Amen Corner: You Can Be Close With Your Golf Ball, Just Not That Close

  • The relationship of body to golf ball directly affects the swing plane and the potential accuracy and direction of the ensuing stroke. Courtesy photograph

Special to the Valley News
Published: 7/12/2018 12:21:13 AM
Modified: 7/12/2018 12:21:23 AM

Do you and your golf ball have a love-hate relationship? How close are you to your golf ball?

While every club in the bag is a different length and requires you to adjust to them, the distance from the butt end of your club to your body can be something that provides you consistency and improved ball striking.

For the most part, history’s greatest golfers have surmised that the higher-handicap golfer reaches for and stands too far away from the ball. Standing too far away and reaching too much for the ball can move too much weight toward your toes and cause you to lose balance on the downswing, resulting in off-center shots.

Standing too far away from the ball can also force the club too far inside the ideal swing plane on the backswing. An under-plane backswing can cause you to lift and deliver the club over the top of the swing plane on the downswing, creating a path that is outside to inside and resulting in the dreaded slice.

Finally, standing too far from the ball can simply force you to hit ball off the toe of the club.

In general, the farther you stand from the ball, the rounder or flatter you can swing the club around your body. The closer you stand, the more upright of a swing you will be forced to employ.

A good way to establish the correct distance from the ball is to establish good golf posture and let gravity dangle your arms straight down. Your arms will be directly under your shoulders, creating a good distance from the ball to hit your irons.

With a driver, you have a little more wiggle room to reach a bit farther, resulting in your hands just outside your shoulder line. A little flatter swing will help your driver.

There are a few ways you can check to see if you are the correct distance from the ball. First, plop yourself in front of a mirror, establish good posture and see how you hang your arms to set up with an iron or a driver. You can also use a powder spray and spray the club face, hit some golf balls, and see what hand position allows you to hit the center of the club face consistently.

Don’t be shy. Get closer to your golf ball if you feel distant. If you work together, you will improve your shot-making success.

Peter Harris is the director of Golf at the Fore-U Golf Center in West Lebanon. His column appears weekly on the Recreation page during the golf season.

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