1 thing you see everywhere on PGA Tour driving ranges

Alignment sticks are easy to transport, versatile, and most important of all, very useful.

GOLF.com

ORLANDO, Fla. — It only takes a cursory glance around a PGA Tour driving range to notice that no two things are alike.

The players are different. The swings are different. The coaches are different. The clubs are different. The outfits are different. Everything’s different!

Well, except for one specific thing, that happens to be littered everywhere: Alignment sticks.

This important metric is the difference between good rounds and bad
By: Luke Kerr-Dineen

It struck me that you’ll never see this many sticks in one place anywhere other than a professional golfer’s driving range (apart from in a forest, I suppose). Golfers from all corners of the globe are united by their love of them because of their usefulness and versatility.

Here’s a few ways I saw them getting used on Tuesday ahead of the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Lots of players use them on the putting green to improve their stroke. If you place a stick outside the toe of the putter as you hit putts, like you see Matt Jones doing below, it’s a visual cue that will prevent you from taking the putter outside and pushing putts. If you place it along the heel of your putter, it will limit how much you arc the putter — good for players who pull putts.

Matt Jones practices putting with alignment sticks at Bay Hill. GOLF.com

You’ll also see lots of guys place a club or alignment stick on the ground by their feet. Your foot line should run parallel to your target line, and having a stick there will make sure that they are.

“These guys care a lot about their alignments, and amateur golfers should too,” says GOLF Top 100 Teacher Justin Parsons. “When your alignments get off, even slightly, your posture can start changing, and you’ll create compensations without even realizing.”

Pros practice with alignment sticks on the range at Bay Hill. GOLF.com

An optional add-on to your stick-along-the-footline is placing a second alignment stick perpendicular to the first one (so it forms a “T” letter), pointing directly at the ball. This gives you a visual cue for both your ball position, and your clubface alignment.

GOLF.com

And then there are all the ways you use the stick by sticking it in the ground. There are too many variations to explore in one post, but golfers could benefit from one of Nicolai Hojgaard’s favorite drills. He put the stick vertically into the ground, just outside his lead foot. He’d make his backswing turning off it, but would make sure his hip is pressing up against his left hit on the downswing. This improves his transition by getting his weight over to his left side.

Nicolai Hojgaard practices one of his favorite alignment stick drills. GOLF.com

So if you’re going to adopt one thing from the pros this week, it’s that alignment sticks are useful! You should really think about making the minor investment.

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Luke Kerr-Dineen

Golf.com Contributor

Luke Kerr-Dineen is the Game Improvement Editor at GOLF Magazine and GOLF.com. In his role he oversees the brand’s game improvement content spanning instruction, equipment, health and fitness, across all of GOLF’s multimedia platforms.

An alumni of the International Junior Golf Academy and the University of South Carolina–Beaufort golf team, where he helped them to No. 1 in the national NAIA rankings, Luke moved to New York in 2012 to pursue his Masters degree in Journalism from Columbia University. His work has also appeared in USA Today, Golf Digest, Newsweek and The Daily Beast.