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Lesson Tee

The Principle Of Ball Position

Jack keeps his hands in the same spot relative to his left leg -- you should, too

Nicklaus

Driver (left): Play the ball just inside the heel. 5-Iron (center) the stance is a touch narrower. Wedge (right): The hands are in the same place.

May 2010

NICKLAUS SAYS: From the time I was very young, my teacher Jack Grout tried to keep my mechanics extremely simple. "Nothing fancy," he would say. And that included ball position.

I try to play every shot with the ball opposite a point just inside my left heel. That is a pure fundamental for me. The width of my stance and the distance from the ball to my stance line is dictated by the length of the club.

It might appear that I play the ball progressively farther back in my stance for fairway woods, irons and wedges, but that is more a result of my stance becoming narrower.

I start with the clubface square to my target, and if I'm swinging properly, it will open going back then return to square at that ball position before closing.

Jack Nicklaus writes instruction articles only for Golf Digest.

FLICK SAYS: Jack plays all his clubs with the ball relatively in the same position. Notice how his hands are in exactly the same place in relation to his left leg, no matter the club. He is meticulous with this principle, and he often asks me to check it for him.

His ball position, slightly forward of standard, is very good, especially for someone like Jack who spent most of his career trying to eliminate the left side of the course. And that was also ideal for his more upright swing. But don't let it get too far forward, which can cause your shoulders to open too much. If you're trying to draw the ball, you might need to play it a little farther back. That encourages a swing more from the inside.

FLICK, a longtime Golf Digest Teaching Professional and PGA Golf Professional Hall of Famer, worked with hundreds of amateurs and tour players including Jack Nicklaus.

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