Instruction

Ball Position is Crucial

Most players don't pay enough attention to their ball position. And okay, I'll admit the topic is not necessarily glamorous. But if you want to see just how important ball position is to your short game, try this little experiment in your back yard:

  1. Address a ball as you normally would for a 20-yard pitch shot, in the middle of your stance.
  2. Without moving your feet, push the ball 12 inches toward your target.
  3. Still, without moving your feet, try to hit the ball at your target.
  4. Setup again as normal, then press the ball 12 inches away from your target along your target line and try to hit it.

Could you make contact with either ball? Could you feel how you had to use your hands and wrists, and how different your swing felt as compared to your normal swing? Did you feel like you could make a "good swing" from this setup?

Twelve inches is an exaggeration, but golfers often move the ball forward and back a few inches in their stance, up and down their target line, without thinking. Nothing looks different at address and they assume that they can still hit the ball solidly and cleanly-controlling the bottom of the swing's arc-no matter where the ball is in their stance.

Fat chance.

It's virtually impossible to do that without using the muscles in your hands, wrists and arms. And when those muscles get involved with your short game, maintaining a high-level of consistency and precision is hard. Even world class players.

The cold, hard truth is that we've studied thousands of mis-hit shots in Dave Pelz Scoring Game Schools and I can tell you unequivocally that more fat shots are caused by players positioning the ball too far forward than by making a poor swing. If the ball is anywhere in your stance other than where you intend to have your swing bottom out, you will be forced to make compensations that will sacrifice your consistency.

When pitching, play the ball in the center of your stance. If you want to hit a shot higher, use a wedge with more loft instead of positioning the ball too far forward in your stance. You'll hit the ball more-solidly, more often. To hit the ball a little lower, make a shorter swing with a less-lofted wedge.

Pay attention to your ball position and you will be surprised how much your pitching will immediately improve.

Do you have a question you'd like Dave Pelz to answer? E-mail him at [MAILTO "askpelz@golfonline.com" "askpelz@golfonline.com"]

Dave Pelz is the Technical and Short Game Consultant for GOLFONLINE and GOLF MAGAZINE. For more information on the Dave Pelz Scoring Game Schools and learning aids, go to pelzgolf.com or call 888-DAVE-PELZ.

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