Friday, January 05, 2007

Golf Tips - Ball Position

As I have stressed before, proper golf fundamentals are the key to a solid and repeatable golf swing. I've already covered the golf grip, and now I'd like to address ball position. There are a couple of different teachings in this area and I've experimented with most of them. The one that has worked the best for me is the Jack Nicklaus method of ball position.

According to Jack, "I play every standard shot with the ball in the same position relative to my feet. That position is opposite my left heel."

Butch Harmon offers a nice explanation:

...ball position is very, very important. That's why I like you to think of a constant ball position. Always position the ball off the logo on your shirt. If you don't have a logo on your shirt, position the ball in line with your left breast. The only thing that changes is the width of your stance - - where your right foot widens out farther the longer the shaft of the club gets.

If you think about it, if I was hitting a wedge shot, it would look like the ball was pretty much in the middle of my stance. Yet, if I was hitting a driver, you would have thought that I moved the ball way up in my stance. But really nothing has changed. All I've done is widen my stance out for the different clubs. This means that my alignment stays the same and my shoulders stay square the target line...

I used to try to play everything from the center, but the Jack / Butch method worked much better for me.

Remember, ball position off the left heel doesn't necessarily mean forward in the stance. As you use longer clubs, your stance widens, so the ball moves progressively forward in the stance. Conversely, as you use shorter clubs, the ball moves progressively back in the stance. For example, ball placement for a PW would appear near the center of the stance because the stance is so narrow (and sometimes open).

Here are some pics of David Leadbetter and Nick Price demonstrating the ball positioned off the left heel with varying stance widths. Notice in the large picture that Leadbetter is actually holding a club right where Butch recommends that you position the ball - in line with the logo on your shirt!

This picture captures Nick Price's ball position with a 9-iron:








Here's his position with a 3-iron:

Notice in each case, Nick's ball position is approximately the same distance away from the left heel. This is very similar to Tiger Woods' ball position. How does this compare to your ball position? If you are having problems with your ball-striking, it could be simply a flaw in your ball position. Try the Jack Nicklaus / Butch Harmon / David Leadbetter / Golf Grouch ball position and it could yield amazing results!

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