Knowing the correct distance to stand from the golf ball when you set up is a fundamental part of your address position.
At the end of this article you will know how far or how close to stand from your golf ball with every one of your golf clubs, from the driver and fairway woods to the irons and wedges.
Because each club in your bag features a club shaft that is of a different length there is not one correct distance from the ball that you can use for every one of your golf shots.
For example, we can’t say you should stand 3 feet away from the ball every time. Rather, what we can do instead is find a trick to confirm that you are indeed standing at the correct distance from the ball, no matter the club you are using. Let’s take a look.
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How Far To Stand From The Golf Ball?
To find out if you are standing too close or too far from the ball, simply address the ball in your setup position and let the club grip drop towards your leading leg (left leg for a right-handed golfer). If the end of the grip lands around two inches above your knee cap then you can be confident that you are standing at the correct distance from your golf ball.
Grip lands around 2 inches above knee
If the grip of your club touches your thighs too high (more than 2 inches above your knee) then you know you are probably standing too close to the ball.
Standing too close to the golf ball will result in hitting the ball towards the heel of the clubface, which will produce on occasion dreaded shanks that shoot the ball way right of the target.
Reposition your feet and perform the distance check again until the grip lands on the correct part of your leg.
If the grip of your club misses your leg entirely or would strike it below your knee cap then you know that you are standing too far from the ball.
This position would require your arms to extend too far forward at address and will likely result in back issues and poor strikes at the golf ball. Oftentimes you will produce shots that hit the toe end of your clubface, resulting in poor shot distances that go to the right.
Where To Put The Ball In Your Stance?
The position of the ball in between your two feet is a fundamental of the address position and should be carefully understood. You need to know how to position the ball in relation to each of your golf clubs (driver, irons, wedges).
Whenever using a wedge (i.e., pitching wedge, gap wedge, sand wedge, loft wedge) for a ‘normal’ swing and golf shot you should position the ball in the center of your stance. That means the ball should be the same distance from your right foot as it is from your left foot.
You should also adopt a slightly narrower stance than you would otherwise use with your irons. This ball position will promote a ‘hitting down’ motion on the golf ball, leaving the loft of the club to do its part in sending the ball high into the air.
Whenever using your irons the ball position will move slightly forward. And to be precise it should move forward by half an inch, incrementally for every one of your irons. So your 9-iron will be forward from the center of your stance by half an inch.
Your 8-iron will be a full 1 inch forward from the center of your stance, or ½ inch up from your 9-iron ball position, and so on. This ball position scheme will promote good solid contacts with all of your irons.
Note that the distance between your two feet should be slightly wider than what it is using your wedge and in this case should be around the width of your shoulders.
Now with your driver, the ball position will be forward even more. Actually, the ball should be just inside of the heel of your forward foot at address whenever using your driver off the tee (left foot for a right handed golfer).
Note also that your stance should be widest while using your driver. This will allow you to gain stability and the forward ball position will allow your driver to strike the ball after it has started to ascend.
Position Of Your Hands At Address In Relation To The Golf Ball And Club
How you position your hands when you address the ball is a fundamental part of your golf setup. After figuring out the distance of your stance away from the golf ball, you’ll need to know the correct position of the hands and how they should be positioned relative to the body and your golf clubs (driver, irons, wedges).
Use the following checkpoint to make sure your hands are well positioned and that the forward shaft lean is correct for each of your driver and fairway woods, irons and wedges.
When you address the ball with any club in your bag for standard full golf swings and golf shots, make sure that the end of your grip points to the inside of your lead hip (left hip for a right handed golfer).
When you correctly hold a wedge in this position at address you will notice that the shaft of your club leans forward.
That makes sense because the ball should be positioned in the center of your stance when you use a wedge for full shots. So for a wedge, the clubface should rest behind the ball, which is in the middle of your stance and the shaft of the club should be tilted forward since your grip points at your left hip, which is ahead of the ball.
Make sure that your hands are not positioned straight up from the ball whenever using a wedge. This will eliminate the shaft lean in your setup. And even worse, make sure that your hands are not positioned behind the ball.
This hand position makes it very difficult to hit down on the ball and may lead to the ‘flipping the club’ swing error. When you correctly hold an iron in your hands the shaft lean will be somewhat reduced.
This is due to the ball position being slightly forward in your stance. But still make sure that the end of the grip points to the inside of your left hip. And finally whenever using your driver and fairway woods the end of your grip should still point towards the inside of your left hip.
But since the ball is positioned forward in your stance (just inside of your forward leg), the shaft of the club will not lean forward much at all.
This will add a little more loft in the clubface which will help launch the ball into the air. When you address the ball, you also need to make sure that the face of your club rests flat on the ground.
You don’t want to hold your club with your hands too high, which would produce a shaft that is too upright and would lead to the heel of your club to lift from the ground.
Conversely, you don’t want to hold your club too low, which would lead your toe to lift from the ground. Make sure that the whole clubface rests square and flat on the ground and that the end of your grip points towards just inside of your left hip, no matter the club that you are using.
Final Verdict – Standing Correctly To The Golf Ball
The first and most important thing to do in order to stand correctly to the golf ball is to position the clubhead first.
So often, many beginners make the mistake of getting into position before setting the clubhead behind the golf ball. This not only causes inconsistencies in your setup, but also in your golf shot.
Once you get the clubhead behind the ball, aim your clubface at your intended target and grip the golf club.
The next step is to take your distance away from the golf ball, your width of stance and ball position.
To obtain your width of stance, you should aim to get a symmetrical position with the ball position just in front of center.
The next thing you want to achieve during setup is the distance from the golf ball. As we’ve discussed before, you can find out this distance by letting the club grip drop towards your leading leg.
Your arms should hang straight down as you keep a gap between your legs and golf club. If you get too close to the golf ball, you will end up in a cramped position. The arms will move inwards and change during the golf swing which is not ideal.
Also, if you stand too far away from the golf ball, then you will have to stretch over and that will cause your arms to be in the wrong position.
Allowing your arms to hang straight down will give you loads of space between you and your golf club, thus allowing for an efficient strike.
You should always feel comfortable with your posture. Ideally, you want to tilt from the hips, stick your glutes out, and slightly flex your knees while maintaining a straight back.