Want good scores consistently? Learning to adjust your golf ball placement before each shot, and picking the right club, will help your overall game. By increasing your accuracy, you will use fewer strokes. You will have a different ball placement for each club in your bag.
Some clubs designs aim for greater distance and a flatter trajectory. These will have longer shafts, and the clubface will be more perpendicular to the ground. Others designs go for increased loft, but less distance. Their shafts are shorter, and their clubfaces angles to apply a backspin to the ball. This gives it a better roll once it lands, hopefully, on the green.
Consistency in your golf swing is one of the most important habits to develop. First, start learning and practicing basic fundamentals. If you use them on every outing, your game will develop a consistency that will improve your score. Try placing the ball in the same position and addressing it the same way, every time. Each time you use your pitching wedge, your body will develop a “memory” of what feels right with each swing of the club. That consistency will increase your reliability in gauging distance shots, It’ll also ensure your swing, impact and launch position is optimal for the best ball flight.
Why golf ball placement is an essential part of your game
There are always advantages and disadvantages to everything you will do in life. Taking the time to learn about ball placement can also aid you on days with inclement weather. Knowing how it affects the way the ball travels, and why it matters, can help you adjust. If it is a windy day, your distance shots may suffer more resistance with a higher trajectory. In this case, you’d adjust your ball placement to a longer ball position. If you do that while still using your pitching wedge, you can decrease the flight height. This will allow you to control where the ball will land with accuracy.
Some golfers maintain that the ball should always be in the same position relative to your feet. And, they add, you should adjust your swing to get the intended result. Canadian golf instructor Sean Foley argues on behalf of adjusting your feet and stance width over changing golf ball placement. Golf is not a game with only one approach though. Ultimately, the choice for the golfer will be what is most comfortable and allows the highest consistency.
Finding Your Best Golf Ball Placement in Stance
Your short game is key to your putting game. By “short game,” we mean using wedges and higher-numbered irons from the fairway, the rough, or the bunkers to the green. When you accurately place your ball in a good position for your putt, you’ll be the envy of the golf course. For beginning golfers, experts recommend you put your ball placement in the center position for these shots.
The center position can increase the accuracy of your short game. The position of the ball lets you apply a backspin by naturally hitting down on the ball during the swing. This is the recommended golf ball placement for wedges, pitching irons, or “short” irons.
Ball placement for shots from the fairway with your “long” irons will vary depending on which club you are using. To determine where you should position your ball from the center position: for each club, the ball should move about one-half inch toward your non-dominant foot (toward the target). So a 9-iron shot would be placed about a half-inch off the center position; an 8-iron shot about an inch off center; and so on. Ball placement will vary slightly with each golfer, so practice is encouraged.
Drivers and woods
Golf ball placement for drivers and woods works the same as it does for your irons. The main difference is that your starting position will be just inside your forward foot (non-dominant foot). To adjust for using different woods on your fairway shots, measure toward your dominant foot. While doing so, move the ball away from the target. Using your 5-wood, the ball placement would be about 2 inches from the ball position used with your driver (1-wood).
Your long game is dependent on having a fantastic drive off the tee and good follow-up shots off the fairway. The key to a longer shot off the tee is to “sweep” the ball with the driver’s head at impact. The golf ball placement for drivers moves the ball nearer to you non-dominant foot (toward the target). The woods have angled heads like the irons. This helps to create different lofts, or trajectories, on impact. The 1-wood, more commonly called the driver, is almost vertical. It will create a loft of 7 – 12 degrees. A 5-wood has an angle designed to create a 20 – 22 degrees loft.
While there are woods available in higher pitches, most golfers keep it simple. They tend to stick with the 1-wood for tee shots, and the 3-wood and 5-wood for fairway drives.
Practice Perfect Golf Ball Placement for Every Stroke
It is very easy to check your proper ball placement for each club while you are preparing for your shot. As you address the ball in your normal stance, lock both legs at the knees. If you’re doing it right, you’ll feel your weight on your heels. Slowly flex forward, keeping your spine straight, until you feel your weight shift to the balls of your feet. This leg positioning gives you the proper knee flex. From that position, place your club head next to the ball. Lower the club shaft until it rests just above your non-dominant knee. The proper position should leave the butt end of the shaft resting about one inch above your knee.
As with any sport, golf requires practice. Don’t get discouraged if your first few attempts aren’t perfect. Spend time practicing at the driving range, or even just in your backyard. But if you’re in your backyard, skip the ball so your neighbors don’t end up with broken windows. The important thing is to practice.
Featured image: CC by CC 2.0, New Brunswick Tourism, Wikimedia Commons