The Keys to Consistency


Our final set-up factor is the location of the ball relative to the golfer's sternum, or swing center. I don't evaluate ball position in terms of inches forward or back in the stance because stance width changes from player to player. The Pro's ball position with a 5-iron is three inches ahead of the center of the sternum.

Why It's Important Positioning the ball correctly ensures that the clubface is square at impact.

SELF-TEST

Place one club along your target line and another at a right angle to it. Take your stance, straddling the second club and setting your sternum a few inches behind it. The correct 5-iron ball position is where the clubs meet (two inches up for a driver; two back for a wedge).

(In reality, the face goes from slightly open to square to slightly closed while the ball is compressed on it.) With a 5-iron, the ball should be three inches ahead of the sternum because the forward shift on the downswing moves the swing center forward. This three-inches-up position is where the face makes its split-second rotation from open to closed (left). And that's when you want to catch the ball.

Common Fault Improper ball position is a leading cause of the slice, which results from contact with an open clubface. Many golfers play the ball too far back, never giving the clubface a chance to square up by impact. They simply hit the ball prematurely, with the clubface still open, thereby imparting slice-producing sidespin on the ball.

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