It's vital to get the basics right to make the game as easy as possible. In the video and article below, PGA pro Neil Plimmer looks at how to address a golf ball so you have a solid base to swing from.
Ball position first - the most important point to make here is that you need to be consistent. All too often I see amateurs on the golf course completely changing their ball position for almost every shot, and for no apparent reason.
The only way to find a repetitive swing that delivers predictable results is to ensure you are consistent with the basics.
Naturally, the ball position is slightly different depending on the club. For a short iron, place the ball in the middle of your stance.
For a long iron, it should sit slightly forward of centre, and then for a wood, the ball should sit more in line with the left heel. Following this simple principle will help you find the ideal angle of attack for a good strike.
Posture & knee flex
It’s imperative that your address position is athletic, allowing you to make a powerful but controlled movement.
Your posture and the amount of knee flex you employ can have a huge impact on the swing that follows.
A great way to check both of these factors is to test how your arms hang at address. Take your normal set-up and then release your right hand from the club.
It should still hang down in line with the butt end of the club. Notice how much space there is between my hand and my thigh in the main image.
If your right hand is too close to your thigh, or too far away, you’ll find the problem lies with either your posture or your knee flex, or possibly both, so keep a close eye on these factors.
The width of your stance is crucial, as it should do two contrasting things. Firstly, your stance should be wide enough to provide a stable platform from which to make an athletic swing.
However, it shouldn’t be so wide that you find it hard to transfer your weight through the swing. The best way to check/set the perfect stance width is to find your hip range.
To do this, walk at a normal pace and then after a few strides stop as soon as your front foot hits the ground.
Now turn 90 degrees as the sequence illustrates here. This is your perfect stance width. Alternatively, find out what is too wide and what is too narrow. Hit shots from these positions and then you’ll be able to feel the correct stance width.
Perfecting the basics
I’m a big believer that in order to improve, your practice regime needs to be closer to your on-course experience.
I don’t like to see my pupils lay shafts on the ground and hit ball after ball to the same target. Instead, I think it’s much more beneficial to change targets and, better still, clubs between every shot.
Run through your pre-shot checks before each ball to make sure the keys we’ve discussed here are in place. This is a far more effective way of grooving the fundamentals you’ll need for a better golf game.
Tom Clarke joined Golf Monthly as a sub editor in 2009 being promoted to content editor in 2012 and then senior content editor in 2014, before becoming Sports Digital Editor for the Sport Vertical within Future in 2022. Tom currently looks after all the digital products that Golf Monthly produce including Strategy and Content Planning for the website and social media - Tom also assists the Cycling, Football, Rugby and Marine titles at Future. Tom plays off 16 and lists Augusta National (name drop), Old Head and Le Touessrok as the favourite courses he has played. Tom is an avid viewer of all golf content with a particularly in depth knowledge of the pro tour.
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