In golf, there are a few basic fundamentals that even the best players in the world fall back on when their game goes a little “wrong”. Posture, grip, and alignment, or what some of us in the coaching profession call PGA, are some of those basics that we keep coming back to. These three basic areas are the backbone and the building blocks on which we root everything.
Over the course of my career I have worked with students from beginners to advanced students who have the right orientation. If a golfer is aligned even one degree to the left or right of the intended target line with his club face, or one degree to the left or right with his body line, he could be significantly off with the final result of his stroke.
Growing up, I was introduced to the game by my father. He taught me to think of alignment as a series of railroad tracks. I heard this concept several times during my training from my golf coaches and mentors.
Every now and then, when I ask students to choose a target and align themselves with it, I put them right next to it (for right-handers). The first instinct seems to be to align the body with the target rather than the racket. Aside from the obvious misses to the right, setting up to the right of the target also leads to other problems such as a poor swing path.
The left lane
The left lane represents an imaginary straight line that runs behind the ball / club head, through the ball / club head and on to the intended target.
The right track
The right track is a little more complex. This lane should run parallel to the left (for right-handers) of your right lane or finish line. This track contains your toe line and then your knee line, hip line and shoulder line stacked over it.
The alignment process
Start about 10 yards behind the ball and examine the shot in front of you
In your mind’s eye, draw an imaginary line along your intended finish line
Look that imaginary line up and down a few times and paint a picture in your head, from behind the ball, through the ball, and on to the intended target
Walk towards the ball looking at this imaginary line … start focusing on a point closer to the ball to use as a reference point as you aim your body at the ball
Put your clubface just behind the ball and see if you are still good at the finish line
Now concentrate on placing your feet parallel to the left of the finish line or that right lane
Focus on having your knee, hip and shoulder lines stacked all over your toe line and parallel to the left of your finish line or that right lane … remember, your body will be parallel to the left of the finish line
Sometimes I suggest students find a spot near their target that is parallel to the left of it and use that as a guide to check out those body lines or your left lane. Think back to elementary school and the definition of parallel, remember that these lines or tracks cannot cross at any point on the elongated lines.
Find a trainer
Take the next step on your golf trip by connecting with a PGA coach in your area.