Instruction

Ask the Top 100: How far away from the ball should I stand?

Hi TJ, What is a good way to make sure that I set up the same distance from the ball each time, and with the ball in the same place in my stance every time?  I think this would help my consistency greatly.Mitch K. Via email Toofar_2 Mitch, I have a hunch that you have a hunch.
You probably heard the story about the sarcastic teaching pro who told the short-hitting student that he was standing too close to the ball after he hit it.
If you’re like 90 percent of golfers, a better diagnosis is that you’re standing too far away from the ball before you hit it, like this guy at right. Reaching out for the ball may feel powerful but it isn't. For every 1 degree of hunch in your shoulders you lose 2 degrees of trunk rotation, and less coil translates to less distance.
So lose the hunch by getting closer to the ball. How close? Set up with your irons so that your hands are directly under your shoulders, and set up with the driver so that your hands are under your nose . This prescription can vary a little depending on your body build and special outstanding features -- for example Jim Furyk plays every thing under his nose -- but over time you’ll learn to settle in and won't have to think about it. Hey TJ,How do you actually aim at the target?  I think I line up properly and get the distance, I just don't seem to be able to aim in the right direction. Roger R. via email 7iron_3 Dear Aimless,You and the rest of the 38 million people [plus or minus 37.999 million] that read this page every week are going to be surprised at how easy it is to aim correctly every time.
Take a close look at your 7-iron. It is almost human in that it has a head, a toe, a face, a neck and a hot spot, but it has one feature that humans don’t have -- [here the background music rises] -- aiming lines.
OK, they aren’t real lines but the groves which run horizontal on the face form what is tantamount to two vertical lines. I call these the aiming lines. All you have to do is aim these lines at an intermediate target that’s on your target line about a foot or so in front of the ball. First you aim the clubface, then without moving it, take your stance. From aimless to automatic in one simple step. Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher TJ Tomasi, Ph.D., a Class A PGA professional, teaches at the Nantucket Golf Club in Massachusetts. You can learn more about TJ at www.tjtomasi.com

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