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A common question to golf professionals is: why am I so inconsistent? While there can be dozens of legitimate reasons, one common denominator that I see is that the lie of a ball is very inconsistent. Let’s face it, golf courses are not always very flat. Because the ball is only about 1.75 inches thick, a subtle change in topography can have dramatic effects on the shot. If the ball is even a half an inch above your feet, you may hit it “fat” if the ball is a half an inch below your feet you may hit it “thin”.

A good pre-shot routine should include evaluating the slight variations in slope that are standard on even the flattest of golf courses. By making yourself aware of these variations and slopes, you can make the proper adjustments to hit better shots. See below for tips on how to make the proper adjustments.

Slide your hands down on the grip and then swing normally keeping your body/legs as normal as possible during swing. Vary the amount you move your hands down on the grip based on the degree that the ball is above your feet. Shorten length of backswing. Ball may go to left – amount left increases with the amount ball is above your feet.

Bend your knees and maintain the bend throughout backswing and follow through. Try not to bend at the waist any more than a normal swing. Shorten length of backswing. Ball may go to right.

I’ve always had a lot of questions about proper ball position in relation to a player’s stance. While there are several theories on the proper ball position, one thing is certain, you need to be consistent. In fact, several years ago while standing in front of the 4th tee box at the Scottsdale TPC during the Phoenix open, I saw three well known players play the 133 yard par-three with three completely different ball positions. One player played it off his left heel, one in the exact center of his stance, and one played the ball off his right heel. While I can’t be certain of which club each player used, I can only assume be the distance that it was a PW or SW. I always go with Ben Hogan’s recommendation: short irons in the middle of your stance, mid-irons slightly ahead of middle and long-irons/woods are more toward your left heel. Oh, if you’re wondering which three tour players would have such a different ball position, John Daly, Nick Faldo, and Nick Price.