Golf tips: Alignment

Use your clubs as alignment aids when you practice. Lay one club on the ground parallel to the target line. Lay another from toe to toe to indicate the direction of your stance. Now, lay another club perpendicular to the target line . extending from the ball back toward your feet. This will indicate the ball position. Examine your alignment and ball position.

Hold a club across your shoulders and check alignment toward the target. Repeat for the hips and thighs. In a square stance the shoulders, hips and thighs should be aligned parallel to the target!

To develop a way to spot check alignment problems. Make sure your shoulders are properly aligned. Your shoulders are the most important element because your swing path will follow the alignment of your shoulders at impact. Subtle compensations can creep into your swing if you are not properly aligned. Without help even the best golfers can have trouble recognizing this. You must constantly check your alignment to be consistent. Poor alignment is a major problem for golfers who slice. Align the clubface squarely then align your body. Check the position of the ball by using alignment clubs also. Most golfers think they play the ball further back than they really do.

To start your practice sessions properly aligned. Don.t assume you are lined up correctly. Remember practice makes permanent, so make sure you are starting off positioned correctly. Learn the square stance first. Later, as the need arises, you can experiment with other stances.

To double check your target line. If you don.t accurately know your target line, you cannot easily tell if you are making swing path errors. Before each shot approach the ball from behind and pick your target line. Then when taking your stance align yourself toward your target. Better players align themselves much more consistently than poor players. Hitting balls without aiming at a target is an invitation for swing problems. Tape, clubs on the ground, or and "practice partners" are all good ways to check alignment. Learn to identify the different between a poor shot and an error in alignment.

Do and Don'ts
Don't leave the club between your feet longer than needed to check proper ball position. Many good players leave one club on the ground parallel to the target line whenever they hit practice balls. This "drill" is a good way to begin every practice session.