I think you would be surprised at the different levels of golfers that ask me the question “What is the correct ball position in golf?“
When I learned how to play the game of golf, everyone was taught to play the ball in a different position in their stance depending on what club they have in their hand and what shots they wanted to hit.
Drivers were played off of the front foot, a six iron out of the middle of your stance and your wedges were to be played off of your back foot during a swing.
Due to the newer technologies in the game Trackman and Flightscope, we have learned that golf ball position should be more consistent than that and tend to reside more towards the lead heel. That is the left heel for right handed golfers.
When I get a new student, I always go through an interview process. What is the number one thing that almost universally everyone says that they want to do? It is to be more consistent with their swing.
For those of you that know me, you know that I really don't like that word. However, if you're going to become a consistent ball-striker, wouldn't it make sense to keep the ball around the same spot for most golf shots?
Yes, you will need to move it around in your stance to "manufacture" some shots during a round. For our discussion here, we will talk about a "stock shot" for golfers.
Golf Ball Position for a "Stock Shot"
So, as we discuss what is the correct ball position in golf, keep in mind, that we were talking about a stock golf shot. A stock golf shot swing would just be an average height flight for the ball.
With that being said, I'm sure there will be some golfers in the game disagree with the process I'm getting ready to outline. That is okay. It has worked for many of my students of all skill levels but not all of them use it.
We decide if it is best for them depending on their current skills and how they deliver the golf club in their swing. Let me explain why I think this is the best golf ball position to hit a stock golf shot for the vast majority of golfers.
If you were standing on the golf lesson tee with me, I would go ahead and place one ball off my “back foot.” I would then take a back swing and a forward swing… stopping just before the ball.
This downswing will tend to be more vertical. If you are really vertical you will seemingly only have one chance to hit the ball really well.
Unfortunately, the good result does not happen that often either. and it does not happen often :(. More than likely, the higher your handicap... the more of a chance you will have to hit either behind or in back of the golf ball or top the golf ball.
Conversely, I will then take a ball and place it towards my lead heel (this would be the left heel for a right-handed golfer). I again take the club back and through stopping just before impact.
This forward swing tends to be much more shallow or back and through and allows the clubhead to stay closer to the ground for a longer period of time. Thus, giving the golfer a greater chance for success at impact. In addition, it allows the club face to stay more stable through the impact area. Read - a consistent hit there 🙂
Many golf instructors and coaches (let alone your friends and buddies) would tell you that this ball position is too far forward. However, the other thing that this ball position does being forward is it promotes pressure on the lead foot at impact. Many amatuers struggle with experiencing pressure to the lead foot prior to impact.
There were a few of the old school players that would play all of their golf shots basically off the left heel… like this one… Jack Nicklaus talking about his ball position...
What did Jack do With His Ball...
Where Is The Correct Ball Position In Your Stance?
The longer I teach the game of golf the more and more the answer is becoming... it depends.
One... It depends on the club that you have in your hand. Two...It depends on the shot you're trying to hit... left to right or right to left. Three... It also depends on the height that you're trying to get on that golf shot. Again, we are talking about a ball position for a "stock shot" in this swing article.
The good news about the swing method I am about to show you, is that you don't even need a training aid. You will just be using your feet to find where the ball should be in your stance and so let’s talk about it…
We’re going to discuss how one would find the proper ball position in your stance for a right-handed player using a simple drill. Keep in mind, that the lead foot is the foot closer to the target and the trail foot is farther away from the target.
Where Should The Golf Ball Position Be When Hitting Wedges?
First, put your feet literally next to each other.
When it is time to take the ball position in your stance for your wedges, you will have to position yourself so you can create a straight line between your big toe on your trail foot (right foot for right handed players) See the video below.
The next step would be to turn or flare your lead or front foot out towards the target. To do this, simply turn your toes on your lead foot towards the target. This is also known as flaring your lead foot. The catch is that your heel needs to stay where it is. If you move that foot forward, you are moving your ball position back in your golf stance.
Now, take the width of your stance by stepping away from the target with your trail or back foot to get the width of your stance. The width of your trail heel should be just inside of your trail shoulder. This allows you to better control your low point as well as the pressure in your lead foot through impact. Both of which are very important and covered in other articles. The ball will look more forward or in front to you than it has in the past.
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No matter whether you are a beginner or a high handicap golfer, my book, Golf Shots and Unicorns will help you play better golf by giving you clear easy to understand concepts about how to properly grip the golf club, take your proper stance as well as how to find a consistent ball position.
Where Should The Ball Position Be When Hitting An Iron?
To find your proper ball position for hitting irons, again, put your feet together.
Ball position for your irons will start as you position yourself to create a straight line between where your heels meet and the golf ball. See the video below step 4.
The next step would be to turn or flare your lead or front foot out towards the target.This simply means turn your toes towards the target. Again, your heel needs to stay where it is. If you move that foot forward, you are moving your ball position back in your golf stance.
Now, it is time to get your stance width for your iron. Take the width of your stance by stepping away from the target with your trail or back foot to get the width of your stance. The width of your trail heel should be just underneath your trail shoulder. This allows you to better control your low point as well as the pressure in your lead foot through impact. Both of which are very important to understand the concept as well as be able to control. The ball will look more forward or in front to you than it has in the past.
We cover these topics within The Ball Flight Academy Membership.
Where Should The Position Be When Hitting Hybrids / Fairway Woods?
To find your proper ball position hybrids or fairway woods, like for the other clubs so far, put your feet together.
Now, it is time to get your stance width for your hybrids. Ball position for your hybrids will start by getting yourself in position to create a straight line between where your big toe on your lead foot (left foot for right handed players) and the golf ball. See the video above.
Similar to what you have done before, next, turn or flare your lead or front foot out towards the target. This simply means turn your toes on your lead foot (left for a right handed player) towards the target. The amount of turn or “flare” will depend on your comfort level as well as your body's needs. Again, your heel needs to stay where it is while you are flaring your toes. If you move that foot forward towards the target, you are moving your ball position back in your golf stance and making the club work more vertically.
Now, step away with your trail or back foot to get the width of your stance. The width will vary depending on the club that you are attempting to hit. Since a wedge is one of the shorter clubs in your bag, I would suggest that your trail heel stay inside of your trail shoulder. This will allow you to better control low point and pressure in your lead foot through impact. The ball will look more forward or in front to you than it has in the past. This is very important to hitting good and consistent golf shots.
Where Should The Position Be When Hitting My Driver?
To find your proper ball position for driver, just like last time, start by placing your feet together.
After that, get into a position that creates a straight line between where your big toe on your lead or front foot (left foot for right handed players) and the ball. Sound familiar? Yes, It is just like your hybrids and fairway woods. See the video above.
As with the direction s above, the next step would be to turn or flare your lead foot out towards the target. This simply means turn your toes towards the target. The amount of turn or “flare” will depend on your comfort level. I find that many students need more lead foot flare than they currently use. It allows them to turn more towards the target while maintaining balance and not placing as much stress on their hip knee and ankle joint. Again, your left heel needs to stay exactly where it is. If you move that foot towards the target, you are moving your ball position back in your golf stance.
Now it is time to get the width of your driver stance. Pick up your trail or back heel and move it so that it is just outside of your trail shoulder. You will need to keep in mind that if your heels become too far apart that it will do a couple of things. First, it will move your low point too far behind the golf ball. Second, it will become more difficult to get your weight back on your lead foot (left foot for a right handed player). The ball will look more forward or to the front to you than it has in the past.
We discuss concepts of low point and arc height within The Ball Flight Academy Membership.
You should now have a good plan to create your golf ball position, play better golf and enjoy the game more.
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