If you want to make a great shot, you have to have it all set up just right. The alignment of your shot is just as important as the power of your swing. The ball position is a really important part of getting set up to make your shot.
The basics of ball position in your golf swing are as follows:
- Short irons: If you're going to use a wedge, 9-iron or 8-iron, you should put the ball right in front of you, as close to halfway between your feet as possible. The idea is that, in order to make a good clean shot with a shorter iron, you need to hit it at a steep angle. It's always best to put a divot in front of the ball if you're shooting with one of these clubs.
- Medium irons: For the 7, 6 or 5, you should put the ball a little forward. With a short iron, you are placing the ball directly in front of you, halfway between; take this position and move the ball one balls-length forward. Here, you should use a shallower divot.
- Long irons and fairways: Take that original position (for the short irons), and move the ball 2 ball-lengths forward. You want to hit the ball with a very slight divot, and get it right on the bottom of your swing arc.
- If you want to hit the ball on an upswing, put it 3 ball-lengths ahead of the short iron position.
You should have the ball about three-quarters of an arms length ahead of you. Different people will tell you different things, so experiment to find the most comfortable distance for you. This is something you'll get the hang of and adjust according to your own swinging style eventually.
These are just the basics, but experiment with the ball position and different irons and see what works best for you. Another thing to keep in mind is that, as you get tired, you'll hit the shots shorter. This will result in hooks or slices. To make up for this, move the ball further back toward your right foot (for right-handed players). As you notice your shots getting shorter due to fatigue, inch that ball back a little and see if it's more comfortable that way.
Some golfers find that they have one ball position that works for every iron. They claim that moving the ball position for different irons destroys your consistency. Advocates of one position for all shots say that changing the ball positions means you have to change your golf swing. If you use the clubs correctly, you should narrow your stance accordingly; you should never have to change the ball position.
Golfers don't see eye to eye on much, and this is one of the big controversies about golf technique. This is why it's important to personalize your swing and your technique, and pay close attention to what happens when you try different things.
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