PGA Pro Tips: Is Your Aim True?
You don't need a perfect golf swing to score well. In fact most golfers can easily drop three to five strokes per round simply by making one simple adjustment. The single best thing you can do to eliminate mistakes and improve scores is to aim correctly.
We’ve conducted thousands of playing lessons where we’ve observed every kind of golfer in all kinds of conditions. By far and away the number one mistake golfers make on the course is misalignment. Lining up incorrectly on the course can change the swing, send the ball to the wrong place, and lead to bad swing habits.
Getting someone to line up correctly, however, is not as straightforward as making sure their feet are pointed the right direction. We follow a 3-part process that retrains first the eyes, then the body, then the brain.
EYES: Setting up for alignment starts with the golf club: the club face must be square to the target. But if the golfer does not see a square face as square, the rest of the set-up is doomed. To train their eyes we use two parallel alignment rods, placing the ball in the middle. As long as the clubface grooves are perpendicular to the rods the club face is square. Most of the time the error is a club face pointed to the right, or open.
BODY: Once the golfer is able to square up the club face the next step is to square up the body. We use the alignment rods to make sure that both feet are the same distance from the rods. But we don’t just look at the feet. We also make sure the hips and shoulders are square and in line with the feet. The most common mistake we see is the feet square but the shoulders swung out to the left. These “open” shoulders typically create a slice.
BRAIN: Lastly we make sure the golfer knows where the target is. We test target awareness by having golfers get into their stance, close their eyes, and point to the target. It is not unusual to see students pointing 20 and 30 yards away from their target. Fortunately they quickly grasp the importance of knowing where the target is, and in short order figure out how to memorize the location.
The great news is that perfecting your alignment is a lot easier than changing your swing. A few practice sessions focused on alignment will soon find you hitting better shots to more fairways and greens.