This nifty alignment tip will help you hit more shots closer to the pin
Welcome to Play Smart, a regular GOLF.com game-improvement column that will help you play smarter, better golf.
Having proper golf alignment is essential for executing a good shot, so why do so many amateur players still overlook the importance of it?
Getting aligned isn’t something that generates reactions like a long drive does, but it’s still critical to a good shot.
Great players never have an issue with golf alignment because they constantly work on it. So whether they’re practicing their putting, chipping or long game, you’ll oftentimes see an alignment stick (which are available here) on the ground.
Typically, the training aid will be between the player and the ball, sitting on a parallel line toward the target. In a way, it serves as the railroad tracks of the golf swing, with your body being on the inside rail, and your ball and target on the outside rail.
Common mistakes amateurs make with their golf alignment
Most weekend golfers I work with often align their body toward the target on a shot — which makes the ball and the swing aligned to the right of the target (for a right-handed golfer).
So despite knowing where the actual target is (the safe landing area), the player instinctively pulls the shot back toward their target (not where they should actually be aiming for). When this happens, a pull or a slice tends to occur.
As an instructor, I see this happen all the time. But once a player understands how to get better aligned, they instantly start hitting the ball better — which is why I think many players just need some guidance to reach that level.
How to get into better golf alignment
While you may never bomb a driver 300 yards or shoot under par at a historic golf course, you can duplicate what the pros do when it comes to proper golf alignment.
Pros never encounter issues with alignment because they practice it over and over and utilize tools (like an aforementioned alignment stick) to better themselves. This is something all amateur players can do — and the below method can change your game almost instantaneously.
1. Take your grip and set the club behind the ball
Make sure your clubhead is pointing at the target. When you’ve got the clubhead sufficiently pointing at the target, keep your eyes on that spot, and set your feet into your stance.
2. Set your feet as you look at the target
Always make sure that you’re looking at your target while setting your feet. This will get your body into a more natural square set up to your swing plane.
The key here is to be looking at your target more than the ball as you set your feet. You’ll be surprised at how your alignment is different.
3. Add an alignment stick
I always encourage my students to put down an alignment stick for practicing — just like the pros do. Using this training aid will help keep your alignment in check.
You can even take it a step further and add another stick for ball position, which will help improve your ball-striking as well.
Working on having good golf alignment isn’t the most fun part of the game, but it’s so important for improvement. Once your alignment and ball position are good, you can work on making good contact, which will lead to better results.
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