Sometimes it just doesn't matter if you have great posture, a perfect spine angle and even a steady head position. As long as you're standing too far away from the ball, you're going to have a devil of a time hitting consistent golf shots. In fact, most students I've taught tend to stand too far away from the ball for reasons that make sense, such as a fear of shanking the ball off the hosel or hitting a fat shot. But what they don't know is standing too far away can actually cause those kinds of shots by forcing the body to overcompensate and lunge toward the ball during the swing. Frankly, the kinds of bad shots often resulting from standing too far away are endless, including a shot that scrapes the top edge of the clubhead. Yuck!
How do you know how far is too far? It's simple. Begin by addressing the ball as you normally would, only this time, tuck a headcover under your right underarm. Hold it snug, and try and keep it there during the start of your backswing. If the headcover falls from your underarm before you reach the end of your backswing, then you know you're standing too far from the golf ball. If the headcover stays put, you're all set! The arms should be free of tension, hanging naturally from the shoulder sockets. Any overextension will cause not only inconsistent golf shots, but may also put strain on your lower back.
Start this drill with your driver,_Ê working your way into your short irons and wedges. You'll find that as the club gets shorter, the length between you and the golf ball also gets shorter. At any moment on the golf course when you feel you may be standing too far from the ball, back away and try this simple drill with a headcover until you feel more comfortable. Then set up to the ball and swing away!
A 15-year veteran of the LPGA Tour, instructor Pam Wright teaches at We-Ko-Pa Golf Club in Arizona. For more info, visit www.pamwrightgolf.com.