Ball Position at Address


Ball position at address is one of the most important aspects of good ball striking. It is also one of the things that explain why golfers are so confused. If you go on the internet or read articles on ball position you find totally conflicting information.

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The most common theory is that you play long clubs forward in your stance and shorter clubs farther back in your stance. This is what I was taught when I was learning the game. My problem was my love of logic kept telling me that didn’t make sense.

The object is to catch the ball just prior to the bottom of the down swing on every shot. In order to hit the golf ball consistently you must hit the ground in the same spot every time. That is a fact that is not up for debate. The bottom of the swing arc is wherever your weight is in the golf swing.

I won’t get into weight shift at this point other than to say the more you shift your weight the harder it is to hit the ground in the same spot every time because the bottom of the arc is moving constantly.

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From a logical point of view I could understand the bottom of the arc moving away from me as the club got longer, but I could not understand why it would back or forward when the length changed.

When I first read Ben Hogan’s marvelous instruction book, “Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons: The Modern

Fundamentals of Golf”, he explained that the bottom of the arc, in fact, did move in and out, but not from right foot to left foot. He basically explained that it was an optical illusion. The ball doesn’t change position in relation to the left heel as the clubs get shorter. If you address the ball with a driver the ball is forward in the stance near the left heel. It does vary from person to person depending on their swing and where their bottom of their swing arc is.

What actually happens is that as the club gets shorter the right foot gets closer to the ball as your stance narrows. With a wedge the stance is much narrower than with a driver, therefore the right foot is much closer to the ball. The ball did not move back toward the right foot. With a pitch shot the ball is just off the right toe but still just inside the left heel.

The main point here is to learn to hit the ground in the same place every time and play the ball slightly back of that. One important point is that if you make a mistake always make the mistake of playing the ball too far back. You can still hit a good miss from there. The same is not true for playing it too far forward. This leads to thin, skulled, and topped shots. Most high handicappers play the ball too far forward in a futile effort to help the ball get up.

I have also included a wonderful video of Sean Foley that explains extremely well.

Next: The Secret to More Distance With the Driver