by Frank Peter
The following Golf Lesson is reprinted with permission from the "Golf Beginner Guide", a full 272 page resource for Golf Beginners. For only $29.50 you get an incredible amount of invaluable tips, lessons and advice - great value for money. Click the above link to find out more!
The majority of amateurs I teach align too far to the right, setting themselves up for the familiar "over-the-top" swing in an effort to get the ball on line. The result is usually a pull, a slice, or glancing contact with the ball.
The main alignment check points are the feet, knees, hips, and shoulders. Unless you're making a conscious effort to draw or fade the ball, these points should all be consistent and parallel to the target line.
Start Behind the Ball
The first step in your pre-shot routine is to get directly behind the ball and draw an imaginary line from your ball to your target. You'll see most pros do this on TV but seldom will you see amateurs taking this approach. This allows you to get a good sense of target and to visualize a positive ball flight.
Square the Clubface to the Target
Pick a spot such as a leaf or divot in front of the ball that's on the same imaginery target line you saw when you stood behind the ball. As you set up, just align the clubface perpendicular to that spot. Another way is to line up the label on the ball toward the target and then the clubface. Check yourself often as this is an area that requires a great deal of precision.
Place Clubs on the Ground
In practice, one of the most effective ways to train proper alignment is to place two clubs in a parellel position on the ground. Start by aiming the first club directly at the flag and another parallel to it, approximately where your feet would be. Laying clubs on the ground is also a great way to spot-check how you're doing. If you set up in what you think is the correct position and every once in a while lay down the clubs, it will allow you to catch poor habits before they stick. Remember, if the feet are to the right of the target, you'll have a harder time clearing the left hip and using the legs properly. This drill ensures perfect aim.
Check Your Shoulder Position
As you look back and forth toward the flag--veryifying your aim--there's a tendency to leave the shoulders open. This will prove counterproductive to an otherwise good position. To check this last area, try placing a club on the line of the shoulders with the grip end facing the flag. If you extend the line of where the grip is pointing, you'll get a good indication of direction. In doing this, you can also make sure that the shoulder line is pointing in the same direction as the line your feet are aimed on.
As you can see, alignment is imperative. In fact, without it, you could swing and hit the ball like Tiger Woods but never make a birdie or hit a green.
NOTE: If you have trouble hitting your clubs correctly there is a good chance that your clubs don't suit you properly.
The reason for not improving your game may well be is due to badly fitted clubs. Think about it: people come in all different shapes and sizes, but most golfers simply buy their clubs off the rack in the golf shop.
Unless you are completely 'standard' and 'average' you should consider custom fitting for your next clubs. This can be done online, and it is free, quick and easy (and doesn't hurt a bit). Visit these two sites for free online club fitting, just follow the instructions given there:
'Club Fitting Wizard' at Pinemeadow Golf
'e-fit System' at GigaGolf