Learn to measure proper distance from ball
By Kim Jeong-kyoo
To hit the ball firmly on a consistent basis your setup needs to satisfy certain basic requirements; one of the vital essentials is correct distance from the ball.
When the ball is not hit in the dead centre of the clubface, it is as well to check your distance from the ball first rather than make a helter-skelter attempt to find a solution in your in-swing movements or swing mechanics.
Standing too close to the ball or placing the bodyweight too much on the heels causes poor contact of the ball on the heel-side of the clubface; standing too far away from the ball or distributing bodyweight too much toward the toes results in bad contact of the ball on the toe-side of the clubface. Your body balances itself during the swing for equilibrium and leans forwards or backwards, thus pushing or pulling the clubhead outward or inward.
Similarly, standing too close to the ball at address robs you of the space between your hands and belly to swing your arms through, which forces you to swing the club back outside the ball-target line and swing down on a path that is from outside to in. You will produce pulls to the left or pull-slices depending on the clubface alignment through impact.
Similarly, standing too far away from the ball causes you to take the club away from the ball on a path that is overly inside the ball-target line, costing balance. You will produce pushes to the right or push-hooks depending on the clubface position in relation to its path.
In a nutshell, when your swing does not go on track, you'd better check first, your grip apart, how far you are standing from the ball.
An easy method of measuring the proper distance from the ball is to grip normally and stand erect and relaxed with the club extended straight out in front of you at a comfortable arms length, the shaft being horizontal to the ground. Allow your arms to hang straight down naturally from your shoulders with the upper parts of your arms pressed comfortably to the sides of your chest. Getting your arms to be separated from the chest causes you to stand too far away from the ball.
Now, without curving your back or flexing your knees, lean over from your hips until the sole of the club rests on the ground. Also essential here is to stick your bottom out behind your heels. Then, without dropping your hands, flex your knees just enough so your shinbone leans a little forward toward the ball. Try to feel your chest is almost perpendicular to the ground as it would be when you are walking on the fairway.
You are now measuring the proper distance from the ball regardless of which club you are using.
However, to further ensure that you are standing at the correct distance from the ball you need to have a definite sensation that your left arm and the club are hanging down comfortably from your left shoulder.
Arching your wrists upward causes you to stand too close to the ball, resulting in slice. Cocking your wrists upward too much allows you to stand too far away from the ball, bringing about hook.
If you are going to make a mistake, it's better to cock your wrists a tad upward. However, be sure that your wrists are as straight as they are when your arms are hanging down naturally from the shoulders with the top of your left shoulder, left arm and the clubshaft forming a straight line. This is particularly true of golfers who set up in an upright posture.
Also critical to setting up with a proper distance is to place your bodyweight in the proper fashion. Depending on where to place your bodyweight you can stand too far from or too close to the ball. Placing the majority of your bodyweight back on your heels causes you to stand too close to the ball and keeping your bodyweight mostly on the toes causes you to stand too far away from the ball. For all normal full shots it needs to be on the inside of the balls of your feet.
Measuring an improper distance from the ball makes it a terrible struggle to whack the ball firmly in the middle of the clubface. For future use remember your distance from the ball when it is struck well on the sweetspot of the clubface.