than normal with this type of shot, and it’s recommended to play the ball back in your stance slightly.
Ball Above your Feet / Ball Below your Feet
In general for this situation, you’ll play the ball in it’s normal position, but you will compensate for the slope with your back angle and grip position on the club (choking up or down).
For Severe Slopes
For severe slopes where you’re struggling to make a stance in the first place, we recommend that once you are balanced and your club is set behind the ball (where ever the ball is placed in your stance), simply focus on limiting your lower body movement, and swinging with only your arms. Ball contact is your only focus here, and by limiting your lower body movement you can give yourself the best chance of returning the club to the ball at impact.
Give it a try!