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Addressing The Ball

 

If you find your game starting to fall to pieces, check your setup and address. This includes your grip, stance, posture, and alignment .

Tips from top golf instructors on setting up and addressing the ball.

 

Setting Your Aim & Alignment With The Target

It is surprising how many golfers do not align their feet with the target line, then wonder why their ball ends up off line.

On a full swing the feet should be on a line parallel to the target line; unless you are trying to shape the shot with curve. A good address tip is to:

  1. Stand behind the ball, put your club on the ground in line with the target and ball.
  2. Leaving the club head on the ground, walk around the club to your address position
  3. Align your feet parallel to the line between the ball and the club.
  4. Remove the club from the ground and prepare to address the ball.

 

Alignment Routine

Have a consistent routine when addressing the ball. The only two things you should ever set on the target line are the ball and clubface. Everything else is parallel to it at your body line.

  1. Determine your target line from behind the ball, never in front of it. See tip above
  2. Start with the leading edge of your club at a right angle to your target line.
  3. When the clubface is aimed, settle your body around the clubface; never vice versa.
  4. The position of the ball should always be constant. Only the width of your stance should vary.

The key is consistency. Keep your routine the same every time.

For more tips on using club markings to help align your clubface to the target line.

 

Distance From The Ball

A biomechanical study [by Dr. Ralph Mann and Golf Instructor Fred Griffin] of 54 PGA Tour pros came up with the following results.

Drivers

The distance between the left toe and the ball was:

  • Average height - approximately 32 inches.
  • Shorter golfers need to add one inch - 33 inches
  • Taller players close in one inch - 31inches

5-iron distance was 23 to 25 inches

9-iron distance was 19 to 21 inches.

Try checking these distances at home.

 

Body Posture & Balance

  1. Width of Stance - should never be wider than your normal walking stride. A wide stance reduces power by restricting body turn. A narrower stance does not provide sufficient balance.
    1. To establish your ideal stance width, take a normal step forward with your left foot and stop.
    2. Turn 90 degrees to your right, keeping your toes in place.
    3. This is your driver stance.
    4. Reduce the width half an inch for each successive club. Your feet will be 5-6 inches closer together for short irons.

A slightly wider stance promotes a shallower backswing path and an elongated flat spot in the hitting area. This keeps the clubface traveling along the target line longer, leading to stronger, straighter drives.

 

Knees

Keep the knees flexed throughout the swing - Address the ball with, the knees in a "flexed" position. During the backswing and forward swing check that the right knee stays in this flexed position.

 

Balance Brings Control

Golfers who are off-balance spend most of their swing trying to recover in time for impact. Try this test to see how well your balance is at address.

  1. Lay a club along your toe line.
  2. Position another one, parallel to the first, 12 inches in front.
  3. Adopt your normal address position.
  4. If you're in perfect balance, you can jump over the second club without repositioning any weight.

 

Hovering & Waggling

You will note most tour pros waggle or hover the clubhead at address. Some repeatedly lift and ground their club, others practice their takeaways with long, sweeping motions, whist others hover the clubhead before starting his swing. Whatever format you find most appealing, the airm is to get your muscles engaged before you start your back swing.

This address drill helps to lighten grip pressure and get the arms, shoulders, and neck muscles in a state of readiness, ensuring a smooth first move.

Next: Tips for Golf Swing

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