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Breaking 80: Ball position is more important than you think
Created on 2/1/2005 12:00:00 AM


Beware of shoulder alignment when addressing the ball
If you're good enough to shoot in the low 80s, you probably know by now that ball position affects the trajectory of a shot. Unfortunately, many good players have also been told that the longer the club, the closer to the left foot they need to address the ball and the shorter the club, the closer to the right foot. But look at what happens to the alignment of the shoulders when you play the ball in different positions. When you play the ball back (above, left), the shoulders are aligned well right of the target. The only way to hit an accurate shot from this closed position is to hook or pull it back to the left. And the reverse happens when you play the ball forward (above, right). This is why it's important to play the ball two inches inside the left foot for most shots. When you have to play the ball back--such as for a knockdown shot--be sure to check your shoulder alignment, or you'll likely hit the ball right of your target. flex your knees a little more than normal to get down to the ball. Take more club and swing easy so you don't fall off the stool.

Do the one-step for chips
Another ball-position mistake happens with chip shots. To ensure a crisp chip, you want to open your stance slightly and play the ball back. Here's how: (1) Step in with your right foot square and aligned with the ball; (2) Step forward with your left foot square; (3) Flare your feet. Don't step in with the right foot already flared.

If you flare your foot before you step in, the ball might appear to be back in your stance, even though it's probably closer to your front foot.

Golf Digest February 2005


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