Ball position is one of the most confusing concepts for new golfers to grasp. Since the ball is stationary, it leaves golfers with several different options. We also have to think about ball position with different clubs that only adds to the confusion. Unfortunately there is only 1 golf ball placement at address that will allow for consistent accurate shots. The trick is to play most of your shots with this proper ball placement in golf stance. The only time you would change this position is if you needed to control the shape and trajectory of your shot. Otherwise, making sure to position the ball in the same place over and over will not only help with setting up to the shot but continued consistency throughout your entire game. Since the golf swing is a chain reaction, as you work on your fundamentals in your stance and setup, you prepare yourself for success instead of failure. Ball position is one of those key fundamentals you want to practice.
Where to position a golf ball in your stance will be determined from the point at which your club reaches its low point in the arc. During the swing the club travels on an inclined plane. Because of this there are some things to consider that will dictate the position of the golf ball in stance. From the beginning of the swing the clubhead will slowly lift off the ground and also deviate from the target line inward. Since the arc is on an inclined plane, this means the face will rotate open in the backswing and close during the follow-through. As the club nears the impact position, the face is closing and also getting lower to the ground. At one critical point in the swing, the clubhead will reach it’s low point and be square to the target line. Just before this point is where you want to position the golf ball at address. This will ensure you have a descending blow and square face at impact. Remember, chain reaction right. You shouldn’t feel the need to do anything with your hands to create a straight shot if you have a correct ball position.
Provided that you are shifting weight forward during the downswing, this position is similar for many golfers. However, it can vary so do your best to identify the low point of your swing and position the ball accordingly. A great drill of exercise to find this spot would be to take several swings without a ball looking to see where you take turf in the ground. Make sure to swing as similar as you would if there was a ball.
Once you have established the correct ball position in golf stance, find a reference point either the distance it appears off your left heal or relative to your shoulders. I want to make it clear that ball position has no significance as it relates in to where you position it off your feet. This will only help you plant your feet while addressing the golf ball. Instead the true indication of ball position is where it sets relative in your shoulders. For me the ball lies about an inch inside my left armpit. This is why alignment/aim and ball position go hand in hand. The more I open my shoulders, the more I am putting my ball position further back. Likewise, if I close my shoulders the further the ball position will go forward. This can have a devastating effect on the direction and shape of your shot.
Make sure to first establish your target line so you can setup to that special golf ball placement at address we talked about. Also, try not to confuse yourself with ball position with different clubs. The only variable that will change with club selection is the width of your stance to accommodate for the wider/shorter arc.