This is How Far to Stand from the Golf Ball
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Finding out how far you should stand from the golf ball can sometimes feel impossible. Have you tried to line up a shot and felt you were either over-extended or cramped up? Luckily, this is an easy fix, and we’ll show you how to set it up so you’re the proper distance every time.
When standing the correct distance from the golf ball, you should be able to bend at the hips with flexed knees. Your trail hand should swing in line with your grip, and the butt of the club should be six inches from your thighs. The end of the club should be in line with your belt buckle.
Every time you line up for a swing, you feel you can never get the right balance between being too far away or too close to the ball, hampering your game.
It’s near impossible to take a powerful, accurate swing when the distance is off. Finding the correct posture will make judging the distance you need easier.
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How Far Should I Stand from The Golf Ball?
You want to set up an optimal distance from the ball that allows you to use the full strength of your body. Your lower body helps create a strong drive, and the strength and mobility of your upper body will generate speed.
When your body is firmly centered and you’re at the correct distance from the ball, the whole body works harmoniously to give your shot power, accuracy, and speed.
Standing too far or close to the ball throws your body out of this ideal alignment. This disconnection causes you to have an uncomfortable swing that relies on only lower body or upper body strength.
Since every person’s body will be different—from your height to your arm and torso length—there is no one set measurement you can take to determine how far to stand from the ball.
Instead, we find the best possible posture to ensure our body has the space to swing freely while still providing power to a drive.
Once you know how your body is supposed to feel in the correct posture, you can use this to determine how far to stand from the ball when using an iron.
How To Set Up the Correct Distance from the Golf Ball
Learning to set yourself up in the correct posture will help determine how far you should stand from a golf ball when using an iron.
Follow these steps to get into the proper position. Try this without an iron first, so you can understand the motion.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart
- Drop your hips back
- Tilt your body slightly forward, as if though you are looking down at the golf ball
- Ensure you bend from the hips while keeping your back level
- Avoid hunching your back and rounding your shoulders
- Bend your knees slightly so that you have flexion, don’t lock them
- Tilt your body a little toward the direction of your target
- You want to hang your arms straight down, directly from your shoulders
- The distance between your dropped hands and your bent knees should be a little more than the span of your hand
Once you have a feel for this posture, try it again while holding an iron. Feel how your body can move in a swing. You should not feel blocked, and your knees should stay slightly bent throughout the movement.
You can shuffle forward or back from the ball when in this posture. Stay in this position as you move to determine the correct distance from the ball.
This posture-first set-up works better than using the ball as your guide to determine the correct distance.
What Happens if I Stand Too Far From the Golf Ball?
Standing too far away or near the golf ball presents different issues. You can easily correct both by using your trail hand (the back hand) to determine where to reposition your body to maintain the correct distance.
When you are too far away, your feet are too far back, and your hips are out of the correct alignment. This forces you to stretch out your arms to line the club with the ball.
When you do this, your arms lock at the elbows. All the power in your swing will have come from your lower body. With locked arms, you cannot use full strength and control in your shoulders and arms.
This means you will lose out on speed, as you don’t have the whip-like control of the upper body movement. Standing too far from the ball makes your swing wilder and often causes the ball to hook.
You can check if you’re standing too far by letting go of the club with your trail hand and letting it hang straight down. If you’re too close to the ball, the trail hand must move closer to your body to hang directly down.
What happens if I Stand Too Close to the Golf Ball?
You can’t fully utilize your lower body when you stand too close to the ball.
Your arms will be held too close to your legs, resulting in rounded or hunched shoulders. In this position, your hands will be forced to hang too low, and your legs will get in the way.
When you initiate the backswing, your hips will have to twist your legs out of the way to make space for the club. But when you come back on the downswing, your legs will straighten, and your hips will push forward to maintain your balance.
Standing too close to the ball will end up with you using your arms and hands to generate the force. This not only robs your swing of power but also makes your shots more inconsistent. This results in the ball covering less distance. You’ll likely end up slicing the ball.
Again, you can fix this error using your trail hand as a guide. Allow your trail hand to swing free. If it moves away from your body to hang straight down, you’re too close and need to move your feet and hips back to create the correct distance.
What is The Correct Distance to the Golf Ball?
The correct distance to the golf ball puts you in the proper position to take a clean swing without shifting your weight back or forward. You should not lock either your knees or elbows when you are at the right distance, but keep flexion and power through the joints.
Practice following the position drill to ensure you have the correct knee bend. You want to hinge cleanly at the hip rather than rounding your back and shoulders.
If you’re unsure before taking a shot, use your trail arm to determine the correct distance. If your trail arm hangs loosely downward but is even with your grip, you know you are standing in the correct place.
Another rough guide is to keep the butt of your club approximately six inches or a handspan from your thighs.
Why Do Pro Golfers Stand So Close to the Ball?
Sometimes you may notice golfers choosing to stand too close to the ball. As we’ve seen, standing too far or close to the ball can cause hooks and slices. If you’re a pro golfer who knows your shortcomings, you might stand at a different distance to compensate for this.
For example, if you tend towards a flat swing plane, you might find that shifting closer to the ball helps correct that by using a more upright swing path.
Recap: How Far to Stand from Golf Ball
The biggest issue with standing close to the ball is that most recreational golfers already tend to put too much emphasis on driving the swing from their arms.
Finding the correct posture will make it easier to find how far to stand from the golf ball. By getting the correct distance first, you can learn to use your entire body in the drive, making your swings faster, more accurate, and more powerful.