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Ball position and Aim

One of the most common questions I get asked by a student during a golf lesson is “am I aiming at my target?”.Very often, my answer is “no”, but I very quickly add “and neither you should be!”. You may well be asking, why don’t you want your students aiming at their target? Well, I actually have 2 or 3 answers to this question, but today I’ll keep it to ball position (this is relevant for everyone who plays with a variable ball position (most players))The golf swing is a rounded movement and as such, at no point is the club head traveling in a straight line, neither on a vertical or horizontal plane. As such, the further back in the stance you play the ball, then the earlier in the circle and the more from the inside your swing path will be (to the right). The further forward the ball position is, then the later in the circle the ball will be struck and the more from the outside your swing path will be (to the left).THEREFORE, I believe, your aim should be more to the right with longer clubs (more forward ball position) and more left with your shorter irons (more back ball position).Exactly how much more to the right or left you aim will be dependant upon your own golf swing. A player with a strong ‘over the top’ transitional move, will be required to aim to the right of target with every club, much more with the long clubs and less with the short. Players with a transitional drop to the inside, will likely have to aim more to the left, but variable ball position will always mean that your aim should not be the same with every club in the bag.Even if you had a “text book” golf swing and you played with variable ball position, then your aim would have to change, or your ball direction and curve would change with every different ball position you play. Although we didn’t understand why he did it at the time, Ben Hogan varied his aim back in the 1950′s. He would aim his driver around 20 yards right and his short irons well to the left of target. This was all done to neutralise his ball flight and also his angle of attack – but that’s for another day!

Niall McGill

PGA Professional

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