Tee Time: Get a better golf swing with proper ball position
Copper Creek Golf Course
What: An 18-hole Par 69 course at the base of Copper Mountain, featuring high-alpine fairways and the highest tee box for a full 18 in North America
Where: Copper Mountain
Greens fees: $28-$89 for peak and mid-week; $23-$76 for off-peak
Phone: (970) 968-3333
Cart or golf-bike rental is now included in all greens fees. Season passes are currently $409 for unlimited play ($549 with a cart) through June 30, and four-pack passes are $169. For reservations, course cards and lesson info, see the course website at CopperColorado.com.
Golf season is in full swing. Your actual golf swing though? That’s another story.
Funny thing is, you’ve done everything you can think of to fix the nasty slice (or hook or backspin) that’s killing your handicap. You’ve tried adjusting your grip, tweaking your swing arc, widening your stance — you even got superstitious and bought a new glove, just because — but none of it has worked.
So what’s the problem? It just might be as simple as the little white orb in front of your club.
“If your ball position isn’t consistent, the bottom of your swing won’t be consistent and you’ll get lots of inconsistency with you swing,” said Zach Dobrota, the new head instructor for Copper Creek Golf Course at Copper Mountain. “It can cause all sorts of problems.”
Along with proper balance and stance, ball position is one of the first things a struggling golfer (or anyone) can adjust to improve their game. It should be consistent, Dobrota says, so that ball placement doesn’t affect the power and accuracy of your swing. With consistent and confident ball positioning, no matter where you end up — fairway, rough, sand, the thick of the woods — you’ll have the framework for a solid strike.
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Find your center
Not all ball positioning is created equal, Dobrota says. After years of play at just about every level of the game, the rightie has learned that lining the ball up with his left shoulder (aka near the front of his stance) works best. Why? Because he sees more clearly with his left eye than his right eye.
Dobrota suggests fine-tuning your ball position by beginning with the ball in the center of your stance. Hit a few balls with as close to the same swing and motion as you can muster, and then experiment with moving toward the front foot. If that doesn’t work, experiment with moving toward the back foot.
“This is a lot of trial and error, maybe starting in the center of your stance and moving it in, ball width at a time,” Dobrota said. “But it’s very personal. Not everyone is the same height with the same arm length, or anything else.”
Once you find the sweet spot, Dobrota says consistency is key. Remember to hit the ball from the same position every time with every distance, from irons to drivers.
Want more? Fine-tune your stance, swing and balance with Breckenridge Golf Club pro Erroll Miller
From there, advanced players can play around with minor adjustments to get more distance and power. For example, Dobrota recommends that some players set the ball ahead of their front foot when driving from the tee box — but only when driving. Why? It’s one of the few times you want to hit the ball on a slight upswing. You can apply the same trial-and-error process to other clubs, but only after you’ve found that perfect position.
“A lot of it is based on your stance,” Dobrota said. “With your wedges, some people will widen their stance and shorten it with their longer irons, when really you want it to be the opposite. You need a wider stance with longer irons for stability.”
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