How Ball Position and Stance Can Help Your Golf Game
By Dan Williams, PGA Professional & Golf Instructor at Superstition Mountain Golf and Country Club
One of the reasons people struggle with golf is because improving your swing can be a bit of a guessing game if you’re doing it on your own. A golfer will get a tip from a buddy or see a video online and head out to the range and try to swing differently, only to continue to struggle. This leads to confusion and frustration. Trying to change your swing is very difficult because there are so many possible outcomes to every swing position. This means you can do the exact same thing as somebody else and get a completely different result.
We are going to focus on two areas of your set up that can help you try to make a change with a purpose, instead of hoping that a tip might result in better ball flight. You can analyze your own game and see if any of the following can make a positive difference.Ball position and stance/posture.
Generally speaking, golf clubs with high loft should be played in the middle of your stance and longer clubs with less loft will be played more forward, with the driver just inside your lead foot. I wouldn’t suggest playing any full swing shots further back than the middle of your stance.
Ball position has a huge effect on your ability to make good contact and the height and direction of your ball flight. If you play the ball too far forward in your stance, you might struggle with thin shots, you might hit a pull and/or slices and you might hit the ball too high, costing you distance.
If those misses sound like you, try moving the ball closer to the middle of your stance. On the flip side, if you hit the ball too low, take too big of a divot or hit fat shots or pushes, move the ball more forward in your stance.
|Position Your Ball More Forward If…||Position Your Ball More Back If…|
|You want a higher ball flight||You want to lower your ball flight|
|You struggle with pushes/blocked shots||You struggle with thin shots|
|You take deep or big divots||You hit pulls/pull slices|
|You hit the ball too low||You hit the ball too high|
An important part in many swings is range of motion, or rotation. To create a lot of rotation, you need to allow your legs and hips to move as well as your upper body. If you bend your knees a lot, arch your lower back, try to restrict your lower half or stick your rear end out, you are going to limit your range of motion greatly. Most people who do this will either have a short swing with little rotation or they will stand up and out of their posture which causes a lot of body movements – especially standing up in the downswing – that can make finding good contact difficult.
Instead, try to have only a little bend in your knees, a relaxed or rounded lower back and even slightly rounded shoulders to allow for a taller stance. This will free up your body to make a big turn on the backswing and the through swing. Take a before and after picture of yourself, you’ll be surprised how different you have to feel to actually see a difference.
Try a taller stance if you think you need a bigger turn, you tend to stand up in your downswing, you hit fat/thin shots or you feel restricted in your golf swing.
Hopefully you can take this information and make decisions on what to change in your game. It’s not to say that you will automatically get better, but you can at least know why you’re trying to change and the specific desired outcome that change should produce. Even if it doesn’t result in drastic improvement, it’s a better plan than getting a swing tip and hoping it works without knowing why!