One of the challenges for new golfers involves determining how far to stand from the golf ball at address. Even experienced players can struggle with this from time to time. Positioning yourself too close or too far in relation to the ball can make it difficult to hit good shots. However, remember a few key principles, and you can set at the proper distance each time.
Standing too close to the ball causes an overly upright swing path. Such a swing leads the club to be very steep at impact. A steep angle of attack with the club frequently leads to poor contact, with many shots being hit fat -- that is, the club coming in contact with the ground before hitting the ball.
Teaching pro Karen Palacios-Jansen describes the proper distance from the ball being measured best by the space between the butt of your golf club to the top of your thigh. She recommends the span of one hand with the fingers outstretched as the proper gap for that area. If this distance is new to you, it's likely to feel uncomfortable at first, but make a few swings and your body will adjust.
The first step to assuming proper position at set up is to grip the club before moving in to stand over the ball. Palacios-Jansen recommends dropping your arms on your chest once you've gripped the club. At this point, you're ready to move in and assume your stance. Step forward with your right foot first, setting the club head behind the ball. Keeping the club behind the ball, bring in your left foot and adjust your distance from the ball by moving your feet, not the club.
Longtime LPGA pro Pam Wright has a drill to help you keep from getting to far away from the ball in the process of correcting a "too close" stance. She recommends taking the head cover from one of your clubs, tucking it snugly under your right underarm. If the head cover falls to the ground before you reach the top of your back swing, you're standing too far from the ball and should reset your position.