Perfect Ball Position With Every Club

Find the perfect ball position with every club to improve your ball striking through the bag!

Perfect ball position with every club
(Image credit: Kenny Smith)

The chances of making a good swing increase significantly if you get things right at address like the perfect golf grip and ball position. Specifically, the perfect ball position will help with both the quality of your ball-striking and how accurate your shots are. From short irons through to long irons and the driver, the video and article below explains exactly how to find the perfect ball position with every club...

This is all very much about your sternum position, your swing arc and where the ball is in relation to those factors. Let's explain...

If you look at your swing from face-on and plot the path of the clubhead during the swing it would be like a big circle around your body. The ball needs to be placed carefully in relation to the lowest point of the circle. Exactly where however, depends on which club you are hitting. Here's everything you need to know.

Where do you place the ball for each club?

First, the 9-iron. Start your set-up with your feet together so your sternum is directly over the ball. Take a little step with your left foot and the same length step right with your right foot. Ball position remains below your sternum in the middle of the stance, and with a successful swing, the club will bottom out just after the ball and you’ll take a little divot. This is an ideal downward angle of attack for short iron.

The mid-iron is longer and will therefore bottom out differently, so you need to change your set-up very slightly. Starting with your feet together again, take that same little step to the left but a slightly bigger step to the right. Your sternum is now slightly behind the ball, but because the club is longer it will still bottom out just after the ball.

Ball position long irons

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)

With the 4-iron, guess what? It’s the same step left again, but a slightly bigger step right to allow the longer club to still bottom out correctly. This is an incredibly important factor behind how to hit long irons - something that many regular golfers struggle with.

To recap...

1. Same step left: The step left from the feet together position remains constant with your irons. It is the step to the right that gets progressively bigger with the longer irons.

2. Long iron stability: That bigger right step with the long irons also gives you a wider stance, which you need for added stability as you’re going to be creating more clubhead speed.

It is important to say that with all of these, we are looking at the perfect ball position for every club if the lie is good. However, if the ball is sitting down, moving the ball back a fraction can help with contact. This is particularly important when asking what is the right ball position for hybrids? Practising these small adjustments is essential.


Shoot Lower Scores (opens in new tab)

E-Learning Tutorial - Shoot Lower Scores!

Are you interested in making lasting improvements to your golf game? Shoot Lower Scores (opens in new tab) is an online course from Golf Monthly designed to help you find power in your swing and hole more putts as well as how to avoid falling foul of the more challenging rules of golf. Whether you want to brush up your knowledge or learn something new; this tutorial (opens in new tab) is perfect.

What is the correct ball position for a driver?

ball position with driver

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)

You want to be hitting up with the big stick, so you need the sternum further behind the ball in an ideal driver address position. With so little loft on the club, this is how you create the high launch/low spin combination that lies at the heart of impressive distance. Having the ball forward in your stance is crucial when it comes to how to hit a driver

So just a very tiny step - almost just a fanning out really - with the left foot then a nice big step with the right. This will set your body behind the ball and you should notice that your lead shoulder is above your trail one. This is good as it will help you find the angle of attack you're looking for and will help you avoid creating too much spin with your driver.

Chipping and putting

Our beginners guide to chipping covers the ball position for the basic chip shot. Again, this relates to your sternum and swing arc but it is important to say that this changes for different shots like the flop shot and is different for how to play bunker shots

Finally, when it comes to your putting technique, the ball should be set just a fraction ahead of the line of your sternum. What is also vitally important here is where the ball is in relation to your eyes - this can have a big impact on the line you start your putts on. Ideally you are looking for your eyes to be directly over the ball or a fraction inside. 

It is important to say this is a process that can be an invaluable part of your golf pre-shot routine. If you do it before every shot, it can really help your mindset as well as your swing. Hopefully this guide to the perfect ball position with every club will help you find better quality strikes, no matter what club you are holding.

Peter Finch
Top 50 Coach

Delivering online free lessons to golfers across the globe with a combined social following of almost one million people, Peter is one of the most recognisable PGA professionals in the game. 


Teaching philosophy:

I believe that golfers need to stop looking at other players and wishing they had 'that swing' and focus on trying to develop their own unique and trusted action. This comes from lessons based around enhancing their ability and understanding that perfection does not exist in golf. 


Advice for practice:

Don’t just go to a driving range and beat balls thinking you will improve. If you simply use the amount of balls hit and time spent as a measure of practice, you won’t progress as quickly as you might like. True improvement comes from making your practice as realistic to the golf course as possible - uneven lies, different targets, different flights. You will almost never, ever get a flat lie in golf and yet where do most people in the UK pour their practice time? A flat range mat with the same repeated technique. 


Most common problem:

A lack of attention to the club face and aim. Golfers should dedicate a large amount of practice time to gripping the club correctly and aiming it in harmony with their body.