Since everyone spent last week perfecting their grip, today we will move into our address positionâ€¦.
Address to most people consists mainly of being square to their target line; this is of course a major factor, but not the only element of a sound address position. The other elements are foot spread, knee flex, posture, and the one that affects all other elements more than most people realize â€“ the distance you stand from the ball.
Since I believe this is the most important factor in developing a good address position, and thus hitting good golf shots we will begin here. Standing too far from the ball causes a number of things detrimental to good shot making. First, your weight moves out towards the toes, which creates poor balance. Second, youâ€™ll tend to stiffen your knees, which destroys good leg action. Finally your posture will be poor. You will almost always slump forward with the shoulders, rather than flexing at the knees.
The most recognizable signs of standing too far from the ball prior to swinging are; if both arms are rigid or if the butt end of the club is more than six or seven inches from your body. You are also too far from the ball if you cannot wiggle your toes at address, meaning you have too much weight on your toes. The fascinating and confounding thing about all of this is that most of the poor positions I just described â€œfeel good.â€
Most players have the tendency to spread the feet too wide, once again because of the false sense of strength and stability. I believe it best for most players to go with the tried and true measurement of the heels no further apart than the width of the shoulders. Should you depart from this I would only recommend going narrower, as being too wide severely restricts the proper use of the legs during the swing.
Assuming the correct foot spread, the ball should be played slightly ahead of center (to the left for a right handed golfer.) If you play the ball too far to the right, you will strike the ball with a descending blow, causing teed shots to be â€œskiedâ€ and balls played from the fairway to be hit â€œfatâ€. Too far left can be even worse. If you play the ball off the left instep or beyond, which is common among most golfers as they believe this will help the ball into the air, and you will hit too much on the upswing producing a very low flight and lack of force.
The knees should be flexed just enough to keep them from straightening during the swing. With a straight back you then bend at the waist until your club comes into contact with the ground, making sure that you remember how far you are away from the golf ball.
There you have itâ€¦ the proper elements of a sound address position. Next week we will work on getting into this position on the golf course making sure to emphasize our target line and the proper alignment of our body to allow us to produce solid well struck golf shots from our new address position.
Fairways and Greens!