The last golf blog was about the grip. Now, I am going to discuss addressing the ball. There is a little more to it, than what Ed Norton told Ralph on the Honeymooners, when he said “Hellooo Ball”. However, there’s not quite as much to it, as some people would like you to believe. There are some basic principals to follow, but when it comes to how you stand up to ball, there are lots of personal preferences you can apply. A lot of this will be dictated by how you hit the ball, and in what direction the ball is going. Some of what you are going to do will be dictated on how you want to hit the ball, also. It’s mostly what you do, before you take your swing, that will dictate how successful you will be, with the upcoming shot. So I will look at the address position in two sections. The basic principles, or things that you must to do, in order to hit the ball solidly, and in the direction you want it to go. Then in the second section I will look at parts of the address position that you can experiment with, that will suit your swing better.
My favorite phrase for addressing the ball, is you must be comfortable, and at ease when standing up to the ball. You do not want to stand too far away from the ball, but on the other hand, you do not want to feel you are crowding the ball either. Since standing too far away is by far the most common problem, I would suggest trying to crowd the ball, and then backing off from the ball, until you feel that you are comfortable. Your arms should hang loosely down with your left arm or lead arm fairly straight but not rigid. The right arm will be folded slightly and fairly close to your right side, if not even slightly brushing the right side. You will have to bend over at the hips to get down to ball, and your knees will have to have some flex in them, and not feel locked. The most important part of addressing the ball, is how you have your weight distributed, over your feet. Because you are bent over at the hips, the tendency is to feel the weight head toward the toes. You must avoid this at all cost. In my view the best way to distribute your weight is to feel that it is dispersed evenly under your entire foot, and you should be able to wiggle your toes. Some people like to say to have the weight over the arches, but the arch of the foot is not on the ground technically, and I do not like getting the weight too far back over heels, either. So, feel like your weight is distributed evenly over your feet, and this is the best way to maintain balance during the golf swing, which is one of the most important factors when swinging a golf club. You must make sure you are aiming correctly at this point. The easiest way to do this is too pick out a spot in front of the ball, in the direction you want the ball to go, and aim the club at that. Then adjust your body into the correct address position. The final thing you must do, is to keep moving and stay relaxed. I like to picture the baseball player, when he is batting. While he is waiting for the pitch, he is always moving and fidgeting. He is never just standing still, and that is what the golfer needs to do. You can not start smoothly from a static position.
Now that the basics are out of the way, there are three things that you can experiment with when addressing the ball. Where to position the ball in relationship to your body. Your probably all right to place the ball anywhere from your left toe, to approximately the middle of your stance. An easy way to think about it, is to not go to the right of your nose. Moving the ball back and forth between your left toe and nose can help you make more solid contact with ball. This can help you if you are hitting shots fat or thin. It can also help if you think you are hitting the ball too low or too high. No matter what the problem, move the ball around, and you may stumble on the answer. The only time you want to move the ball closer to your right foot, is if you are trying to hit a very low ball into the wind. Another place you can experiment, is how wide you make your stance. Again experiment with various widths for various shots and you may find some answers to poor shot. I am not an advocate of starting with the widest stance for the driver, and getting your feet closer together for the higher number clubs. Do not get locked into that process. Try different widths for different clubs, until you find what works best for you. Remember, we want results here, not predetermined widths for certain clubs. Finally you can experiment whether or not you want your stance square, open, or closed. Again do not get locked into preconceived ideas about closing your stance for a draw, and opening your stance for a fade. Hogan faded the ball with a closed stance for the driver. There may be some technical aspect of your swing, that you could care less about, that may allow you to hit straighter shots, from open or closed stances. You will never find out, unless you try to hit the ball from various stances. Even though the swing is not the thing, I will discuss the swing in the next golf blog. Meanwhile, when it comes to addressing the ball, go crazy man go crazy.