Out of the Bunker: Remember, you’re never too close

There is one thing I am very accustomed to seeing with most golfers. They stand too far from the golf ball. There can be many different reasons for this, but generally it’s because standing further away from the golf ball feels more comfortable. This comfort, however, can lead to some poor habits. The next time you watch golf on television, I’d like for you to notice how close most of the professional’s stand to the golf ball. Often times they appear to be staring directly down at the ball, similar to the look of someone putting. Of course, this distance changes based on the length of the club you are hitting. But how do you determine what that distance should be? The best way to work on establishing proper distance from your golf ball is to hit some short pitch shots. Maybe 50 yards, or so. Focus on trying to position your eyes directly over the golf ball. This typically can be accomplished by standing a bit closer to the ball, and leaning your chest slightly towards the golf ball. You may notice that your weight shifts more into the balls of your feet, rather than your heels. This is a good thing. Once your posture is established, try pitching a few shots. You may feel as though you don’t have enough room to swing, but that will improve through enough repetition. Your responsibility now is to establish more room for yourself by rotating your lower body more effectively on both your backswing, AND your forward swing. For right handed golfers, focus on rotating your right hip behind you as you make your backswing. You will then reverse this and rotate your left hip behind you on your forward swing. This rotation will create the space you need to strike your golf ball, and you will develop a much more efficient swing. As you work into longer clubs, your distance from the ball will gradually get wider. However, focus on the creating the same posture and lower body rotation with each club. Enjoy the challenge, and you will get better.