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.


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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