Ball position plays an important role in the quest for consistent golf. Incorrect ball position can and usually does affect both the position of the body at address and the swing.
Of course these two things are so closely related that rarely does a golfer stand to the ball poorly and then swing well. Since ball position is a subtle part of the address position it is best for the beginning or intermediate golfer to have only two positions.
One for iron play and one for tee shots. For the irons the ball should be played slightly forward of center.
This position encourages the correct descending and forward striking motion of the body and club through impact.
Since the ball is off the ground for tee shots the swing is shallower and less descending through impact.
To encourage this level swing the ball should be played a little farther forward in the stance to a position inside the left heel (not necessarily at the left heel but an inch or so inside).
This can be achieved in two ways, simply maintain the width of the stance and move the ball an inch or two forward (further left) or, widen the stance by moving the right foot to the right an inch or two. Both of these adjustments have the effect of moving the ball to the correct position for tee shots.
The more advanced player has many ball positions for different clubs and different types of shots. The reason for not recommending this for the beginning player is that the beginner has yet to develop the skill required to make such subtle adjustments.
At the start position the shaft for the tee shots and middle irons should be straight up and down (as pictured). For the short irons the shaft may tilt slightly to the left.
Terry Gingell is the PGA Director of Instruction at Eagle Valley Golf Courses. He's now taking registration for junior golf program and adult group lessons. For more information call Terry, 690-7970.