How Far to Stand from the Golf Ball (What Is the Correct Distance?)
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Wouldn’t the game of golf be so much easier if we had an exact measurement for things? How about an exact angle for knee bend, correct stance width, exact spine angle, etc?
Unfortunately, golf is not like that.
Understanding how far to stand from the golf ball will take a bit more of an explanation than a single measurement. I’ll show you why distance to the golf ball matters, what you can do to make sure you are standing the proper distance, how to make sure you’re not too close to the ball, and how far to stand from the golf ball.
Why Does Distance From The Golf Ball Matter?
As a golf teaching professional, one of my favorite mistakes that golfers make is the distance they stand from the golf ball.
Because I can walk over to a person, spot it right away, push their hands down or up, adjust their feet, and then they hit a perfect shot. It almost feels like magic.
Having your body positioned the right distance to the golf ball can be a lot like magic, or a horror move if it’s not correct.
The distance you stand to the golf ball will impact things like:
- Swing path
- Ball flight (especially how high or low the shot is)
- Spin rates
This may seem like a simple concept, but it profoundly affects your entire swing and your ability to hit the golf shots you want to hit. Perfecting an address position and a setup is something that the best players in the game continue to work on.
Does How Far You Stand From The Golf Ball Change For Every Club?
The distance you stand from the golf ball varies slightly from one shot to the next. Every golf club in your bag (unless you are playing one-length irons) is a different length. So, how far away from the ball you are can impact your ball striking.
With the lengths varying considerably, the position of your feet when you set up is also going to vary.
The longer the club is, the further you will stand from the ball.
The length of the club and the physical characteristics of the golfer are the reasons why we can’t have a universal distance to stand from the golf ball. A golfer that is 5’2” and a golfer that is 6’1” will probably stand different distances from the ball.
This equation includes arm length, player height, knee flex, and club length.
Also Read: How To Measure Golf Club Length
How Far Should You Stand From The Golf Ball
Finding that perfect distance away from the golf ball takes a good amount of practice. If you only had one club in your bag, chances are you would get this down quite quickly.
The good news here is that once you understand the distance to the ball and what it should feel like, the rest is quite easy.
The driver is the longest golf club in the bag, about 44 to 45 inches for most golfers. Naturally, to hit a great drive, you will need to stand further from the ball than you do with your pitching wedge.
However, the mistake that most amateur players make is standing too far from the golf ball with their driver.
I encourage you to set up as if you were going to hit a drive. Check to make sure your knees are just slightly flexed.
Once you have that little bit of flex and your hands are positioned where you feel they should be, drop your club down to see if it hits your leg. If the club does not hit your leg, you are too far from the ball.
If the top of the club hits well up onto your upper thigh of the lead leg with the butt end of the grip, you are probably standing too close.
The goal is to be able to drop (or lower) the golf club and have it land just above the knee. This shows us that our arms are hanging where they should be, we are in a natural setup and position, and our weight has a chance to be balanced.
Chances are you are standing a little further from your driver than you should be, and that does make it difficult to get the right ball flight and certainly the proper balance.
Longer irons and even the hybrids are shorter than the driver so we are going to have to move in a bit.
If you have found a good position with your hands where the arms hang naturally down, and dropping the club allows it to fall just above the knee, all you will have to do is move closer to the ball.
In other words, you can keep the same position with your hands and simply move yourself closer to the golf ball.
This will help with consistency in the swing.
For long irons, be mindful that your hands have enough room to swing through impact. With this club being a little longer, you do not want to feel cramped as you come through the ball.
When you hit a 5, 6, or 7-iron, your ball position (distance from the middle of your stance) may not change. However, you must remember that your golf club is getting progressively longer (or shorter), and because of that, your distance from the ball should be changing.
The short irons are where you can get up close and personal with the golf ball. In fact, one of the reasons that I like short irons so much is that I feel more comfortable standing a little closer to the golf ball.
Again you will want to find that little bit of flex in the knee and then make sure the butt end of the club has room to drop to just above your knee.
Short irons are where I would spend a good bit of your time practicing and see if you can fine-tune this position to get to a comfortable place.
Remember that it’s not an exact science; if you are performing well and getting good results, go with it. The short game has a feel aspect that must be part of the equation.
The putter is where you will stand closest to the golf ball. Trust me on this one; there is absolutely no benefit to reaching for your golf ball when you are putting. To see the line properly and swing your putter on the proper line, you must have your eyes over the golf ball.
This applies to both a mallet and a blade style putter.
The best way to test this position is to stand as if you are ready to putt and drop a golf ball from your eyes. If your golf ball dropped from your eyes lands on the ball you are attempting to hit, you are in the right spot.
What Happens If You Stand Too Close To The Golf Ball
Here are a few signs to look for that may tell you that you are standing too close to the golf ball:
- Loss of power with a restricted range of motion
- Less balance in the golf swing
- The potential of hitting a shank
- Could create an inside swing path
- Inconsistency in shots
What Happens If You Stand Too Far From The Golf Ball
Here are a few signs to look for that may tell you that you are standing too far away from the golf ball:
- Loss of power because of poor balance and weight transfer
- Outside to in swing path, with a potential for a slice
- Difficult to hit straight shots
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a few of the most commonly asked questions about how far to stand from the golf ball.
How do you know if you are standing too close to a golf ball?
If you are standing too close to the golf ball, you may start to hit behind the ball. Your hands don’t have enough room to swing through the ball, and they get stuck in the turf.
How far do you bend over in golf swing?
Make sure that you are not bending over too far; you should feel a slight flex in your knees, nothing more than that. Bending too far down can lead to incorrect posture and cause you to lose power and total distance.
Will standing far from the golf ball get you more power?
Standing too far from the golf ball will not get you more power. In fact, you could have a harder time compressing the ball when you stand too far from it.
Standing too far or too close to the golf ball can make it difficult to play consistent golf. Practice how far to stand from the golf ball on the driving range. Put alignment sticks out, use tees, and even take some pictures and videos of your swing to ensure your distance from the golf ball is correct.
Even though there is no exact measurement for how far to stand from the ball, you will get comfortable at some point and start seeing a big difference in your ball striking.