Golf Ball Position: Correct Stance From Driver to Putter

Golf Ball Position

If you want to play better golf, master your setup. 

The setup is the most important part of the game. Not your tempo, backswing, or downswing. Sure, those play a pivotal role, but they are not as important as setup.

It’s why even the best players in the world work on it regularly. They know that if your setup is wrong at address, it’s nearly impossible to hit it consistently well. 

One of the biggest parts of the setup is your golf ball position. Similar to the rest of your setup, if this is wrong, your ball striking will suffer. 

Here’s why… 

Golf Ball Position

So why is ball position so significant to a great golf swing? 

Because if the ball isn’t positioned properly in your stance, you won’t “bottom out” at the right spot during impact. To make consistent contact with any club, the ball needs to be in the right position for the club you’re hitting. Otherwise, even a perfect swing with perfect tempo won’t get rewarded. 

Here is the correct position for each type of shot so you can become a more consistent ball striker.

Ball Position With Driver and Fairway Woods

Let’s start with everyone’s favorite club in the bag – the driver. 

This ball position is unique as you only hit the driver off a tee, not off the turf. Thus, you need to make some adjustment to find the sweet spot and get the most distance from your longest club in the bag. 

The correct ball position with your driver is off your front heel. 

If it’s further back in your stance, it’s easy to get steep and produce the dreaded pop-up shot. If it’s too far forward, you will have plenty of timing and accuracy issues too. 

Having the ball off your left heel at address will allow you to hit up on it at impact for maximum distance. 

Fairway woods are a bit different, though. A good rule of thumb is to have your fairway woods off the logo on your shirt (which is normally the left chest piece). This is about two ball lengths from your left heel. 

One of the biggest mistakes that so many golfers make is they put the ball too far forward with fairway woods (especially if they’re hitting it from the turf). The common thinking is that it will help you get the ball airborne, when in reality, the opposite is true.

When the ball is too far forward, you are more likely to hit up on it, causing a thin or top shot. Instead, you need to hit down on it to create a very shallow divot. If you need a good example of this, just watch Henrik Stenson, who is basically the Terminator with a 3-wood in his hands. 

Golf Ball Position With Irons

Once you dial in your woods, let’s go into irons. In general, you want your irons in the middle to middle front of your stance.

The longer the iron, the more you want the ball positioned forward in your stance. For example, your 5 iron should be front middle, while your 8-iron should be closer to the middle of your stance.

This ball position will help you hit down and through the golf ball, creating the perfect divot. In very few circumstances do you want the ball off your front or back foot with irons. Keep them in the center to front-center area for optimal contact. 

Ball Position With Wedges

Wedges are a little different. With wedges, you want to hit down on them even more than irons so that you can get backspin that we all love. 

To make great contact with wedges, you want them in the middle of your stance (not the back). The only time to adjust the ball position further back is if you’re hitting a knockdown shot. 

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Ball Position With Putter  

Let’s not forget about your putter, either. While everyone has their own unique variation of putting, ball position still plays a role. 

In general, you want the ball position in the front-middle of your stance with a putter. This will help you make consistent contact and get the ball rolling on line.

If it’s too far forward, you’ll hit up on and likely leave the put short as you’re missing the sweet spot. If it’s too far back in your stance, you’ll likely hit down on it and cause it to skip as it comes off the face. This can result in putts missing short and hitting more obstacles as it’s bouncing off the putter face. 

Other Ball Positions 

Now that we’ve covered the main shots, let’s talk about a few specialty shots that you need in your bag.

  • Punch shot: If you need to keep it low, so many players think they need the ball positioned off the back foot. When in reality, this will make you get steep and usually lead to poor contact as well. Instead, if you need to keep it low, put it in the middle of your stance and take a less than full backswing and follow through. 
  • Bunker shot: If you struggle hitting from the sand, your ball position might be to blame. In the bunker, make sure to have the ball front-center of your stance for most shots. If it’s on an uphill lie, move it slightly forward. If it’s a downhill lie, move it to the middle of your stance to adjust for the slope. 
  • High shot: If you need to launch a shot high over a tree, move the ball up in your stance. Then, make sure your weight is 70/30 on your lead leg to hit down on it, thus causing it to launch higher. Don’t forget to have plenty of speed too! 

Wrapping Up

Having the right ball position is key to becoming a better ball striker with any club in the bag. From driver to putter, your golf ball position is vital in executing the shot the way you want too.

Every time you’re on the range, make it a priority to emphasize ball position above all else. This is especially true if you’re in a slump and aren’t sure what to do next. When this happens, look at the setup and ball position first! 

The good news is that you can tinker with different ball positions on the range and putting green. 

Do you regularly check your setup during practice sessions, including ball position? 

Let us know in the comments below! 

Michael Leonard

Michael Leonard

Michael Leonard is a full-time writer, author, creator of Wicked Smart Golf and +1 handicap amateur golfer. He left his corporate, national sales career in 2017 to pursue entrepreneurship and professional golf; since then, he’s competed in 160+ tournament days and went to Q-school in 2019.

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