Correct ball position plays a big role in keeping that chain reaction of the golf swing working. If you play the ball too far back in your stance, you’ll have a tendency to hit shots to the right of the target. Conversely, if the ball is too far forward, there is a chance that your shots will miss the target to the left.
Most professionals advocate playing the ball between your left foot and the middle of your stance, depending on the club. For example, the most popular ball position for the driver is just inside the heel of your front foot. This position allows you to hit the ball further forward in your stance, producing impact on a slight upswing, taking advantage of the loft and design of the club.
The suggested ball position for the remaining clubs progresses from left to right. Subsequently, the long irons are played a ball or so to the right of the driver’s position. Mid-irons are played about one or two balls to the right of the long irons, finishing with the short irons, which are played at about the middle of your stance.
The objective of each of these positions is to allow you to hit the ball at the lowest point of your swing, taking advantage of the club’s loft and allowing you to make crisp contact with the ball.
It’s also important to note that the objective for every full swing, not including bunker shots, is to hit the ball first. Your divot should always come after impact with the ball. This concept is sometimes not understood by many amateurs who try to scoop the ball, therefore negating the loft and sabotaging the intended design of the club.
Many PGA Tour professionals have their own theories on ball position. For example, rising star Anthony Kim is a tremendously talented player who plays shots in which the ball position is anywhere from his left heel to his right heel. Anthony usually bases his ball position on the club, trajectory and even the spin he wants to put on the ball.
Jack Nicklaus advocates a constant ball position, regardless of the club used. Jack suggests changing your stance, depending on the club being used. Tiger Woods follows a more traditional approach, using much of the traditional ball placement theory mentioned above.