Ball position: The Debate Continues
By Tim Mahoney
One of the interesting concepts about the golf swing is the
position of the ball with-in your stance.
One school of thought mentions a ball position in the same spot and
another mentions a ball position that moves with the club. At the Mahoney and Troon Golf Academy we
believe that the ball position is the effect of the desired swing angle at the
ball and the golfers basic swing tendency.
Keep in mind our ultimate goal is to produce a solid strike every time a
golfers hits a shot. The ball position
is constantly being adjusted during a practice session or a round of golf.
The ball position is the effect of your desired impact
goals, swing tendencies and the design of the club. As the club length is varied and the club
head design is implemented the basic ball position will be adjusted as well. Shorter
irons with more loft the ball will be farther back in the stance and a wood
club with less loft and the shaft behind the ball will have a more forward ball
The desired angle of approach of the club head at impact
will effect the ball position as well. A
short game shot that requires a significant amount of back spin and a steeper
angle of approach, the golf ball should be positioned back in your stance. A
driving club with a golfer’s objective of distance with ground speed requires a
shallow angle of approach or slightly upward, a forward ball position is
needed. All golfers need to keep in mind that the position of the ball at
set-up in relation to your feet and head will effect the angle the club
approaches the ball. Ball back-steep
angle and a ball forward shallows the angle.
During a round of golf the goal is to get the ball into the
hole in the lowest amount of attempts.
Your golf swing is constantly changing as your body and mind set changes
as well. If your swing path is too much
in to out, your golf club will bottom out behind the ball. This swing path will result in a ball position
farther back in your stance. A swing
path that is out to in will produce a swing bottom forward of the ball and a
more forward ball position. Golfers need
to adapt to the playing positions and your golf swing.
Lower scores are the effect of the golfer adapting to the
swing and conditions. Keep in mind that
the golf ball relationship within your stance is constantly moving and being
adjusted. A cemented position will
produce inconsistencies and an adjusted ball position will result in lower
Consistency is the number one goal of all players from Jordan
Spieth to Jack Nicklaus. Distance,
Direction and Trajectory make up the elements of the ball-flight. Golfers need all three elements for
consistent ball striking. I believe that
the sequence of learning is: trajectory,
distance and direction. The three
components are interrelated and we cannot have one with out the other.
Trajectory is controlled by:
Selection- the club is designed to provide loft. Allow the manufacturer to get the ball
of Approach- the correct angle of approach provides solid impact and the proper
consistency starts here. Grip, posture,
ball-position, aim, mind-set and tension level are the fundamentals of the
plane- a vertical swing shape will produce high shots and a flat swing shape
will produce lower shots.
speed- without swing speed the golfer has a difficult time producing loft. Golfers with a limited swing speed will
produce the same trajectory for all clubs.
Distance is controlled by:
Selection- longer clubs longer shots.
of motion- increased range of motion will assist in distance.
of contact- hitting the ball in the center of the racket. Path and plane are significant
influences. Vertical plane produces toe
hits and a flat plane produces heel hits.
speed at impact. Body rotation, arm
speed and wrist movement are the biggest influences. Overall swing speed is a goal not club head
Direction is controlled by:
parallel lines of the eyes, shoulders, forearms, hips, knees and heels.
alignment at impact. Clubface at right
angle to your swing path at impact.
path at impact. A swing path that is
from the inside to along the target line to the inside.
Every golf lesson and group activity I participate in every
golfer is in search of consistency. Ball
flight has three elements: trajectory, distance and direction. You master all three in order to gain