Shane Lowry says this simple fix improved his swing in days
In between the WM Phoenix Open and the Genesis Invitational, Shane Lowry needed a reset. The 35-year-old Irishman was scrambling in Scottsdale, a course he typically plays well at, shooting a dreadful 9-over and missing the cut.
With the Genesis just days after the conclusion of the Waste Management, Lowry knew he had to call his coach, Neil Manchip, for help. Something seemed off during his time in Phoenix, and Lowry needed answers on how he could improve his game quickly.
Using the help and advice of Manchip, the two got to work.
During a press conference before this week’s Honda Classic, Lowry mentioned how Manchip identified one problem that was throwing off his entire game: His alignment.
“Yeah, my coach arrived in on Sunday night of LA, the Sunday night before LA, and by basically — yeah, I was a little bit off with my alignment on my setup and it led to bad shots, and the way Phoenix was playing, it was playing quite firm and fast, so if you were a little bit off, it kind of really showed up in your game.”
After both Manchip helped Lowry identify the issue with his alignment, the two began correcting the problem. Lowry described the enormous strides he made over the days that followed.
“I felt miles off, but as soon as I got hitting shots with my coach last Monday in LA, it started to feel a lot better, and it still felt a little bit uncomfortable as the week went on, but as the week went on further and further, I played better and better and got into the tournament better.”
Positive results came instantly, with Lowry shooting a 7-under at the Genesis, good for a tie-14 finish.
While adjusting setup and alignment seems like a simple fix, even a player of Lowry’s caliber admits that it’s easy to let it slip. Now that he and Manchip have cleaned things up, the golfer hopes his confidence returns and he’s able to perform well at the Honda Classic this week.
“Yeah, just purely setup and purely keeping an eye on things that way. I felt maybe I got a bit complacent in Phoenix, where my game has been pretty good for a long time, where my iron play has been pretty good for quite a while, and it was as bad as I’ve played for a while. So it was a bit of a shock to the system, but it was nice to get it back and get a bit of confidence in LA last week, and hopefully I can take that into this week.”
How to improve your alignment
Lowry’s admission is a good reminder that even the best golfers need to remember the basics. And for those feeling lost when standing over the ball, here are some simple tips to help fix the issue.
1. Aim the face, align the body
A common mistake is that golfers think their bodies should aim directly at the target. Instead, the clubface should aim towards the target, with the body staying parallel to the target — not pointing at it.
2. Build your setup around the clubface
While setting up, aim your clubface toward the target as the first step. In other words, focus on your clubface position first, then how your body is positioned.
3. Look at the target while you aim
Obvious advice, right? Well, you’d be surprised at how often golfers forget to do this, with many players simply fixated on keeping their head down, just staring at the ball. Give some glances up and down between both the target and the ball, which is necessary to aim the clubface and align the body.
4. Stand behind your ball
Standing behind the golf ball will help you see the true view of where you’re aiming. Additionally, it will help identify an intermediate target. Any good golfer steps back to widen their view of an upcoming shot, which helps them visualize the proper target.
5. Use the line on your ball
Whether you’re on the tee box or putting, using the alignment line on your ball will help you aim your shot properly. This helps set your clubface perpendicular to the target, while your body lines parallel to the side of the ball while setting up.
6. One last look
Don’t forget to give one last look at your target before hitting your shot. When you feel visually connected to the target, it will provide you with confidence, which should help to lead with more accurate shots.