Golf is a fickle game that can frustrate even the best of players. What keeps people playing is those good shots and low rounds that seemingly come out of the blue. One of the main issues that amateur players have is that their long game is too inconsistent. Sometimes they hit the ball thin, other times slicing it or hooking it without any apparent pattern. Often the main culprit for this type of inconsistency is ball position.
The position of the ball is a powerful tool for anyone trying to get more consistency into their game or to hit a variety of different types of shots without having to tweak your actual swing. All it takes is moving the ball to a different spot in your stance and you are good to go. Here are a few different ways that the ball position will change the shot that you hit.
Hitting lower shots
If you are under some trees or facing into a stiff wind, keep your shot trajectory as low as possible. High shots into the wind hold the ball up. It will not travel very far and it will get blown off direction more easily.
By playing the ball further back in your stance (approximately one to two inches behind the center of your stance) and limiting your swing length, you will be able to hit a low punchy shot. You need to also ensure that your follow through is restricted. When you follow through fully you are going to create excess spin on the ball, causing it to rise up into the air.
Hitting high shots
If you need to hit the ball high over a hazard or you are looking to maximize the amount of extra distance your shot gets thanks to a tailwind, you need to move the ball further up in your stance than usual.
Open the face of your club ever so slightly and have the ball placed an inch or two further in your stance than usual. This allows you to get a sharp cutting angle into the ball when striking it, maximizing the amount of spin administered and thus causing the ball to rise high into the air.
Drawing the ball
If you wish to draw the ball from right to left (for right-handers), instead of tweaking the way you swing the club, simply change the position of your ball and feet position. Therefore, you can use your normal swing for all of these shots, but the tweak in your positioning will allow you to draw the ball.
This is useful if you wish to avoid certain hazards or cut around corners. You want to have the ball positioned slightly further back in your stance than usual, typically in the center of your stance for irons and slightly forward for woods.
You want to change your foot position so that your feet are lined up slightly right of your target while the club face is directed towards the target itself. This ball and foot position will cause your shot to have a draw because the face of the club is not facing as far to the right as your feet are.
Fading the ball
If you are trying to fade the ball from left to right, you are going to have to position the ball more forward in your stance than normal. You want to point the club face directly towards your target and have your feet lined slightly left. This will promote an out-to-in swing path when hitting the ball as you normally would but in this tweaked stance.
Having the ball positioned in an advanced place, you are going to ensure that at impact you are cutting across the ball at the right angle to generate a nice fade. If you over exaggerate any of these variables you could end up slicing the ball. A fade should gently float from left to right whereas a slice will aggressively move from left to right and too far past your target.
— Andrew O’Malley