Hello golfers and welcome to this weeks tips & tricks. I hope you’ve all been enjoying your golf and also enjoying the footie! Its been a good week for the Welsh and English and hopefully there is plenty more excitement to come! I also hope you saw some of the US Open because that was brutal! The course was tough and really showed how human the best golfers in the world are. It really goes to show that golf is a game of mistakes and it’s how you handle them and react to them that makes you the player you are.
This week we’re going to look at the importance of clubface aim and body alignment and ways to ensure you’re giving yourself the best chance of starting the ball down the target line with minimal sidespin. Most people I coach would love to be able to start the ball straighter towards the target and sometimes the most simple principles, in this case alignment, have the biggest impact.
In simple terms, if you would like to hit the straightest shot possible the clubface needs to be aiming straight towards the target. I see lots of people compensating for errors in their swing and the sidespin in their ball flight by aiming away from the target. Then when they do hit a “straight shot” it goes straight towards where they are aiming and not the target.
One way you can practice clubface alignment is with alignment sticks and an intermediate marker. When I’m practicing on the range I very rarely practice without sticks on the floor. This is because I can trust my alignment and therefore any missed shots I know come from my swing and not where the clubface is aiming.
Practice setting up an alignment stick close to where you’re hitting the ball from, parallel to the ball to target line. Then when you place the club behind the ball the clubface is perpendicular to the alignment stick. Instead of this or as well as this you can place a stick in front of the ball between the ball and target. you can then place the club behind the ball and get the clubface pointing straight over the stick. If you don’t want to use a stick you could use a row of tees.
When you’re on the course you won’t have the privilege of placing down alignment stick so you can choose a point between the ball and the target. This could be a long patch of grass or a patch of mud a few inches hole side of the golf ball. You can then trust aiming your clubface towards this point when the club is behind the ball.
Now that the clubface is aiming towards the target we need to make sure the body is aimed the correct way. I see lots of people trying to aim their body towards the target and this can cause lots of errors and confusion in the golf swing.
If we want the ball to travel as straight as possible getting the body parallel to the target line is crucial. If the body aims towards the target at set up it is effectively “closed” and therefore pointing right. This means that if the club swings along the lines of the body the path will be moving right of target of the body will fight this sending the club back over the top. Again I always try to practice with sticks down to make sure my feet are parallel but it’s also important to get the knees, hips, shoulders and elbows parallel. The feet don’t swing the golf club so even if the feet are parallel, the shoulder lines could be a much more influential factor so setting up a camera, asking a friend, or asking me can help you understand this.
If you can trust good alignment on the driving range your eyes will start to see and your body will start to remember how it should feel. When you get better and trusting your alignment it will be much easier on the course and you can then trust aiming straighter towards your targets.
There are obviously lots of other factors at play in the golf swing but the basics of alignment are crucial. If you were shooting a bow and arrow towards a target you would never aim outside of the target then redirect it as you let go of the arrow. You are doing exactly this if you aren’t aiming correctly.
If you would like me to check your alignment or want to understand why the ball still doesn’t go where you want it to go when you have good alignment you know where I am.