Standing the correct distance from the golf ball helps ensure solid impact and accuracy.
Because each club has a different length, there is no set measurement that works every time. However, once you've established good posture, you're one step closer to determining your proper distance from the ball.
First, make sure your club lies flat on the ground. If the heel or the toe of the club point up in the air, you'll have problems hitting the ball square on the sweet spot. Then, assume your normal stance and posture over the ball.
Next, let the butt of the club rest on your lead leg (left leg for right-handers). If you are the correct distance from the ball, it should sit a few inches above your kneecap. If it's higher, you're too close to the ball and need to back up. If it touches your kneecap or falls to the ground, you're too far away and need to move closer.
Another method some players like to use to check their distance from the ball is to get into their correct golf posture and then let the arms hang naturally. From this point, you grip the club and reach out slightly so that your arms are in a good position to swing around your body.
Standing too far from the ball will cause you to reach for it during the swing in order to hit the sweet spot. Stand too close and you'll have to pull the hands in to hit it solidly.
The key is to find the proper distance for each club, which will become natural with time and practice.
At Address, what is the Correct Distance to Stand from Golf Ball?
One of the advantages you have as a golfer when preparing to hit your shots is the ability to position the ball exactly where you would like it in your stance. This is an advantage that is not available to players in other 'swinging' sports, such as baseball or tennis. A baseball player has to respond with a swing that matches the location of the pitch they have been thrown, and a tennis player has to respond to the direction and speed of the ball that has been hit in their direction. You don't have to deal with that kind of challenge in golf. The ball is sitting still, and it is up to you to determine where you would like to stand in order to make a successful swing.
Of course, having this kind of control can be both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, you are able to precisely control your positioning, making it easier to achieve a solid strike. On the other hand, this adds yet another point to the list of things you need to think about before making a swing. In some ways, it might be easier to just react to the ball, rather than having to make a conscious decision on the positioning of your stance. Regardless, your task is clear – to determine exactly where to stand in relation to the ball with each of the clubs in your bag.
When talking about ball position, most golfers think about the location of the ball from left to right in the stance. However, that is only one half of the equation. The other half, of course, is how far you are going to stand from the ball at address. Some golfers stand rather close to the ball as they swing, while others are a quite a significant distance away. The distance that you stand from the ball is going to have a lot to do with the swing you are able to make, so don't overlook this subtle but important point. Getting this point wrong is going to make it hard to produce accurate shots on a consistent basis.
You can't really look to other golfers for assistance on this point, because the right distance for you to stand from the ball is going to be different from the right distance for other players. Each and every golf swing in the world is unique, as is your body shape and size. To settle on the right positioning for your swing, you will need to go through some experimentation on the driving range. In this article, we will offer up advice on how you can use your upcoming practice sessions to find the perfect distance to stand from the ball for each club in your bag.
All of the instructions below have been written from the perspective of a right handed golfer. If you happen to play left handed, please take a moment to reverse the directions as necessary.
Allow Your Swing to Work
It is important to stand the correct distance from the ball because proper positioning is going to allow your swing to work as it should. If you stand too far away, or too close, you are going to have to manipulate the club as it moves through the hitting area in order to make solid contact. You don't want to be making any last second adjustments in the swing, as the club is moving far too quickly at impact to make those adjustments accurately and consistently. Therefore, positioning your body properly is important because it will let you steer clear of such adjustments. You can simply swing through with confidence and aggression, allowing the club to rip through the hitting area on its way to a full finish.
Positioning yourself the proper distance from the ball is one of those things that you aren't going to think much about when it is done correctly – but it will be a glaring problem if you get it wrong. If your positioning is incorrect at the moment, you may notice the following issues in your swing.
- Blocking shots to the right. This is a problem that will commonly be seen when you stand too close to the ball. Without enough room between your body and the ball, your release will be restricted and your shots will usually be pushed to the right of the target. Golfers who make this mistake often complain of feeling 'stuck' or 'cramped' at the bottom of the swing. Not only will the lack of release cause your shots to miss right, but it will also take distance off of your average shot as well. Overall, standing too close to the ball is one of the biggest mistakes you can make in golf, as it is going to be a struggle to produce quality shots without enough room for a full, free release.
- Hitting the ball fat. When you notice that you are hitting the ball fat on a frequent basis, check to make sure you aren't standing too far away from the ball at address. You might not think at first that standing too far from the ball could cause you to hit it fat, but that is exactly what can happen after a chain reaction of events. On the way down, you will feel like you are too far from the ball, and your body will react by slowing down its rotation in order to stay down in the shot all the way through impact. Your lower body, specifically, will fail to turn through toward the target as it should. Without a good turn in your lower body, your center of gravity is likely to hang back behind the position of the ball. Since the club is going to bottom out directly under your center of gravity, the club will hit the turf before the ball and the shot will come up short of the target. Moving in a bit closer to the ball can correct this problem by allowing your lower body to fire through the shot as it should.
- Pulling the ball left. As you might imagine, pulling the ball left is an indication that you are making the opposite mistake from the one you are making when pushing the ball to the right. If standing too close to the ball is going to promote a push, it only stands to reason that pulling shots left is the likely result of standing too far away. The club will have no problem releasing when you stand far away from the ball – in fact, it will release too easily, and your shots will usually miss left. It is important to note that pulling the ball left is not the same thing as hitting a hook. If the ball is turning from right to left as it flies, you are hitting a hook and need to look elsewhere for a correction. However, if the ball is starting left of the target line and staying there as it flies, you are hitting a pull.
The points above only represent a partial list of the many problems you can create when standing the wrong distance from the ball. If any of the points above look familiar, or if you are making any other kind of mistake which you feel may be the result of standing either too close or too far from the ball, continue on to learn how you can correct this frustrating problem once and for all.
The Easy Method for Perfect Positioning
If you are currently having trouble finding the right position to stand in relation to the ball, you will be relieved to learn that fixing this problem is actually quite easy. Unlike some of the other problems you may face in your game, which can be complicated and time consuming to correct, you can get yourself on track in terms of ball positioning after just a single practice session.
In this section, we are going to walk through a step-by-step guide for how to find the perfect distance from the ball at address. As long as you are willing to pay attention to detail and follow these instructions to the letter, you are almost sure to wind up in a perfect position to make your swing.
- To practice this process, visit the driving range and take your seven iron from the bag. Set a range ball down in front of you and pick out a target in the distance. The seven iron is a perfect club to use for this drill because it is long enough to offer a meaningful ball flight, but short enough to be easy to hit. Once you get the idea, you can feel free to work through this process with both your longer and shorter clubs.
- Once you have picked out a target, walk up to the ball with the club in your right hand. As you approach the ball, set the club head down behind the ball while still only using your right hand. Position the club head such that the face is aimed directly at your target. At this point, your feet should not be set in a stance. Rather, they should be casual and comfortable as you focus only on setting the club face just right.
- Now that the club face is aimed perfectly at the target, check to confirm that the sole of the club is sitting flat on the ground. The sole is the bottom of the club head, and it should be resting level on the ground as you address the ball. If the heel or toe or the club is touching the ground, adjust its position to level out the club head properly.
- With the club nicely soled, it is now time to take your grip. Your right hand is already on the club, so add in your left hand and bring your grip together comfortably. It is important to keep the club head as still as possible when going through this process. Before moving on to the next step, be sure to have your grip established fully with your arms hanging down comfortably from your shoulders.
- To finish up this process, set your feet into a stance. The key here is to keep the club perfectly still as you are setting your feet. The club is already in a perfect spot, so you don't want to move it all around while finalizing the stance you are going to use to hit the shot. Leave the club in place, set your feet, and get ready to make a swing.
This process above might seem relatively simple, and that's because it is. You don't have to do anything 'fancy' to set yourself in the right position to hit a quality shot, but you do need to pay attention to detail. The key to the process above can be found in the subtle details. If you are going to be successful, you need to pay attention to each step and avoid cutting any corners. Only when you match this process to the letter can you be sure that your positioning next to the ball is correct.
Sticking with It
Here's the thing about making adjustments to your golf swing or setup – you are almost always going to get worse before you get better. After making this change, you are likely to hit a series of poor shots during the rest of the driving range session. That's just how this game works. Golf is hard, and you have to work through the tough times if you want to come out on the other side.
It was mentioned above that this is one of the easier adjustments that you can make in your game, and that is true. However, even easy adjustments are difficult in golf, so you shouldn't expect to go out and shoot a new personal best score in your very next round. There are going to be growing pains along the way, and you have to be committed to working through those difficulties if you are going to make meaningful progress. Many golfers give up on their swing changes at the first sign of trouble, which is why most players never really get any better. If you are serious about improving, you aren't going to give up just because you hit some ugly shots while making the adjustment.
The biggest adjustment that you are going to need to make when you change your positioning relative to the ball is simply making solid contact at impact. Even if you were previously standing in the wrong spot, you had likely gotten used to that poor positioning over the years. Your swing adapted, and you learned how to make decent contact with most of your swings. Now that you are changing the positioning of your stance, you will need to undo those adjustments to allow your swing to work naturally. The end result of this process is desirable, but there is going to be some struggle along the way. Focus on the fundamentals of your swing during this process – things like balance and keeping your eyes on the ball – and watch for minor signs of improvements during each practice session.
When you do get back on the course, the main challenge that you face will come in the way of adjusting to your new ball flight. It is certain that there is going to be some change in your ball flight pattern as compared to your previous swing. For some golfers, that change will be minor, such as a large draw turning into a smaller draw. For others, the change will be dramatic, like a draw turning into a fade. Whatever the case, you are going to need to adjust your targets to reflect the new pattern in your game. Again here, this is something that simply takes time. Play as much as possible to get comfortable with your new ball flight and there will be light at the end of the tunnel sometime in the near future.
It should go without saying, but this is not a change that you should be making prior to playing in any kind of competition. For example, if you are going to be playing in a tournament at your local club in just a few weeks, don't start in on the process of changing the positioning of your stance. It will be far more tempting to give up on this change if you have a competition in the near future. Take on this challenge when you have nothing on your golf calendar in the weeks and months ahead. Without the time pressure of needing to make the change before a given event, you will be able to relax and work through the process at your own pace.
The Importance of Equipment
It would be a mistake to finish up this article without a quick discussion on the importance of club fitting in the big picture of your golf game. Using clubs that are properly fitted for your body and swing will make a big difference when trying to stand the correct distance from the ball. If you are using a set of clubs you purchased 'off the rack', there is a good chance those clubs don't fit your swing – and they are making the game harder than it needs to be. Going through the club fitting process will make the game a bit easier, and more fun as well.
While it is important to have all of your clubs fitted to your swing, it is really the irons that are crucial in this discussion. When your irons fit your swing correctly, the will be likely to enter the turf in a square position – which will lead to a square strike. Poorly fitted irons are going to enter the ground with either the toe or the heel of the club going first, meaning the club is going to twist as it moves through the ball. You will likely feel this twisting in your hands, and it will be hard to hit your shots solidly. Many golfers are amazed at the difference they feel when hitting custom fitted irons as opposed to those they purchased off the rack.
So what does all this have to do with the topic of standing the correct distance from the ball? It is a related point because the distance you stand from the ball is correlated to the length and lie angle of your clubs. A longer club shaft is going to require you to stand farther from the ball, all other things being equal. In the same way, a club with a flat lie angle will lead you to stand farther away than a club which has been bent upright. These are variables that can be dialed in by a professional club fitter, and they will help you to wind up in a position that is comfortable for your swing. Off the rack clubs may lead you into an incorrect position for your swing when you base your stance around the dimensions and angles that they offer. Take the time to go through a club fitting and you instantly will have an easier time finding just the right spot to stand.
One of the keys to improving at golf is checking on small fundamental points one at a time. Is fixing your positioning next to the ball going to completely solve all problems you have in your game? No – probably not. However, working on this point will take you one step closer to playing golf at a higher level. Once this point is checked off of your list, you can move on to another. By consistently looking for small but important ways to improve on your technique, you can transform your game over the long haul. Please feel free to use the content above to find just the right spot to stand near the ball with each of your clubs. Good luck!