Golfsmith's Fair-Way: Try Before You Buy, Low Price Guarantee, Custom Fitting, Bring It Back.
October Free Shipping
October Free Shipping
Golf Equipment Buyer's Guide  
Harvey Penick tips: Getting Into Position
 

Harvey's Quick Tip: Mistakes in grip and ball position are mistakes made before the swing that may ruin any grand plans you have for the shot.

 
Practicing proper ball position (right) allows golfers to consistently hit the ball solidly.

Harvey Penick always said, “Ball position is second in importance only behind the grip.” This fundamental rule is often overlooked in most game improvement programs, but ironically, it is normally the root cause of big problems such as hitting the ball fat and hitting the ball thin.

In fact, proper placement of the golf ball in relation to the stance enables golfers to consistently contact the golf ball first, then turf with the irons. Many professional players place the ball forward in their stance for all shots. Mr. Penick felt that a short iron played forward in the stance was only acceptable if the player had an extremely fast hip turn.

Most golfers learning this game would do better not to try to emulate professional golfers on ball position.

To solve the problem of ball position, players must first learn where to put the ball in their stance for each club. All shots for a standard flat lie are positioned somewhere between the left heel and the middle of the stance (for a right-handed golfer). The driver is played off the left heel and the wedges are played in the middle of the stance.

Correct Ball Position: Here’s a comparison of correct ball position (left to right) between a 9-iron, 6-iron, 3-iron and driver.

Ball position becomes easier to determine when various clubs like a driver, 3-iron, 6-iron and 9-iron are placed side by side (see photo right). Each ball is positioned with the width of a golf ball apart from each other. Again, the most common mistake we see during instruction at the Harvey Penick Golf Academy is the tendency to play the ball too far forward in the stance. When players are out of position, it causes them to get out of the swing. In other words, they compensate or make-up moves to correct the flaw.

The best way to practice and re-learn the correct ball position is to practice by placing clubs on the ground (see photo above). This drill eventually leads to players positioning the ball correctly every time. As a professional golf instructor, I like to see proper ball placement for each club from the first day players swing a club. Golfers who have never recognized correct ball position may have a tough time setting up every shot correctly at first, but it will pay off in the long run.

My final words of advice: Practice makes permanent, so practice right.

This tip can be found on Page 83 of Harvey Penick's Little Red Book

Penick's Basics:
Ball Position

As a professional golf instructor, I like to see proper ball placement for each club from the first day players swing a club. Golfers who have never recognized correct ball position may have a tough time setting up every shot correctly at first, but it will pay off in the long run.