Where Should You Position the Golf Ball When Youre Putting?

Table of Contents


  • Ball positioning in golf is crucial for accuracy and success in putting.
  • Recommended ball positions for putting vary based on your stance and stroke.
  • Adjusting ball position is important for different putting scenarios like uphill, downhill, long, and short putts.
  • Putter selection can influence ball positioning, so choose the right putter for your preferred ball position.
  • Common mistakes in ball positioning include putting the ball too far forward or back and incorrect stance.
  • Practical exercises and drills can help improve ball positioning for putting.


Position Ball. Putting is often considered one of the most crucial aspects of a golfer's game. It requires precision, finesse, and a deep understanding of the mechanics involved. One question that frequently arises among golfers is, "Where should you position the ball when you're putting?" Finding the optimal placement can make all the difference between sinking that crucial putt or falling short. As a retired professional golfer with years of experience and countless hours spent on the greens, I have navigated this question myself and am here to provide you with insights and recommendations on this important topic. In this article, we will explore the various factors that come into play when deciding where to position the ball during your putts, drawing from my personal expertise and knowledge. So, grab your putter and let's uncover the secrets to mastering the art of putting!

Understanding Ball Positioning in Golf

In golf, understanding the correct ball positioning is essential not only for guiding the golf ball accurately, but also for consistency in your overall swing mechanics. To improve your game and lower your golf score, understanding the fundamentals of proper ball positioning cannot be ignored.

Why Ball Positioning is Crucial

Ball positioning plays a significant role in golf as it determines the direction, trajectory, and distance of the ball. The correct position ensures an optimal trajectory which not only gets extra yards but also provides control over the shot. It affects the strike, accuracy, and swing path. Therefore, playing the ball from the incorrect position can result in mishits like slices or hooks.

Different Ball Positions Based on Your Stance

Depending on your club and stance, the position of the ball may vary. For shorter clubs like wedges and short irons, the ball should be positioned in the middle of your stance. As you progress to longer clubs, the position should gradually move forward in your stance. For a driver, the ball is often placed just inside the left heel. Perfect Golf provides a comprehensive guide on how to adjust your ball position based on different clubs and stances.

Common Myths Surrounding Ball Positioning

In golf, several myths are surrounding ball positioning. One common myth is that the ball should always be positioned in the same spot, regardless of the club being used. This is not true, as we learned above. Other common myths include the notion that the ball should always be positioned towards the back of your stance to ensure a downward strike, or always play the ball off your left heel no matter what club you're using. However, proper ball positioning depends on the club, stance, and specific shot you're trying to make. Debunking these myths, Golf Distillery provides comprehensive guidelines to ensure correct ball positioning.

Ideal Ball Placement for Putting

The science of putting is more complex than simply hitting the ball and hoping for the best. Understanding the relationship between the ball placement and the putter can dramatically influence the accuracy and success of your putts. Proper ball placement can make putting more effortless, and mastering this skill will translate into more birdies and pars on your scorecard.

Impact of Ball Placement on Accuracy of Putts

The impact of ball placement on the accuracy of putts shouldn't be overlooked. Correct positioning will directly influence the trajectory of your putt and ultimately determine whether the ball heads towards the hole or veers off track. Improving your ball placement can reduce the risk of misses and enhance the quality and spin of your putts. The US Golf Association asserts that accurate ball placement can significantly aid in controlling the speed and line of your putts.

For successful putting, it's generally recommended to position the ball slightly forward of the center of your stance. This helps you to strike the ball on the upswing of your stroke, aiding in a smoother roll and better control. However, bear in mind that the right position may vary from golfer to golfer based on their posture and stroke. It's a good idea to consult with a golf coach or experienced player to find the ball position that best suits your playing style. has some useful drills and techniques that can help you find your perfect position.

Experimenting with Ball Placement: Your Unique Posture and Stroke

What works for one golfer may not exactly work for another. Hence, it's not only important to understand the general rules of ball placement but also to experiment with various positions to discover what works best for your unique posture and stroke. Your height, arm length, and even the kind of putter you use can make a difference. Don't be afraid to deviate from the conventional advice if you find a placement that seems more effective for you. As long as it's legal according to the Rules of Golf, it's fair game.

How to Position the Ball in Different Putting Scenarios

In golf, understanding how to position the ball in various putting scenarios is pertinent to your overall game. This section provides insights into how you can manage different situations while putting, such as dealing with downhill and uphill putts, adjusting for long and short putts, and even modifying your ball position based on weather conditions.

Dealing with Downhill and Uphill Putts

When putting on slopes, ball positioning plays an essential part in determining how the ball moves. For downhill putts, it is generally advisable to position the ball slightly back in your stance to help control the speed and ensure a better roll down the slope. On the other hand, for uphill putts, position the ball slightly more forward, providing a solid strike at the bottom of the ball's upswing. It ensures the ball gets up the slope without you having to strike it too hard. Expert golfers like Tiger Woods often adjust their ball positions when dealing with slope putts, a viable technique to master for improving your downhill and uphill putts.

Ball Positioning for Long and Short Putts

Ball positioning varies depending on the distance of the putt. For longer putts, you can position the ball somewhat forward in your stance. It helps in getting a slight upward stroke, allowing the ball to travel a greater distance. For shorter putts, it's recommended to keep the ball in the middle of your stance, making it easier to strike the ball squarely and improve accuracy. In the words of famed golfer Jack Nicklaus, “You must be precise on short putts.”

Adjusting Ball Position in Windy Weather

Weather conditions, particularly the wind, can significantly impact ball positioning during a putt. If you're putting into the wind, move the ball back in your stance to avoid getting the ball too high into the air where it might be pushed by the wind. Alternatively, if the wind is at your back, position the ball more forward in your stance to ride the wind and cover more distance. Playing in wind conditions can be challenging, but as highlighted by Golf Monthly, strategic ball positioning can help you maintain control in such scenarios.

Ball Position and Putter Selection

Recognizing the relationship between the ball position and putter selection in golf is a critical factor in refining your game. Achieving the perfect shot is a combination of many interconnected elements. Your choice on the putter and its design directly influences ball positioning, and subsequently, the overall performance. This section is dedicated to navigating these subtle yet significant aspects that contribute to successful golfing.

Influence of Putter Design on Ball Positioning

Putter design has a direct impact on the positioning of the ball. Different putters ranging from blade to mallet, peripheral-weighted to center-shafted, all necessitate varied ball placement. For instance, a blade putter is ideal for a forward ball position since its design encourages a sweeping motion. On the contrary, mallet putters, with their weight distributed towards the rear, require a ball position more centered in your stance. The design also impacts how the ball reacts at impact, which can influence direction, spin, and speed. Understanding the relationship between putter design and ball positioning is critical for optimizing your performance on the green. Golfer's Digest, offers a comprehensive guide on the different types of putters and their effects on ball positioning.

Choosing the Ideal Putter for Your Preferred Ball Position

Every golfer has their preferred ball position which directly influences putter selection. If you prefer a more forward ball position, a toe-hang putter would be the right choice for you, as it is more suited for an open-to-close stroke. Conversely, if you are comfortable with a ball positioned more towards the center of your stance, a face-balanced putter known for appealing to golfers with a straight-back-straight-through swing would be the best fit. However, always bear in mind, at the end of the day, feel and comfort should be the guiding factors. In addition to the putter design, the length, lie angle, and the grip of the putter are equally important factors to consider while choosing your ideal putter. The Golf Channel provides an extensive analysis of how to choose the right putter for your game style and preferred ball position.

Common Mistakes in Ball Positioning and How to Avoid Them

Even though mastering the ball positioning in golf can give players a significant advantage, many mistakes are often made that could easily be avoided. By recognizing and understanding these common errors, you can take steps to improve your ball positioning and, consequently, your overall golf performance.

Mistakenly putting the ball too far forward or back

One of the most common mistakes made by golfers of all skill levels is placing the ball too far forward or back in their stance. If the ball is too far forward, you may top the ball or hook it, and if it's too far back, you may hit the ground before the ball or slice it. The best way to avoid this mistake is to focus on positioning the ball in the middle of your stance for even and controlled shots. For more visual guidance, Golf Sidekick offers a detailed breakdown of the correct ball positioning.

Incorrect stance resulting in poor ball positioning

Another common error is an incorrect stance, leading to poor ball positioning. An unstable or unbalanced stance may result in less control over the golf club, poor shot accuracy and consistency, and ultimately, incorrect ball positioning. To avoid this, make sure your feet are shoulder-width apart, your shoulders are square to the target, and your weight is evenly distributed between your feet. SwingU Clubhouse provides comprehensive instructions on proper golf stances.

Lessons learned from professional golfers: Avoiding positioning pitfalls

Professional golfers' wisdom and experience are invaluable for learning how to avoid positioning pitfalls. Observing the gameplay of professionals, like their pre-shot routine, shot execution, and how they handle different course conditions, can be extremely beneficial. For instance, in an interview with Golf Digest, Tiger Woods highlighted the importance of continuously adjusting ball positioning depending on the shot's required trajectory. He emphasized flexibility and adaptation, rather than sticking to one 'correct' position. More of such lessons from professionals can be gleaned from Golf Digest’s extensive collection of pro-golf tips.


Understanding the proper positioning of your golf ball when putting can significantly improve the accuracy of your strokes, enhancing your game tremendously. Whether it's mastering the correct placement based on your stance, adjusting to different scenarios such as uphill and downhill putts, or choosing the right putter for optimal positioning, these strategies can shape your performance on the course. Remember, avoid common mistakes such as misplaced ball or incorrect stance and take lessons from the pros, learning how they avoid such pitfalls. Through regular practice using drills and training aids, and maintaining consistency, you can master this valuable skill. With this knowledge, you have the tools to improve your ball positioning, and ultimately, your overall golf game. Remember to revisit our blog for more content related to perfecting your golf ball positioning. Here's to lower scores and more enjoyable rounds of golf!

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