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The Small Things Matter: How Far to Stand from the Golf Ball

How Far to Stand from Golf Ball

Al Pacino stated that football is a game made up of inches in his movie Any Given Sunday. However, I believe his speech also applies to golf. The smallest things can make a huge difference in your golf swing.

One half step too close is enough to change your swing plane. If you move too far inward on your takeaway, it will make it almost impossible to get into the slot. This can lead to lag. Even teeing your driver at an inappropriate height can affect your driving performance.

That’s the crazy part about golf, you can do everything right but the smallest mistake can make a massive difference. Many swing faults can easily be corrected by changing your setup position. It’s why the best golfers in the world are constantly assessing their stance, grip, ball position, and other key checkpoints at address.

One of these aspects is knowing how far you should stand from the ball. As you’ll learn in this article, it’s vital to stand the correct distance away from the ball. Plus, we’ll share how to chip better by changing your position too.

How far can you stand from the golf ball 101?

Before identifying the perfect stance from the golf club to the ball, let’s discuss what happens when you make one of two critical errors. It will impact your golf swing negatively if you stand too close or too far away from the golf ball. Tiger Woods discussed this in detail in his book, How I Play Golf which we’ll reference below.

Too Close to the Ball 

Golfers often make the first mistake of crowding or standing too close. Here’s what Tiger had to say about this situation. “This forces my knees into that locked position… my spine is too upright. My arms don’t have room to swing freely. 

I can’t turn my shoulder on the correct plane, and I’m destined to swing the club way too upright going back and coming down. The ball can go anywhere from this position and you can bet it won’t go very far.”

Crowding the golf ball isn’t always a bad idea and can help in certain situations. Ben Crenshaw stated in fact that crowding the golf ball is a good idea. Golf Digest interview that standing too close isn’t a bad thing. He said, “It’s possible to stand too close to the ball, but nobody ever does.”

The same article pointed out that you can chip by crowding the ball, since most amateurs are too far away.

Michael Breed said these words, “If your chipping is inconsistent, the fix could be as simple as standing closer to the ball. This will encourage you swing the club straighter, straighter, and more in a straight-through arc, as opposed to a rounded arc. A mental image that works great is to think about swinging the clubhead as if it were a Ferris wheel, straight up and down.”

Too far from the ball

The opposite is true. It’s dangerous to stand too far away from the golf club, which can cause many other problems. 

This is what Tiger said in his book. “This is a horrible position. To reach the ball, my arms must be extended out beyond my body. I’m bent over too much at the waist and my knees show too much flex.

It is common to lift the spine during the backswing, then pitch forward during the downswing. The ball is bound to go anywhere but straight.” 

Standing too far isn’t always a bad thing, especially if you suffer a slice with a driver. You can square the clubface by stepping back slightly from the ball. 

But, in general, it’s better to be close than too far away from an address.

How far to stand from the golfball 

Now that you understand the wrong way to address the ball, what’s the right way? 

Here’s what Tiger said about the perfect golf stance, “My arms are hanging comfortably, just a shade outside of vertical. My knees are flexed ever so slightly, I’m bent over at the hips comfortably but not too far, and my weight is evenly distributed between my heels and toes.

Now I can turn backwards and through the ball, without having to alter my spine angle or knee flex. When I swing, my arms, hands, and club have a great chance of returning to the position I’ve established at address.” 

You can check your stance by making sure that the butt end is pointed at your belt buckle.

The grip should be approximately six inches long. This will ensure your body is working well to help you hit great golf shots. 

If you’re too far away from the ball, the butt end of the club will point toward your hips. If you’re too close, it’ll point more up towards your chest. 

A good position can help you reduce shanks and maximize distance. It will also allow you to hit more shots at the center of the clubface. Here are some key points to keep in mind when trying to get into the best position.

  • Start by grasping the golf club and placing the club in front of your face so that it runs parallel to the ground.
  • For most mid-length clubs, you should place your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Next, tilt your head forward while standing to create a strong athletic golf position. You want your spine to be straight without any hunches, rolled shoulders or rounded shoulders.
  • Keep your knees bent and the golf club should rest on the ground. Keep moving your feet forward so that your club is directly behind it.

It is important to remember that shorter clubs are closer to the ball than longer clubs. This is because the shafts of the clubs are shorter. This setup drill will help ensure you are in the right spot every time.

These are the top points to consider when determining your address position.

Stance Width 

Your stance will change based on which club you’re hitting. You can remain in an athletic position no matter how long the club is. 

If your feet are too narrow with a driver and longer clubs, it’s hard to maintain balance and stability. Your feet should not be too wide. This will make it difficult to swing your hips and shoulders. It’s a fine balance between the two but vital to hitting consistent shots.

The following can help you to achieve the proper stance width. Down Under Board 2.0. This training aid can help improve your stance and teach you how ground force can be used to generate more power from every club in your bag. 

Knees bent for an athletic position

You should have some flexibility in your knees to look like an athlete at the address.

Golfers who squat down too much can cause the club to rest on the heel. Conversely, if you are too upright without any flex, it’s hard to get your lower body active in the swing. 

You want some bend in your knees so you can use the lower body and sequence the rest of your swing. 


Tiger said in the quote that your arms should be at your sides and close to your body. If you’re overly extended and too far from the golf ball, you won’t have a solid upper body connection. And if you’re too close to the golf ball, you will move the handle up which also impact the lie angle.


Don’t forget your spine angle too.

When you’re the proper distance from the golf ball, you will have a straight back without a rounded back. You should bend at the hips so you’re not straight up and straight down. 

Distance from Golf Ball 

Finally, don’t forget that your position to the ball will change based on the club you’re hitting. Unless you’re using single length irons like Bryson DeChambeau, you will be closer with shorter golf clubs and further away with longer clubs. Despite the change in length, your arms, weight and spine angle must remain the same. 

Start Practicing Stance

Try out different stances on the driving range before you take any of these ideas to the course. Specifically, check to see how far you are away from the golf ball and see how it impacts your shot shape and distance.

This is the best part about it: you can test it out on the driving range and get instant feedback. Perhaps stepping back or crowding the ball a bit is what you need to hit the ball longer and make better contact.

Once you have found the distance that looks good, we recommend recording your swing. Make it a part your pre-shot routine, so you can always set up the ball correctly and have a great setup. 

How far should you stand from the golf ball

FAQs about Golf Stance and Proper Distinction

Are you still unsure about the best way to hit it? You can find the most commonly asked questions and answers below.

What happens when you stand too far away from the golf balls?

When you stand too far from the golf ball it’s easy to suck the club back too far inside on the backswing. As most golfers know, this can cause trouble because you’re more likely to “throw” the club over the top on the downswing. This causes excessive upper body movement and not enough lower body movement, which can lead to a large cut or slice. 

Tiger demonstrated this earlier in this post that standing too far away (or reaching out for the golf ball) can make it difficult to maintain your spine angle. When your spine angle changes in the swing, it’s hard to hit it in the sweet spot. Plus, you’re likely losing out on distance too. 

Is it better for the golf ball to be closer?

It all depends on what type of swing you have and how your shot shape is, but generally speaking, closer is better. Most amateurs are too far away from the ball, as we have already mentioned. This makes it difficult for amateurs to generate power, maintain a consistent swing plan, and maintain an angle of spine.

Chipping is easier when you are closer to the ball. It’ll make it easier to reduce arc and make better contact so you can chip it closer and save par when you miss the greens.

What distance do you stand from the driver and the ball? How far do you stand from the driver when driving a golf club? 

To hit the driver correctly, you must be at least 45 inches away from him. The club is almost 45 inches long so you need to allow yourself some space. But remember the Golf Digest advice and don’t think you need to be too far from the ball.

You can test out different positions on the driving range to find the best setup position.

How can I achieve a perfect golf stance

Use the steps above to get each body part in the right position so you’re the proper distance from the golf ball.

Where should your feet be while hitting an iron?

Whether you’re hitting irons or hitting woods, you want your arms to hang freely at setup with shoulder width stance and solid posture. The most important thing that will change in your iron game is the ball position.

The closer the iron is to your stance, the more wedges you should use. You will find longer clubs in the front of your stance, while shorter clubs will be less.

Final Thoughts 

These tips will hopefully help you to improve your skills on the golf course and practice better shots. Don’t forget, it’s the little things that make the biggest differences in this crazy game of golf. If you notice your ball striking is trending down and can’t figure out how to fix it, start with your setup.

You will be able to keep the distance right with your golf club

  • Improve ball position
  • Let your arms fly free
  • Improve your swing plane and club path
  • You can generate more power and improve accuracy by using the right weight transfer and sequences of swings.

Find the perfect distance and commit to doing the same thing on every swing. If you have to err on standing too far away or standing too close, listen to Ben Crenshaw’s advice and crowd it slightly.