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Alignment

Alignment refers to how a player's body is aimed at their target and how the different body parts (feet, hips, knees and shoulders) are aligned with each other. It is important to have all body parts running square with each other and running parallel to the target to hit accurate and consistent shots. On occasion if a player is trying to curve the ball one direction or the other they may intentionally aim right or left of their target.

Alignment Drills

Alignment Tips

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  • Shoulder Alignment Outranks Hips

    Aligning your shoulders and your arms are more important than aligning your lower body, because the club is connected to your upper body. Always remember it's your arms that are swinging the club. Obviously if your lower body is misaligned, your upper body may follow, but this is not always the case. It's important to have everything aligned perfectly, but pay closer attention to where your shoulders are aimed as your arms will follow your shoulders.

  • Aim Parallel Left of Your Target

    Because the ball sits in front of you, when on the course feel like you aim parallel left of your target. Do this in moderation. For instance, I always feel like I aim 5 yards parallel left of my target. Just remember you are not standing on your target line, but rather next to it. The ball is in front of you and will fly on a parallel line to where your body is aimed.

  • Standing Open is a Preference, Not a Must

    For chipping you can stand square or slightly open with your feet. Standing open is a preference, not a must. In most cases it is not necessary and setting up square to a ball and contacting it in the center of the face is best. Setting up open has the benefit of shortening the backswing and forcing an outside in club path. This can help you hit a short cut shot, but can also result in a pull and inconsistent strikes.

  • To Fade the Ball Set the Face Open

    Get used to seeing the face open at set up when you are trying to fade/slice. This is perhaps the most awkward part of trying to work the golf ball. Looking down and seeing a club face open or closed can really throw you off. Accept that it is correct and stay focused on your swing path which should be along the line to which your body is aligned. Remember to always open the face first and then take your grip; not the other way around.

  • Pick an Intermediate Target

    Pick an intermediate target just a few inches in front of your ball in line with your intended target. It's much easier to aim at something only a few inches away than something 200 yards away. I call this "free cheating." It is perfectly legal with the rules of golf and tremendously helpful so take advantage of it to get your alignment deadly accurate.

  • Visualize Railroad Tracks

    To help with your alignment visualize railroad tracks. You are standing on one track while your ball lies on the other track. When you stand behind your ball down your target line to line it up, visualize yourself standing on one track and the flight of the ball on the other. This will help you to align your body parallel left of your target as it should be. It is a common mistake to aim your body exactly at your target which will in turn make the ball fly parallel right of your target.

  • Open Your Stance to Shorten Your Backswing

    To shorten your backswing on your pitches and control distance try standing with a slightly open stance. I saw slightly because you don't want to stand so open that you alter your swing path and force pulled or cut shots. When your front foot sits just a bit behind your back foot though, it limits your shoulder turn on the backswing and is an easy way to help control the amount that you wind up. Try a narrow and slightly open stance and see if you don't gain more control.

  • Use Your Heels to Line Up

    When aligning your feet focus on where your heels are aimed. If you have a flare to one or both toes, it makes aligning your toes difficult. What matters is that your heels are lined up parallel to each other and the target line. Often times golfers will have a significant flare with their front toe. This will make the toes align open to the target line and can throw off their alignment. It's best to put an alignment stick along your heels rather than along your toes if this is the case for you.

  • Set Up Square

    When putting, stand with your feet, knees and shoulders square to the target line. This is best for most players and for consistency. I think that square shoulders and forearms are a must, but if you prefer a slightly open stance with your feet that is ok. When your shoulders are open to the target line, your stroke will follow your shoulders and create a cut stroke.

  • Go For the Reward, Not the Risk

    When teeing off go for the reward, not the risk. Never aim for trouble unless you are a highly skilled player that can bend the ball consistently. It's best if you pick a very specific target, but a safe one that will leave you room on either side should you miss the ball. Make sure to visualize the flight of your ball to your target as you make your rehearsal swings. Then, once you set up to the ball make sure to look up a couple of times to see the flight of the ball to the target before starting your takeaway.

  • Always Aim Your Face Where You Want the Ball to End Up

    When trying to work the ball, always aim your club face where you want your ball to end up and your body where you want the ball to start. It's important to stay focused on where your body is aligned and swing along this line through impact. Your club path will get the ball started on the correct line and then the face angle will work it back to your target.

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