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Top 3 Faults Caused By Standing Too Close To The Ball

Sometimes it’s the simplest things that cause the most problems in the golf swing. The mis-step of standing too close to the ball at address can lead to a whole host of swing problems. This is likely why this is one of the toughest games in the world to master. The act of standing too close to the ball can ultimately lead to one of these three common swing faults: shanks, over-the-top swing path and poor contact. In this article we’re going to explain how this mistake can lead to a host of problems, and why it’s so incredibly important to check your address position before each and every shot.

Fixing The Shanks

Alright, so this video below actually explains it best, but here’s a summary: Your arms need room to swing the club down to impact. If you’re standing too close to the ball, you’re reducing the amount of ‘room’ you have. This then causes one of two things – either your arms will come into impact in a more upright position (which we’ll go into more detail a bit later), or, your hands will push out from your body as you swing into impact. This move is what causes a bunch of heeled shots, and ultimately the inevitable shank. The simple fix to this fault is to stand further away from the ball, but you may find that your swing has grooved this “pushing-out” move. You’ll have to shock your swing out of it. Try this drill: First, address the ball in the correct position, but setup a tee about 1″ off your ball perpendicular to your target line. Your goal is to make a swing, hit the ball, and miss the tee. You will likely feel like you’re pulling your swing inside, but don’t worry, this is just because you’re so used to the pushing-out move. Hit 10-20 balls like this, and then address the ball normally and swing. You should see a big difference.

In the video below we go into more detail about where you should be positioned:

Fixing Over The Top

The next two faults, sort of go hand in hand. When you stand too close to the ball, your swing is immediately forced to be more upright. When this happens, keeping your swing path in-check as you come into impact becomes very difficult. Your ability to swing the club with lag and attack the ball from the inside also disappears. Ultimately you have no choice but to come over-the-top into ball. This move is often accompanied with an early wrists release, that robs you of power and the chance of solid contact. For this fault, we recommend the baseball swing drill, as it emphasizes the importance of your swing path into the ball. Without a ball, grab a club and swing it as if it were a baseball bat. This move lets you feel an extremely flat swing path, and should help ween you off your upright one. When you address the ball after performing this drill, really focus on getting yourself into the right posture as indicated by this video.

Inconsistent Contact

A poor swing path is often accompanied with poor ball contact. Your golf clubs are designed to lie at specific angle. If you lay your club’s sole flat on the ground, you should be able to address the ball without moving the club much. If you do have to move the club, or find that either the heel or toe of your club is in the air – you’re either not fitted for your clubs, or your posture needs some attention. Regardless, your swing path ultimately dictates your clubs approach to the ball. An upright swing path usually cause the heel to be above the ground as you approach impact, this then means that the toe of your club is hitting the ground first. As this happens, the toe of the club slows down, and the clubface opens at impact, and the result is most commonly a weak fade or slice. Depending on how much your push-out your swing from your body (previously discussed), you can also get heel-first or even thin contact. The best drill for this type of fault is to get a friend to check your address position, and see how your club lies – or better yet go to a fitting professional and get fitted for clubs. For those of you a little on the frugal side, addressing the ball in front of a mirror should give a bunch of feedback on your address position, and how your clubs are lieing.

You can see how gone unchecked, a simple fault can lead to a whole host of problems. And for many of us, we tend to focus too much on the end-result in attempts to fix the fault. For example, a common result of this fault is fade or slice, and many people out there will try and fix this by simply making a stronger grip, or closing their stance, but unfortunately the root of the problem remains. We hope these drills will help you rid your setup of this annoying, but common fault.

Give it a try!

The Golf Drill GuruTop 3 Faults Caused By Standing Too Close To The Ball

Comments

  1. Anthony

    Standing to close to the ball will not cause a shank. I think the exact opposite to what is in this post.

    The human body adjusts and moves dynamically. If the ball is positioned in more, you will instinctively bring your arms in closer to your body, clear your hips more – to give yourself room.
    Getting the ball to far away from you with out a corresponding increase in spine angle (needed if you put the ball out eg Moe Norman, Lee Trevino) can make golfers lunge at the ball and shank or heel the shot.

    Contrary to popular belief – Ben Hogan who had a flat-arms-close-to-the-body-type-swing stood CLOSE to the ball. It was only on a driver where he was not trying to take a divot where his hands where away 1.5 hands width away from his pants. For his short-irons his hands are practically brushing his pants.

    See in this youtube video right here (this is not my video, I just found it online): http://youtu.be/tgfccmQDD6U

    Many old pro’s addressed the ball on the hozel? Why because it makes them adjust and come from the inside. This is an “anti-shank move. ”

    Cheers,
    Anthony

  2. Luc

    Anthony, what you have said might be true for you but my experience is that standing too close to the ball does cause shanks and whole load of other gross shots. Everything in this article is correct, in my experience. When I force myself to stand what feels like much farther away from the ball I find I can actually swing the club freely. I’m no longer slashing at the ball but am swinging properly. I get an immediate increase of about 30 yards with my long irons. Standing too close to the ball is my number 1 mistake and everything written here has rung true for me.

  3. Brian

    I agree entirely with this article as well. I had been shanking for a few YEARS prior to this year. Very nearly quit the game. The last few months I somehow came out of it and had been hitting the ball straight but with no power at all. It was so ridiculous that I was hitting all my irons roughly the same distance, not compressing the ball whatsoever. I saw a video on youtube that outlined how to address the ball properly and I realized that I’d been standing way too close. Just got back from the range and I gained probably 30-40 yards on my irons and 60-70 yards on my driver. Couldn’t be happier right now.

  4. Roger Matthews

    i totally agree. I occasionally get the shanks and have devised my own drill of addressing the ball, extend the arms with club then place the club to the ground .This is where the ball should be.
    If the club/ball are too close to you when you swing to contact you automatically extend your arms and the club then makes contact with the hosel.
    That’s my method anyway.

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