Bearing Dowm, Tuning In
I’m a great believer that the most glaring error for most golfers doesn’t have anything to do with the swing at all. If you’ve ever hit a good golf shot, then your swing has the capability of doing it more often. You may not be fundamentally sound, but if you’ve made thousands of swings, you probably have a move that is relatively grooved and could repeat itself more frequently...
IF you would only give it a chance.
I am a near-fanatical observer of golfers. I watch how they approach various shots, course management, club selection, shot selection . . . pretty much everything. But what puzzles me the most is how little attention most golfers give to the pre-shot routine, and more specifically, their set-up and ball position. What I see with overwhelming frequency is that the average golfer is terribly inconsistent with their alignment. They aim varying degrees right or left of their intended target line, which seriously affects ball position from shot to shot. Some even aim right and left of the target line inconsistently.
There is just no way your “grooved” swing can repeat itself if the body alignment and ball position is moving all over the place. The golf ball is 1.68” in diameter and even the largest clubs have an effective impact area of only a couple of square inches. So, if you are even an inch or so off in your set-up, alignment and ball position – and most mid- to high-handicappers are off much more than that – you’ve reduced your chances of solid contact significantly.
More importantly, your eye/hand coordination is working overtime to try to get the club on the ball when your alignment and ball position is off. No matter how you set up, you look at your intended target line, so your eyes are “programming” your body what to do with the golf clubhead. Your subconscious mind “knows” that your learned swing isn’t going to produce a shot that goes on that line your eyes have programmed, so it makes adjustments to your learned swing to try to compensate for your alignment error. That’s why golfers who line up right of the target line tend to pull the ball all the way across the line and left. And why golfers who set up left tend to come through impact with the face wide open and hit big slices that end up right.
If you want to hit more good golf shots, regardless of what your swing looks like, just pay closer attention to your alignment and ball position. Bear down and tune in to what you are trying to do with that particular shot.
Pick a spot in the grass about two feet in front of the ball on your intended line, carefully aim the clubhead at that spot, then set up to the properly aligned clubhead. Pay attention to the position of the ball in relation to your stance and/or body core, and then swing away. Consistency in your set-up leads to consistency in your swing and shot outcomes. If you will develop solid fundamentals in the alignment and ball position, this game will get a great deal easier immediately.
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I got taught this by my Dad when he was introducing me to the game of golf 30 years ago. Its a part of my set up every time I hit a shot and I know I'm aiming properly at least if I use it. I also pass it on to every beginner I see having issues where they are aiming as he did to me.
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