This is a crucial question you need to ask before you even strike your first golf ball. Getting the correct stance is the starting point for any golfer. If you stand too close or too far away from the ball then you can’t expect to hit the perfect shot.
There is no simple answer to this matter that is right for every person, club and situation. The answer certainly isn’t to get out a tape measure and stick to exactly the same distance every time. It is more about understanding what feels right and why this is the case.
So, let’s take a look at the different factors that you should know about in order to choose the correct distance every time.
It is easy to say that you are aiming to get the middle of the club face to make contact with the ball. This is certainly a starting point for striking the ball cleanly and squarely. But how do you know that you are currently standing too close to the ball?
If this is your problem then you might lose your balance when swinging the club. Even if the effect isn’t as drastic as this, you could find a variety of other problems occurring. Some golfers find that they slice the ball too far to the right (if they are right-handed), lift their head too early or just can’t get a smooth, flowing swing.
The main issue here is that your swing is likely to be too steep and uncomfortable.
So, the effects that you see when standing close to the ball can vary a lot. However, what you won’t get is an effortless motion with great results. If you can see any of the problems mentioned above or something just doesn’t feel right then try shifting a fraction away from the ball.
It is worth pointing out that you need to stand a little bit closer than normal when you want to fade the ball, get more height, or if it is nestled below your feet.
What If You Stand Too Far Away from the Ball?
The opposite problem is far more common. Many golfers seem to instinctively move further away from the ball than is ideal. Indeed, some experts have commented over the years that hardly anyone stands too close to the ball, but that lots of golfers stand too far away from it.
This results in an awkward stance that leads to weak, mis-directed shots, which come about because you are over-reaching. Instead of swinging nicely through the ball, you are trying too hard to get the clubface into the right spot at the moment of impact.
Advanced golfers may choose to widen their stance a little in certain circumstances. These include when they want to draw the ball or when it is above their feet. However, in most cases you will want to find a nice, all-purpose position that you are comfortable with.
Before we carry on, we’ve come across an excellent video from Meandmygolf on the distance you should stand from the golf ball, you can see it below.
How Far to Stand from the Golf Ball When Driving
The most important point is that you need to feel comfortable and confident. If you look at pro golfers, they don’t all stand exactly the same distance away from the tee. They find a stance and a position that works for them. You should do the same.
As a starting point, you want to get into a comfortable posture with a straight back and naturally flexed knees. A big mistake to avoid is that of leaning in with your shoulders to get closer to the ball. Instead, you need to tilt from your hips to find the right position.
When you are using an iron do you need to stand closer to, or further away from, the ball? The most obvious difference here is in the sizes of the shafts. A driver will have a bigger shaft than the irons. As you go down through the irons the shaft gets shorter too.
This means that you will automatically be getting closer to the ball as you progress through the irons. However, the general information given already still stands true. You need to be close enough to be in a natural stance that lets your swing flow freely.
Adjust According to Your Style
There are several factors that determine how close you should stand to the ball. These include your height and the length of your arms.
Then there is your style to take into account as well. The way that you swing the club and move your body will play a part in the ideal distance that you need. Therefore, you need to adjust until you achieve a stance that works for you.
Don’t feel afraid to take this general advice and tweak it to suit your needs. Once you find the right distance you should notice that it just feels right, as well as leading to better results when you strike the ball.
I'm Rob. I'm an avid golf enthusiast and golf tutor with over 40 years experience playing this beautiful but frustrating game. I'm here to offer advice (if you want it) and share my passion with golfers from around the world.