Common mistakes with ball position... and how to correct it.
Pay Attention to Consistent Ball Position
From my view proper ball position is critical on every swing made and too often the most overlooked basic. I think the most common mistake that golfers of all abilities is a lack of consistent ball position with the same club. Too often I watch golfers play and practice with the same club and the ball position will vary on nearly every shot. Thus, they do not make consistent contact due to a non consistent set up. Often that golfer will blame their golf swing which is really not the issue.
Many golfers I see do not understand the importance of having the ball in the same position on each shot they hit with a certain club. I have long been a believer in the ball position moving to the front or target foot as the clubs get longer. I have all of my golfers find the bottom of their swing with a wedge and then gradually move that position forward as each iron get longer. The wedge may have a base or bottom in the middle of the stance or it could be a bit more forward then that.
For many years golfers and teachers have debated on where the proper ball position is and does that position move with different clubs. After teaching for 40 years, I can say without worry the ball position should be different for each club being swung. I have heard great teachers and the greatest player ever say to play every shot with a target foot instep ball position but I have seen that same golfer play many shorter irons shots from a position behind the target instep.
It is difficult to keep this response short but please do not overlook the importance of proper ball position on each shot you hit. There are many ways to check your position and they vary for each but please be aware of the position and also try different positions with each club and see what the results show. You may be surprised where your best ball position truly lies!
Mattawang Golf Club, Belle Mead, NJ
Just like grip, posture, and alignment–ball position is another very important fundament. I believe there are 3 basic ball positions depending on the club being hit.
Off the lead heel for any wood off a tee–because you want to strike the ball with an ascending blow. 1″ back of that heel for any fairway/hybrid off the ground–so you can sweep the ball of the turf with a fairly level strike. 2″ back of that heel for any iron (teed or not)–so that you can hit the ball with a slightly descending blow.
Most people tend to play the ball too far back in their stance, creating too much of a descending strike. This causes very deep divots and launch angles that are too low.
Be careful getting the ball too far back in the stance with chips and pitches. Again this creates a very descending strike, taking the bounce off the club and causing players to “stick” the club in the ground.
Georgia Golf Center, Roswell, GA
Really want to improve your golf game? Get incredible swing tips delivered to your inbox every week.
Ball Position Does Influence Ball Flight
Ball position. It does influence how the ball flies. And it’s critical for you to understand how it does if you plan to become a better golfer.
Ball position directly effects trajectory, spin, height, and how long the shot will travel. Not to mention the curvature of the shot. This video about ball position shows how moving the ball forward and backward within your stance effects how the ball flies.
John Hughes Golf, Kissimmee, FL
Most of the time my students favor a ball position that complements their swing bottom. Slicers like the ball forward, those who hook prefer it back. In order to correct the swing path, you need to move the ball-back for slicers, more forward for hookers. It’s the only way to develop a better part path into impact
Eagle Lakes Golf Club , Naples, FL
Broadly, its better to have a too forward ball position with full swings and too far back ball position with chipping and pitching
Frosty Valley Golf Links, Pittsburgh, PA
TLDR: A quick summary of what our Backswing professionals have to say on the topic “Common Mistakes with Ball Position”:
- “Placing the ball too far forward or back in your stance can affect your swing path and impact position.”
- “Improper ball position can lead to inconsistent contact, low shots, or excessive spin.”
- “Not adjusting ball position for different clubs can result in inconsistent shot trajectories.”
- “Failing to align the ball properly with the target line can cause directional errors.”
- “Ignoring the influence of slope and wind on ball position can lead to inaccurate shots.”
- “Neglecting to adjust ball position for specific shots, such as chips or pitches, can hinder control and distance.”
- “Lack of awareness and experimentation with ball position can limit shot variety and overall performance.”
Understanding and correcting common ball position mistakes are crucial for consistent and accurate golf shots. By practicing proper ball placement, considering club selection, and adapting to varying course conditions, golfers can improve their shot quality, control, and overall performance.