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Hamilton: A trick I give my students to make their ball position automatic

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The author, Scott Hamilton has created a comprehensive video series on his keys to hitting the driver. He has made the first seven videos of the series free to GolfWRX readers. You can check them out here or check out his website, OnTOURgolf.com.

A good setup is the catalyst to the chain of events in your golf swing that makes good impact possible. If you make a mistake early, you spend the rest of the swing trying to compensate for it. Instead of a good first move that sets in motion a chain of other good moves, you get a bad move that requires recovery throughout the swing. That’s why what you do before you hit your driver is so important.

I made a full series on how I teach the driver for my website, but I made all the pre-swing videos free because getting the start right will help a ton of people.

In the video above, I talk about driver ball position. Having your ball position up near your front foot is nothing new. It’s probably one of the few things you won’t find many Tour players or coaches disagreeing about. Even so, I see bad ball positions all the time.

There are lots of reasons why players might not follow the age old advice of playing the ball near their front foot. Having the ball way up in the stance for the driver can just feel funny when it’s the only shot played that way. That’s why it’s easy to let the ball creep toward the middle of your stance, where it feels more comfortable. Watch the video to learn the trick I give my students to make their ball position automatic.

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Currently teaching 14 PGA Tour players, Scott Hamilton is a staple on the PGA Tour range each week. In 2015, a poll of PGA Tour players conducted by Golf Digest ranked him as the No. 2 instructor on the PGA Tour. His players like him for his ability to conduct a complete analysis of their games and return a simple solution to help them play better. “You get the result you want without all the big words.” as Scott often says.

22 Comments

22 Comments

  1. Derick S

    May 3, 2016 at 1:17 pm

    Mr Hamilton,
    Just signed up for your membership…
    Thanks for the video post.. Was straight to the point, easy to understand, and very helpful…
    Even though I’m 3 handicap, I still tend to put the ball back in my stance here and there….
    For long irons, say 3i-6i, do you set up differently or stay the same!!
    These are the clubs i have trouble with… I do got a 2 hybrid 16.5* and hit it like my driver and FW Woods…
    Any tips for the long irons would be much appreciated Sir…
    1SG Derick S.
    U.S. Army (retired)
    2nd Ranger Bn
    RLTW

  2. Mark H. Davis

    Apr 21, 2016 at 6:35 pm

    DAMN! That’s good advice. Much appreciated. (PS: this is exactly how I putt, to find that ball position too.)

  3. Michael

    Apr 20, 2016 at 9:04 pm

    Great video Scott. So for guys who block or push the ball out to the right do you think on top of moving the ball well forward in your stance that also putting the ball writing visible on the back when you tee it up and then make sure you can read it all the way till impact is a good idea?

    • Scott Hamilton

      Apr 21, 2016 at 12:18 am

      Man- I don’t know. I can’t say that I’ve ever known of a good player telling me that they try to see the ball until impact. If I wash pushing it- I’d be looking to get the face more shut at impact or the path less in-to-out.

  4. Carter baker

    Apr 20, 2016 at 8:53 pm

    I wish I had learned this trick much earlier in my career

  5. Shallowface

    Apr 20, 2016 at 3:25 pm

    Really appreciating these tips. Thanks, Scott!

  6. Cory

    Apr 20, 2016 at 2:08 pm

    Love the forward ball position except that it leads to open shoulders. How do you combat that?

    • mhendon

      Apr 20, 2016 at 5:12 pm

      You tilt your shoulders back in other words lowering your right shoulder. If you do it right you won’t open your shoulders.

    • Scott Hamilton

      Apr 20, 2016 at 7:04 pm

      You’re right, sometimes people open their shoulders when they setup to a ball in the front of their stance. Get a friend to check it for you or use your phone to help yourself.

  7. Ben

    Apr 20, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    this was a really good video Scott. Concise and short and to the point, would love to hear more.

    • Scott Hamilton

      Apr 20, 2016 at 1:14 pm

      There’s a free video in a course called “Solid Contact Series” that I did that gives another good system for ball position with your irons. You can get in on the homepage of my site.
      http://www.ontourgolf.com

  8. Matt

    Apr 20, 2016 at 12:19 pm

    I’m guilty of this in my golf game. Ball position has creeped back towards inside of my left heel. True enough, my fairways hit % has dropped too. Thanks!

  9. Ian

    Apr 20, 2016 at 12:16 pm

    Great, do you have any tricks for ball position throughout the bag?

    • Ben

      Apr 20, 2016 at 12:28 pm

      I wonder if you could take this same idea except right before you move your trailing foot back, move your leading foot forward a certain amount (depending on club).

      • Scott Hamilton

        Apr 20, 2016 at 1:20 pm

        That would just mean that your ball would be off your rear foot instead. For other clubs-I like when the ball is placed the same distance inside the front foot and then drop the rear foot. It’s similar to this technique.

    • Scott Hamilton

      Apr 20, 2016 at 1:16 pm

      Hey Ian- I got a similar question above. There’s a video in my “Solid Contact Series” that goes over the rest of the bag. You get free access when you sign up for the free membership level. Just go to http://www.ontourgolf.com and sign up.

      • Ian

        Apr 23, 2016 at 1:16 pm

        Hi Scott. I took your advice and signed up on your site. When I saw your video on iron shaft lean/face direction something clicked. I used to have shaft lean but got rid of it over the last year (thinking that it was better not to have it). Played this weekend with shaft lean again and my ball striking was significantly better! 12 greens and 4 birdies (not a brag, just enjoying the game again). So thanks again! Oh and not a hint of a shank (which was starting to become common place).

        • Scott Hamilton

          Apr 24, 2016 at 10:03 am

          That’s really cool man. Thanks for joining the site. Shaft lean is critical for good iron play. Post your swing up in the Swing Review section and I’ll give it a look.

  10. Joe S

    Apr 20, 2016 at 11:32 am

    Thank you. This was very good and simple!

  11. Scott Hamilton

    Apr 20, 2016 at 10:52 am

    Hey GolfWrx-
    I didn’t travel to this weeks TOUR event in San Antonio. I’m teaching today but will check back here later to answer questions. So post em up!

    -Scott

  12. RS

    Apr 20, 2016 at 9:52 am

    Anyone else getting a privacy setting error when trying to play the video?

    • Zak Kozuchowski

      Apr 20, 2016 at 9:55 am

      Sorry, RS. Give us a few minutes to sort this out, and please check back.

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Instruction

A simple formula to figure out the right ball position for you

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In this video, I offer my simple formula on ball position that has seen my students produce more consistency. Watch to see how you can adapt your ball position to hit more shots on target.

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How to fix the root cause of hitting your golf shots fat

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Of all the shots golfers fear, hitting the ball FAT has to be right up at the top of the list. At least it heads the list of commonly hit poor shots (let’s leave the shank and the whiff out for now). After fat, I’d list topping, followed by slicing and then hooking. They are all round-killers, although the order of the list is an individual thing based on ability. Professionals despise a hook, but club golfers by and large fear FAT. Why?

First of all, it’s embarrassing. Secondly, it goes nowhere — at least compared to thin — and it can be physically painful! So to avoid this dreaded miss, golfers do any number of things (consciously or subconsciously) to avoid it. The pattern develops very early in one’s golf life. It does not take very many fat shots for golfers to realize that they need to do something differently. But rather than correct the problem with the correct move(s), golfers often correct a fault with a fault.

Shortening the radius (chicken-winging), raising the swing center, early lower-body extension, holding on through impact (saving it), running the upper body ahead of the golf ball and even coming over the top are all ways of avoiding fat shots. No matter how many drills I may offer for correcting any of those mistakes, none will work if the root cause of fat is not addressed.

So what causes fat? We have to start with posture. Some players simply do not have enough room to deliver the golf club on a good plane from inside to inside. Next on the list of causes is a wide, early cast of the club head. This move is invariably followed by a break down in the lead arm, holding on for dear life into impact, or any of the others…

“Swaying” (getting the swing center too far off the golf ball) is another cause of fat, as well as falling to the rear foot or “reversing the weight.” Both of these moves can cause one to bottom out well behind the ball. Finally, an excessive inside-out swing path (usually the fault of those who hook the ball) also causes an early bottom or fat shot, particularly if the release is even remotely early. 

Here are 4 things to try if you’re hitting fat shots

  1. Better Posture: Bend forward from the hips so that arms hang from the shoulders and directly over the tips of the toes, knees slightly flexed over the shoelaces, seat out for balance and chin off the chest!
  2. Maintaining the Angles: Casting, the natural urge to throw the clubhead at the golf ball, is a very difficult habit to break if one is not trained from the start. The real correction is maintaining the angle of the trail wrist (lag) a little longer so that the downswing is considerably more narrow than the backswing. But as I said, if you have been playing for some time, this is risky business. Talk to your instructor before working on this!
  3. Maintaining the Swing Center Over the Golf Ball: In your backswing, focus on keeping your sternum more directly over the golf ball (turning in a barrel, as Ernest Jones recommended). For many, this may feel like a “reverse pivot,” but if you are actually swaying off the ball it’s not likely you will suddenly get stuck with too much weight on your lead foot.
  4. Setting Up a Little More Open: If your swing direction is too much in-to-out, you may need to align your body more open (or feel that way). You could also work with a teaching aid that helps you feel the golf club is being swung more out in front of you and more left (for right-handers) coming through — something as simple as a head cover inside the golf ball. You’ll hit the headcover if you are stuck too far inside coming down.

The point is that most players do what they have to do to avoid their disastrous result. Slicers swing way left, players who fight a hook swing inside out and anybody who has ever laid sod over the golf ball will find a way to avoid doing it again. This, in my opinion, is the evolution of most swing faults, and trying to correct a fault with a fault almost never ends up well.

Get with an instructor, get some good videos (and perhaps even some radar numbers) to see what you are actually doing. Then work on the real corrections, not ones that will cause more trouble.

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Right Knee Bend: The Difference Between PGA Tour Players and Amateurs

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The knees play an especially important role in the golf swing, helping to transfer the forces golfers generate through our connection with the ground. When we look closer at the right knee bend in the golf swing, we’re able to get a better sense of how PGA Tour players generate power compared to most amateur golfers.

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