Walking around your local golf course for a few hours and observing the swings of various golfers will confirm one thing – they have very little in common.
Golfers come in all shapes and sizes, and so do their swings, but the lower handicappers rely on repetition to take on the course; repetition in set up, swing, and even follow-through. So, how close should you stand from the golf ball?
To know how close you should stand from the golf ball, you should place your club behind the ball and position your feet with a slight knee flex. Then take the club’s grip and lower it onto your leading leg (left leg for a right-handed golfer) so it rests a couple of inches above your knee cap.
As it can not be quantified how close you stand from the golf ball as golf clubs are different lengths, if you follow the above setup, you can be confident that you are standing at the correct distance from your golf ball.
All golfers are well aware that the one place you do not experiment with your swing is on the golf course, but we see it happening every day, and I confess to playing my guilty part in this travesty.
All major changes – and that’s most aspects of golf, as even a seemingly small adjustment can have huge ramifications – should be attempted on the driving range, at least at first.
So, if you want to know more about how far from the golf ball you should stand, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s tee off!
How Does Your Distance From The Ball Affect Your Swing?
Standing Too Close To The Golf Ball
When you are too close to the ball at address, you may feel cramped or feel that you are too upright. You are correct in both beliefs: Your hands will also be too close to your body. Your swing will be hampered by shoulders unable to turn fluidly, and the club will go high on take-away, possibly chopping down as it descends. Likely result? Slice!
See also: Golf Swing Checklist For Beginners
Standing Too Far From The Golf Ball
If you’re stretching out to get the club behind the ball, your back is not in a relaxed position, and standing or bobbing in mid-swing is not uncommon. Changing your posture even slightly while the club is swinging makes it difficult to generate power or strike the ball cleanly. Incorrect rotation will not allow accuracy, and the ball might go anywhere.
Generally, golfers stand too far, rather than too close, to the ball. According to golfing legend Tom Watson, he has seldom seen a golfer standing too close, but many stand just a little too far from the ball.
How Near To The Golf Ball Should You Stand?
The distance between the golfer and the ball is not measured in units of distance (inches, centimeters, etc.) as it changes, depending on several possible variables, including club length, lie of the ball, slope the ball is on, and others. Good posture in the shot setup is the key to gauging the golfer to ball distance accurately. It’s not measured but felt.
Good Posture Is Vital In Gauging Golfer To Ball Distance
Once your posture is correct when facing the ball, you will almost always be the correct distance from the ball.
- Straight Back – This is very different from an arched back. Stand straight upright, and tilt forward at the waist – your back is now in the correct position (prevailing back injuries aside). The rotation required in the swing is now possible.
- Unlock Your Knees – Having your knees slightly bent will give you a realistic chance of striking the ball cleanly, provided the rest of your swing is in sync. Locked knees will guarantee less distance and far poorer shots. Note that your weight should be over the balls of your feet, never over your heels.
- Allow your arms to hang comfortably – Don’t bend your arms but ensure you have the club’s shaft resting about 1-2 inches (or a couple of fingers) above your knee cap at address. Ensure your club is behind the ball at this point, and you are now the correct distance from the ball. Relax and swing smoothly.
It’s worth noting that you don’t need to stand the same distance as any other golfer – just stand the distance that works for you.
Learn How Close You Should Stand From The Golf Ball In This Video…
Do All Clubs Require The Same Stance?
There are some notable exceptions, not the least of which is the flop-shot, which can be terrible to watch if you send it to the dentist, but a thing of pure beauty when it rises and drops gently beside the pin. For this, you would be closer to the ball and more hunched over with the face of the club, wide open.
Your stance would also be slightly open, and the only thing consistent with your normal stance would be your knees, which would always be bent.
However, you cannot always have the same stance or swing, even with the same club. No two rounds of this beautiful game are ever the same, and different obstacles, hazards, grass heights, etc., will all require that you change your stance to accommodate the shot.
You might shift position to stand a little closer to the ball if it lies below your feet or further away if it’s on a slight mound.
You might also use the distance between your feet and the ball to play a specific shot – standing closer encourages a fade, and standing further may assist a draw, always presuming the shot is well struck, naturally.
Does Length Of Club Influence How Far You Should Stand From The Golf Ball?
The length of your golf club certainly does influence how far you should stand from the ball.
Your driver is substantially the longest club in your bag, and the lob (or sand) wedge the shortest. It stands to reason that the longest club requires that you stand furthest from the ball, but the correct swing position is still reached by going through the same pre-swing setup routine I detailed earlier.
Once you get your standard distance correct for each club, you will feel more confident and adjust the distance more easily in unexpected situations.
If you’re unsure what length irons to use, check out this easy guide, How Long Should My Irons Be?
Let’s Wrap This Up!
You cannot measure the distance from your feet to the golf ball in units, as the distance changes, depending on lie, position, type of shot planned, and more. You will be nicely balanced once you get your back straight, your knees flexed, and the club’s shaft aimed just above your leading knee cap.
You can now move forward to the swing portion, confident that the setup is correct.