Whenever I play with friends who are at the higher handicap range, only one aspect of their game remains constant; their ball position changes all over the place.
Once you’ve tackled learning the basics like the golf stance and club position during the setup, you’ve earned the right to focus on nitty-gritty topics like proper ball positioning which establishes the rest of the golf setup.
Our breakdown will explain the correct ball positioning for each type of golf club as well as how to make your ball position control your shot’s height for you! We’ve provided the golf ball position chart for each golf club in your bag – wedges, irons, woods, and driver. You need to get this right to play good golf.
Table of Contents
Ball Position Basics With Ball Chart
Ideal ball position for your wedges, irons, woods, and driver changes since each club category progresses in length and your stance will gradually widen as clubs get longer (making the ideal point of contact differ club-to-club).
A good starting point for the shortest clubs in your golf bag (wedges and “scoring irons” (9 iron – 7 iron)) is operating off the center of your stance.
That said, having the right ball position will make you hit the ball more consistently, but that’s if you’ve set the right amount of weight distribution depending on the type of shot you’re hitting!
How to Find the Center of Your Golf Stance
Unfortunately, the majority of amateur golfers don’t know where the true middle of their stance actually is!
Finding Your Center (No Yoga Involved)
Take your normal golf stance and lay a golf club or alignment aid vertically between your legs (If you’ve never done this before, it will likely change your life.)
This gives a great visual indication of where the actual middle of your golf stance is. Understanding where the center of your stance is crucial because that’s where you’re going to hit off the most. Additionally, golfers use the center of their stance as a reference for the rest of their ball positioning.
Wedges and Scoring Irons Ball Position
For lob wedge – 7 iron, remember around the center of your stance is ideal.
While golfers often play wedges farther back in their stance when chipping, beginners should start by finding the middle of the stance when pitching the golf ball which gives us a more predictable height, distance, and ball flight to our shots with these shorter clubs.
Scoring irons like the 7-9 irons should also have the golf ball placed at the Center of your stance.
A centered ball position with these shorter “scoring clubs” also helps us stay balanced and not sway our weight off the golf ball (which causes inconsistent contact).
Mid and Long Irons Ball Position
Your mid and long irons (6 iron – 3 iron) ball positioning should be one golf ball width forward of center.
As shafts and clubs get longer the low point of your golf swing (when you make contact) moves further forward in your stance. We have found one ball width forward of center creates solid contact, height, and distance for our 6 through 3 iron.
Hybrid and Fairway Wood Ball Position
Just as we move the ball one ball-width forward when transitioning from wedges to mid-long irons, we perform the same move for our ideal fairway wood and driving iron position.
This category of golf clubs has the 2nd longest shafts and 2nd farthest forward low point of the swing in relation to your stance. Moving the ball forward this distance improves your ball flight with these low lofted clubs for as much distance as possible.
You can also think about this position as “2 golf ball widths forward of center.”
Driver Ball Position
Some instructors and players like visualizing the golf ball being in-line with their leading heel (from a face-on perspective) with the driver, but we think it’s easier to imagine the golf ball being 3 ball widths forward of center.
The driver has the least amount of loft and the longest shaft in your entire golf bag, meaning positioning the ball the most forward with this club gives us the best chance of getting it airborne and maximizing our distance potential.
Chip and Pitch Shots Ball Position
When chipping or pitching the golf ball from close to the green, your ball position can vary depending on your desired outcome.
When you want to hit a shot high, moving the ball forward in your stance naturally adds more loft and creates more “club face to ball” contact for greater spin.
When you need to hit a shot low, moving the ball backwards automatically lowers loft and increases roll out.
Putting Ball Position
While we’ve discussed our personal putting style and favorite tips and tricks, we prefer one to two ball positions forward of center for our putter.
We’ve found this slightly forward of center ball position with the putter lets us better visualize the line/path the golf ball will travel to the hole and gives our putter head time to square fully for straighter putting results!
How Ball Position Can Control Shot Height
We learned from Tiger Woods that our ball position can naturally control our shot’s height.
Iron shots follow the same philosophy as shorter shots close to the green.
Moving the ball one ball-width back in our stance (from the “standard” ball positions we explained above) naturally lowers trajectory by lowering the loft of the club.
Moving the ball one ball-width forward in our stance raises your shot’s trajectory by naturally increasing the loft of the club!
How Far Should You Stand from the Golf Ball?
Understanding where to position the golf ball is one thing, but knowing how far you should be standing from the golf ball is another. How far you stand from the golf ball during the setup dictates your swing path and the consistency of your attack angle. Additionally, the type of club you use will determine the distance between you and the golf ball. Generally speaking, the longer the club the farther the golf ball will be from you.
Summary of the Golf Ball Positioning for Each Golf Club
Ball positioning is crucial for consistent golf shots. It varies with club type. For wedges and scoring irons (lob wedge to 7 iron), position the ball in the center of your stance. For mid and long irons (6 iron to 3 iron), move it one ball width forward of center. Fairway woods, hybrids, and driving irons should have the ball positioned two ball widths forward. With the driver, place it three ball widths forward. For chip and pitch shots, ball placement can vary; forward for high shots, backward for low ones. In putting, one to two ball positions forward of center helps with visualization and alignment. Ball position also affects shot height; moving it back lowers trajectory, while moving it forward raises it.
Now that you learned everything about the ball positioning during the setup, you should see much more precision in your golf swing!