Are You Standing Too Close to the Golf Ball? Tips to Improve Your Swing

Colin McCarthy

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standing too close to golf ball

Mastering the golf swing starts with the right setup, and knowing how far to stand from the golf ball is crucial. Many amateur golfers struggle with this fundamental aspect, impacting their ball striking consistency.

Standing too close to the ball can lead to a steep backswing, causing a host of swing faults and frustrating fat shots.

When a golfer stands too close, they often lean back to create room, disrupting balance and weight distribution. Conversely, standing too far away flattens the swing, making it difficult to maintain control.

Finding the perfect distance ensures that the weight stays centered, enhancing stability and precision. Understanding this key element can significantly improve overall performance on the course.

The Impact of Standing Too Close to the Golf Ball

Standing too close to the golf ball can have a significant impact on your game in several ways:

Common Swing Flaws

Standing too close to the golf ball can lead to common swing flaws such as shanking, where the hosel strikes the ball, causing it to veer sharply right for right-handed golfers. This reduces accuracy and distance.

An overly close stance also results in an open clubface and improper swing path, restricting arm movement and forcing a more upright arm position. These adjustments hinder optimal swing mechanics, leading to inconsistent shots.

Impact on Shot Accuracy

Shot accuracy diminishes when standing too close to the ball because the constrained space forces an unnatural swing path, resulting in an open clubface at impact, increasing the probability of mis-hits and slices.

This setup also reduces the power and control needed for precise shots. To improve accuracy, maintain enough distance between you and the ball to allow for a full, balanced swing.

Adjusting Your Stance

Adjusting your stance in golf is crucial for achieving consistent and effective shots. Here’s how you can do it:

Finding the Right Distance

Determining the right distance from the ball is crucial for enhancing golf swing accuracy and power. Golfers often set the clubhead behind the ball and rest it against the left thigh to maintain consistent distance and encourage a natural swing path.

Standing too close can lead to hitting the ball with the club’s heel, causing less distance and veering shots, while standing too far can flatten the swing, resulting in hooks and pulls.

Marking the back of the ball with a sharpie or lipstick helps identify clubface contact points and make stance adjustments accordingly.

Correct Posture for Effective Swings

Maintaining correct posture is essential for effective swings in golf. Golfers should adopt a balanced stance with their feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, and spine straight by bending at the hips.

Inadequate posture, such as excessive knee bending or hunching forward, can lead to loss of balance and ineffective swings. Practicing proper posture builds muscle memory, leading to consistent, powerful swings.

By combining proper distance and posture, golfers can significantly improve their shot accuracy and power, enhancing their overall performance on the course.

What Happens if You Stand Too Close to the Golf Ball?

Standing too close to the golf ball can lead to various issues in your swing and overall performance:


Standing too close to the golf ball often causes shanks. When the hands are too close to the body, there’s limited room for the swing. This setup usually results in contact with the hosel, creating shanked shots.

Players frequently notice this mishit when hitting right next to the hosel despite centering the ball on the clubface.


Slices also occur when standing too close. A cramped swing path often forces an outside-to-inside swing, causing the ball to curve right (for right-handed players).

This misalignment, particularly with drivers, leads to less control and more pronounced slices, disrupting the intended shot path.

Heel Shots

Heel shots, where the ball strikes the heel of the club, are common when standing too close. In these instances, the swing lacks proper extension. Golfers typically observe this through off-center hits marked by poor contact and erratic ball flight.

Heel shots result in reduced shot accuracy and inconsistent performance.

Reduced Distance

Proximity to the ball also diminishes distance. A restricted swing path does not harness the full power potential, leading to weaker shots. Golfers report shorter distances with clubs like 9-irons and hybrids when standing too close.

Consequently, achieving desired yardage becomes more challenging, impacting overall game strategy.

Ideal Positioning Tips

To achieve an ideal golf setup and positioning:

Stance Width and Ball Position

A shoulder-width stance, typically 12 to 18 inches between the heels, is ideal for balance and stability, though some may prefer different widths for mobility or stability.

The ball’s position varies with the club used: centrally for shorter irons and closer to the leading foot for longer clubs, ensuring correct clubface impact and minimizing mishits like shanks and slices.

Alignment and Body Angles

Proper alignment involves setting up square to the target line, with shoulders, hips, and feet parallel to it, preventing an outside-to-inside swing path that causes slices. Aligning your body correctly reduces the likelihood of off-target shots and enhances directional control.

Additionally, maintaining a slight spine tilt away from the target helps deliver the clubhead squarely and with power. Ensure your knees are slightly flexed to provide a solid base, promoting fluidity in your swing and reducing the risk of injury.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do pros stand so close to the ball?

Professional golfers often stand closer to the ball to encourage more shoulder and torso tilt, allowing them to use their lower body more effectively during the swing.

What is fatting a golf ball?

Fatting a golf ball means hitting the ground before the ball, causing grass and dirt to come between the club and the ball, which results in a loss of distance.

Can a poor grip cause a shank?

Yes, a poor grip, especially one that’s too weak, can cause the clubface to open during the swing, which often leads to a shank.

Does standing too close to the ball cause fat shots?

Yes, standing too close to the ball can make it difficult to rotate through impact with speed, often resulting in fat shots where the club hits the ground before the ball.

What happens if you are too close to the ball?

Standing too close to the ball can cause the club to move away on the outside, potentially throwing off your swing path and increasing the risk of shanks.


Mastering the right distance from the golf ball is essential for any golfer aiming to improve their game. By ensuring proper alignment and body angles, players can enhance their shot accuracy and power while minimizing the risk of common mishits and injuries.

Incorporating these positioning tips into regular practice will undoubtedly lead to more consistent and effective swings on the course.

Remember, the foundation of a great golf shot starts with where you stand. To find the optimal stance, consider using alignment rods or a coach to assess and adjust your position.

Consistently evaluating your distance from the ball can significantly impact your overall performance. Always prioritize comfort and balance, as too close or too far can cause strain and limit swing fluidity.

Additionally, watch professional golfers for reference and fine-tune your stance over time.

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Colin McCarthy

Golf is about mastering your misses and learning from them. I seek answers on the how and why of the golf swing, gaining experience even when answers elude me. With over 11,000 hours of teaching and a hunger for learning, I welcome any questions. My goal is to introduce golf to as many as possible, simplifying the game for all to enjoy. Passionate, eager, and ambitious, I'm here to teach, listen, and learn. LinkedIn

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