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Instruction

Weekend Tip: Stand closer to the ball

Arnold Palmer has been quoted recently as saying, "My only problem is I'm standing too close to the ball after it lands." Or a variation: "I'm standing so close to the ball, I can hear it land."

All kidding aside, I've noticed in three recent instruction articles in Golf Digest that top teachers and players are advocating that it's better to stand too close to the ball at address than too far away. First, we hear from Golf Digest Teaching Professional Randy Smith, who writes in the November issue (on newsstands now, Bubba Watson on the cover):


Closer is better than farther
I've gotten loads of putting advice from my friend Ben Crenshaw over the years, but it was long-game advice I heard him give on a telecast that can help an amateur player through the bag: "It's possible to stand too close to the ball, but nobody ever does."

randy_smith_1_470.jpgrandy_smith_2_470.jpgWhen you set up close to the ball with a long club, the club goes back on a natural plane, and you will be more athletic and powerful. When you're too far away, you tend to manipulate the swing with your hands and arms and create an artificial plane.You pull the club inside then swing over the top--leading to a loss of posture and weak toe hits.

Then I noticed that Michael Breed, in the same issue, advocates you stand closer on your chips:

Crowd your chip shots
If your chipping is inconsistent, the fix could be as simple as standing closer to the ball. This will encourage you to swing the club more straight-back, straight-through, instead of on a rounded arc. A mental image that works great is to think about swinging the clubhead as if it were a Ferris wheel, straight up and down.

 



How close should you stand? The first time, get close enough so it feels a little uncomfortable, like you're crowding the ball. Then you know you're doing it about right.

Finally, look for Tom Watson's tip in the upcoming December issue (Webb Simpson on the cover). Here's part of what Tom says:

Don't reach for the ball
I rarely see anyone stand too close to the ball. In fact, I tend to agree with Byron Nelson and Johnny Miller, who've said you can't stand too close to it. To find your correct distance from the ball, get in your swing posture, and let your arms hang freely. Then bring your hands together. There's where you should grip every club in the bag.

Enough said. Hope this helps your game this weekend. See you on Monday with our Monday Swing Analysis.

-- Roger Schiffman, Managing Editor
Follow me on Twitter: @RogerSchiffman

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