Wednesday, August 20, 2014

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Ball Position for Symple Swing

by Joe Davidson

BALL POSITION

You shouldn’t think about ball position in relation to position of your feet because that method is extremely inaccurate.  Individual variations in stance width and variation in spine tilt can change the ball position needed for a shot. The “right ball position” for one person could be wrong for someone else because of difference in stance and spine tilt.

It’s much more accurate to think about ball position in relation to your front shoulder. Your front shoulder joint is the axis or center of your swing so that’s what it’s so important to ball position.

THE BOTTOM OF YOUR SWING ARC IS ALWAYS OPPOSITE YOUR FRONT SHOULDER JOINT.

Think about that for a minute. No matter what club you’re hitting the bottom of your swing arc is always at a spot even with your front shoulder joint.  Now some clubs your going to want to hit at the bottom of the swing arc (3 wood for example) but most clubs you’re going to want to hit earlier in the swing arc when the club arc is still descending. Most shots are hit with a descending blow. The short irons are hit with a more descending blow that the longer clubs.

Simply this means the 3 wood is positioned directly opposite the front shoulder joint and all the ball position for all the other clubs progressively moves back from there.

This holds true whether you are using a wide stance or a narrow stance.

We can judge ball position this way because our address position and impact positions are the same. (Traditional swingers or other swings can’t do this.)  For example if you look at some of the pictures of Mike in the Symple Swing manual you can easily judge the position of his front shoulder relative to the ball by looking at the lean of the shaft.

The lean of the shaft tells you where the ball is relative to your front shoulder. If the shaft is straight up (not leaning towards the target and not leaning away from the target) then the ball is directly opposite the front shoulder. In this position the ball would be struck at the bottom of the swing arc.

With the shaft straight up (again, not leaning towards the target and not leaning away from the target) the bottom of your arc would be opposite your front shoulder. That’s a good position for a standard sized driver or maybe a 3 wood depending on the lie. Big headed drivers (460cc) should actually be tied up a bit more forward (toward the target) so the ball is struck with an ascending blow. With the new big headed drivers and long tees you want to hit the ball slightly on the upswing. That means the shaft will actually be leaning back (away from the target) just a bit at address and impact.

With fairway woods and long irons the ball should be addressed so there is a little lean forward of the shaft. That means the ball will be struck with a slightly descending blow. That’s what we want with long irons and fairway woods.

With short irons there should be quite a bit of forward (toward the target) shaft lean. That means you are striking the ball with a very descending blow.

Now realize that if someone had a really wide stance an a good bit of spine tilt that even though the shaft is leaning back just a bit it might appear to the casual observer that they were playing the ball back in their stance almost to the middle of their stance. It would appear that way because the wide stance and spine tilt (away from the target) move the position of the front shoulder back in the stance relative to the front foot.

BTW, when chipping there should be a good bit of shaft lean toward the target because your definitely want to contact your chips with a descending blow.

Even though I’m not giving your shaft lean in degrees I think you will find it very easy to find your correct ball position for any shot relative to your front shoulder with just a few minutes of experimentation.

Judging ball position relative to your front shoulder does seem a little strange a first because it’s a different way of doing things but I think you’ll see the logic and precision of it very quickly. Good ball striking is all about where in the swing arc your strike the ball and the swing arc is controlled by your front shoulder.

One final note. Don’t go nuts about ball position. On most shots it’s not that critical. If you have a little to much shaft learn or a little less than you should the only difference your likely to notice is a difference in shot trajectory. Moving the ball back results in a lower trajectory and moving the ball forward results in a higher trajectory.

For example, I normally play my wedges back with a good bit of lean. However when I want to hit a very high shot to go over a tree for example, I would move the ball up so there would be no lean at address or maybe even in some special cases some lean away from the target. That would give me a much higher trajectory.

Having some shaft lean toward the target and having a descending blow is generally a good thing because it makes striking the ball a bit easier and more consistent. For example, moving the ball up for a high wedge shot can give you a nice high shot but it also increases the possibility of a bladed wedge winding up with a skulled shot across the green.

Joe Davidson
Simple Golf

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