Are you aimed right, or "right"?
By Erika Larkin on 7/18/12
I was inspired to write a tip about alignment because of confusion and misunderstanding on this topic amongst more than just a couple of my students. These students included new and experienced golfers, who all seemed to think that their feet should be lined up to the target!
To set the record straight: When you line up to hit a golf shot there are four things that need to be aimed "square" (1) the club face (2) feet (3) hips (4) shoulders.
Now, let’s think for a minute. When you aim a rifle, your eyes are lined up with the barrel. Therefore, the gun is pointed where you are looking. But with golf, your eyes and body are 2-3 feet away from the clubface (the barrel). Since our eyes are not directly on the target line, we have to trust that the clubface is pointed to the target and let our eyes and body stay parallel LEFT (for right-handed golfers). This is "square".
If a light bulb just went off in your head, you are not alone. Most people do not line their shots up from behind the ball; they step up in their address position and then turn their head to see the target. They try and get their body lined up, which they do, and it points to the target! This is dangerous because it could cause any of the following:
The best way to practice: PUT A CLUB ON THE GROUND close to where the tips of your toes are. By seeing the correct alignment visually laid out it will be easier to retrain your eyes to understand what the correct setup feels like and looks like from left of the ball. When you feel ready, test yourself and see if you can line up without the club on the ground. Start behind the ball; see the target line first (from the ball to the target). Find a spot on the ground in front of the ball that is on that line, and then come around the side of the ball. Visualize a line from your ball to that spot and set your clubface square to it. Lastly, set your feet, hips and shoulders parallel to that line. You’re ready to go!
Good alignment takes practice just like the skill of swinging, so put some time and attention into your aim and it will pay off. After all, if you strike the ball perfectly but you are not aimed correctly, it will be in vain! Good Luck!
Erika Larkin is the Director of Instruction at Larkin Golf Learning Community at Stonewall Golf Club in Gainesville, Virginia. She was recently named the 2012 Middle Atlantic PGA "Teacher of the Year" and the 2011 "Top Golf Pro" by Washingtonian Magazine and she's ClubSG's newest columnist. She'll be writing on a variety of topics including instruction, so if you have a question for her or an idea for a column, email her at email@example.com.
Image via Flickr, Aberdeen Proving Ground
[ comments ]
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