Alignment 101: The Correct Way to Get Aligned for Better Golf Shots

Dan Gold
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Why is alignment important?

Alignment is one of the most overlooked skills in the golf game. Knowing how to get into your ideal alignment is the exact hack you need to increase your shot accuracy.

The first step is to know where your feet need to be in order to get you into the proper plane.

The gold standard in modern golf instruction is to get your feet to the outside edge of your arches. This is a good rule of thumb to have, but there are always exceptions.

If you’re in the bunker, your feet may be a little closer to the target line. Fairway shots are a different story, since you want to be as square as possible to where your ball will go, but you need to be mindful of the terrain as well.

Moving a foot or two from the outside edge of the arch to the inside of the arch could provide you with a better balance for a particular shot. Just remember that as we get older, we lose a little flexibility. So depending on the situation, we may need to be a little less square to the ball.

The golf ball is much bigger than the arches are wide. So it’s often necessary to make some bigger movements to get the ball close to the target.

Alignment and a Consistent Swing

An out-of-alignment swing leads to bad habits. You start to move your head more and your body less.

The swing becomes inconsistent, and if you practice this enough, you start to do it even when you are not aware of it. You’ll aim for a certain place and you’ll overgrip the club without even knowing it. This puts stress on your body and prevents you from getting benefits from training.

If you don’t know what your fault is, I recommend that you go to your local driving range and ask for their alignment cage.

Have a friend record you hitting the ball and find the issues in your aim and then fix them. It is best to have professional help for aligning your body, so get a professional to help you to find out how you can get the ball in the right direction.

Fixing alignment problems takes a few practice sessions to see the result in your game.

Alignment and Aim

If you’re a beginner, you will probably be told to play a conservative game or to just hit and not pay much attention to score.

You should do whatever is comfortable, however, you should be able to make the correct setup and the ball’s position cannot be rushed.

More than simply striking the ball, the setup is critical.

Before you even swing the club, determine where the ball is going to go.

Take time to establish the target line, the ball’s position, your setup, and the angle of your clubs.

Ensure that you have practiced your swing for a few rounds and on the course.

Treat it like a practice shot.

Take time to assess the lie and the slope of the ground so that you can dig the toe or back of the club into the ground when you swing.

Finally, you should use the stance and the grip that you’re comfortable with when making the club.

Most importantly, you should have a reasonable idea of where the ball should go so that you can strike the sweet spot right in the middle of the club’s face.

The ball’s position will also help you find the targets.

How to get Properly Aligned

Golf is a sport that requires maximum concentration, focus, and consistency to perform well. You are going to have to be extremely disciplined in your swing to make a consistent ball strike if you want to be successful.

And there is nothing that you can do to get your body in the same position every time you swing the golf club. That’s why it is important to develop a routine that will allow you to get aligned quickly, and more importantly consistently.

Here’s how it’s done. Let’s assume that you’re on the posture where you tee the ball up and are ready to make a swing. Your feet should be slightly apart, shoulder-width is best.

Then you need to tilt your body on an angle and slightly bend your knees. Your shoulders should be slightly leaned forward and your arms should be bent. In this position, you should be holding your club level to the ground.

Once you are in this position, you should take a stance that makes you perfectly perpendicular to the target. In order to do that, you need to pivot.

First, you need to decide which leg you will pivot on. For right handed players, it is usually the left one. For left handed golfers, reverse the direction.

Alignment Checkpoints

As you are taking your stance on the golf course, there are three checkpoints you should always consider when it comes to alignment:

Line Up Line of Takeaway Address Line

Let’s look deeper into each of these.

The line-up line is the most important of all the alignment checkpoints. It is a straight line, parallel to the target line, running through the center of the ball.

Your feet, eyes, and club face need to be aligned along this perpendicular line as you address the ball.

To help you find this line, take the line of your intended take away and turn it 90 degrees to the left or right. (Go with whichever’s easier for you.)

For example, if your intended take away is straight back, your line-up line would be almost directly to the right of your intended take away. If your take away is straight to the left, your line-up line would be almost directly to the left of your intended take away.

Next, we have a line that is called the address line.

To find it, simply drop a plumb bob from the ball to the center of your body. Then, your club shaft and the club face need to be perpendicular to this line.

Next, we have the line of take away.

Golf Alignment Drills

Although most amateur golfers agree that alignment is important for better distance and accuracy, many are unaware that there is a right way and wrong way to achieve correct alignment.

Here are five common golf alignment mistakes, along with tips on how to fix them and how to achieve better shots.

FRONT LEAN

Fix: One of the biggest issues for many golfers is flexing forward at the torso during the backswing and into the downswing. This leads to a number of problems, including loss of power and accuracy.

To fix this, it is best to feel your stomach muscles tighten, pulling your hips forward and giving you the feeling of sitting back more during your backswing.

During your downswing, you want to feel your hips move forward while maintaining your torso position. Keep your arms at your side until you’ve reached the end of your swing.

BACK LEAN

Fix: The other common alignment problem is the opposite of the front lean: a back lean. Golfers with this problem tend to overcompensate in the opposite direction, letting their arms and torso move backward instead of letting their hips do the work.

To fix this, it is best to relax your arms so they swing freely, while keeping your torso forward.

HANDS OUT IN FRONT

Swing Video Drill

Do This In-Between Your Other Swing Drills

One of the biggest things that can hurt your golf game is a poor launch angle. Why? Because it leads to more misses even when you hit the sweet spot. It also means you’re leaving shots out on the course.

What’s the best way to launch the ball higher? Well, it’s not always what you do, it’s what you don’t do. Don’t cheat the ball.

The ball should start its swing from the moment you address the ball with a club. If you start before that, your left arm snaps forward, it hits the ball ahead of its time, and sends it down and out more often than not.

If you’re looking for a drill that you can do quickly to improve your swing and help you hit that higher ball flight, this is it….

Book Holding Drill

This is great if you want your kids to focus and still keep them entertained as they are working.

Get a pop up book.

Open the book and place it on a table.

Stand to the side and tell them to look right at the pictures in the book.

Tell them that when they are looking right where you tell them to.

Have them look at the book, point to a picture on the right.

Then tell them to look left at the book and to point to the picture on the left.

You can change the numbers to represent the process.

This is a great way to get them interested in reading books that are not all about a story.

Conclusion

A successful round of golf is a moving target that you can never seem to master. It’s an elusive goal that seems to be ever so imminent, but never in reach.

To help you determine exactly what you need to do to improve your game on a magnified level, I’ve given you all the tools that you need to succeed.

Mental, physical, and tactical playing habits are the key to taking your game to the next level. I suggest reading the book from cover to cover in order to fully understand the concepts I discuss. Then see if there’s a section that you keep revisiting, understand, and…better yet…use.

The next time you’re out on the course, try implementing at least one of the new habits that I’ve acquired throughout countless rounds of golf and you’ll feel a difference in your game right away.

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