The Physics of Hitting it Straight

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Greetings Golfers,

Hope you are enjoying the launch of blue skies golf.  Here in the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island, we are relieved to be out of the rain and into some great golfing days over the last week.  As a result, Jody Jackson Golf is busy working with enthusiastic golfers, on route to experiencing greater JOY in their game.

Now, one of the all time hot topics on the teaching tee is “HOW DO I HIT IT STRAIGHT?“.  Over the years, I have heard many students complain about their lack of consistency, in that sometimes it will go left, other times it will go right, etc. etc.  I understand that this can be very frustrating, your CONFIDENCE barometer reads low and when you set-up over the ball,  you are not sure what direction it will go!  I get it.  I have been there.  The GOOD NEWS… it may be a very simple correction of one element of your PRE-SWING fundamentals:  BALL POSITION.

Now, I know what you are thinking…PHYSICS of hitting it straight…. simple???  Well, I hope I can explain this concept of correct ball position, for varying lengths of clubs, in the most basic of physics possible, here it goes.

The difference in length between your longest club in the bag – your DRIVER (44-45 inches) and your shortest club in the bag – LOB or SAND WEDGE (34-35 inches) is 9-10 inches. When I did a measurement of the difference in distance (inches) between a MIDDLE BALL POSITION (for wedges to 7 iron) and a FORWARD BALL POSITION (for driver) it was 9-10 inches!!!  Yes, an epiphany of simplicity indeed!  You see, the longer the club, the more forward (toward the target) the ball must be in your stance, to accommodate for the extra shaft length.  Check out the pictures below and note that the red line indicates ball positition:

DRIVER: Ball position is FORWARD, generally off the instep of target-side foot

LONG IRONS (6,5,4,3) and HYBRIDS: Ball position is FORWARD OF MIDDLE (between middle and forward)

WEDGE: Ball Position is in the MIDDLE of the stance.

The bottom line … respectful of the applicable BALL FLIGHT LAW… in order to hit the ball straight the club must be square (at a 90 degree angle) to the target line at impact (note: with an in-to-in path… another topic).  The PRE-SWING FUNDAMENTAL to support this is a CORRECT BALL POSITION for the club you are hitting.

General Guideline for Correct Ball Position:

Wedges – 7 iron =  IN THE MIDDLE (even between your two feet)

6 iron – hybrids =  FORWARD OF MIDDLE (between middle and forward)

Fairway Woods and Driver = FORWARD (off the instep of your target-side foot

So, time for a check-up on your Pre-Swing Fundamental of BALL POSITION.  HINT:  You may want to use a mirror or have a friend provide feedback on your perceived ball position.  For example, you may think you have it in the middle of your stance, but a little reflection may go a long way to improving your direction.

So, there you have it.  Simple, eh?  Well … this is the first step anyway, to hitting it straight!  Have FUN : )

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