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Ball Position in Putting by Ernie Els

This week, Ernie Els explains the importance of ball position in putting and gives us a drill to help determine the best ball position.

“There’s only one ball position that matters with putting and that’s forward of center. 

What I would call the “comfort zone” – which is nicely illustrated by three balls placed between opposite my left heel and just forward of center. Any further forward than that front ball is, in my opinion, too far forward for comfort. It throws your shoulders out of alignment – just like if you have the ball too far forward in your stance for a full shot, it drags your left shoulder left at address. I also think you’re inclined to sway towards the ball, just to get at it.

If, on the other hand, you place the ball any further back than the last ball, I think you’ll suffer from a tendency to hit down on your putts. And that really will cause some problems. The ball will start jumping in the air, not rolling smoothly, and you’ll never be able to judge distance consistently.

I like to see the hands over the ball in the putting stroke. You certainly don’t want them behind, because that puts a kink in your left wrist, which might cause it to collapse in the stroke. 

Equally, I think too far forward of the ball is just as damaging. It makes you hit down on the ball – there’s no chance of an upward stroke.

DRILL: Let gravity determine ball position.

Positioning your eyes directly over the ball enables you to line up more effectively and also gives you a more accurate perspective when looking down the line of a putt. 

So, take a minute every now and then to check for sure that your eyes are directly over the ball. It’s the simplest of procedures. Get comfortable first, adopting your normal putting posture, then drop a golf ball for the bridge of your nose. Gravity takes care of the rest. Where it strikes the ground is the exact spot where you should position it in your stance.”

Thank you, Ernie!

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