In golf, we do not look directly at the target, as athletes do in basketball, baseball, or when shooting a rifle. Rather, the golfer is standing to the side of his target, and when he or she looks at that target, they are usually doing so out of the corner of one eye. As a result, the golfer is actually taking aim to the left of the intended target- unless one knows how to make the necessary compensations.
For that reason, has to learn how to align the body- feet, knees, hips, shoulders, forearms, and even the eyes- parallel to the target line.
The best advice we can offer is to set two clubs on the ground, with one lying inside the ball, and other outside it, but with both parallel to the target line. Think of them as a set of railroad tracks that converge on the target in the distance. Now set your club face at a right angle to the clubs on the ground, while aligning your body to the closest club.
What about ball position? We advocate three ball positions for most shots, depending on the club. Play the ball off your left heel for the driver, fairway woods, long irons, and hybrids. For the middle irons (4-6) move it back the width of one ball, and back one more for the short irons (7-9).
It all sounds simple enough, right? Unfortunately, after watching and teaching hundreds of golfers, we have come to the opinion that there is often a lot of history we need to undo before we can get across those simple concepts about how to line up to the ball.
In other words, many of our students have learned the wrong things from their own mistakes, further complicating those mistakes by trying to compensate for them. If a golfer is prone to hitting the ball to the right- and slicing it- he or she just naturally starts aiming farther and farther to the left over the time.
Of course, sometimes doing so result in a good shot, though not for the right reasons. For instance, we’ve taught several golfers who might have a swing path that is 10 degrees outside/in, and a matching club face position. If they hit the sweet spot, the result is a big pull. Once they’ve spent some time in the trees, they inevitably start aiming farther right until they start pulling the ball online. Suddenly, they are successful enough to start enjoying their round. But they haven’t fixed their problem.
At this point, we might suggest they align themselves properly, but they will still hit the ball left of the fairway and green all day because they also have to work on changing that 10-degree swing path. And if we take them to the range and lay down some clubs in the proper spots, they are likely to start pulling the ball again once we take away the clubs. Without even knowing it, they will naturally start aiming too far right again.
The same is true for where the golfer places his ball. Most slicers tee the ball too far forward in their stance. Why? Because the bottom of their swing arc is usually too far forward as well. This, of course, is due to the incorrect angle and direction from which their club approaches the ball. Until the golfer learns how to compensate for such mistakes, we’re pretty confident this is a typical pattern we’ll continue to see on ranges all over the world.
Conversely, the golfer who hooks the ball- because his club is approaching on a shallower angle and the path is too far from the inside- will generally place the ball too far back in the stance. Such a ball position is far from ideal. However, the golfer will more than likely continue to follow his or her instincts, knowing that ball position gives them the best chance of making solid contact.
So, if you are a rank beginner, please follow our advice on alignment at the start of this article, and put it to use. If , however, you have been playing for a time, please read and then continue on the various drills and tips, where we show faults and cures.
Posture, simply put, is the way your body is positioned in relation to the ball. As we discussed earlier, we want you to take your address position with the knees flexed and a fairly straight back.
This is important because your shoulders need to turn perpendicular to your spine in the golf swing. You can check on this by looking in a mirror or having someone video your swing from the side.
Your posture will also determine the angle that your hips turn on. If your body turns on an improper angle, the club will follow and immediately go off the proper track. The only way to ensure a decent shot after that is to make all sorts of compensations that may or may not work.
It’s always better in golf to get it right the first time
One final note on posture: If you are in the correct position, you should feel comfortable, centered, and dynamic, with your weight centered on your feet, your arms and shoulders relaxed, and your rear end acting as ballast. It’s what David Leadbetter famously called the “athletic” position.
From there you ready to hit the ball flush