Alignment. This is the one thing on the golf range that I never discuss with customers. That’s not to say it isn’t important. Far from it. But the nature of the golf range negates the need to check this. When you are in the bay, you have the mat, the netting and the structure of the range building. All of these point you in a particular direction and there is little you can do to stop that. I would strongly recommend that you do not try to fight the direction your bay is making you aim towards. Go with it. Simply, make sure at the start of your practice session, you stand behind the bay and satisfy yourself as to which of the flags/greens you are aiming at.
Out on a golf course it is quite different. Sadly, you will not be able to take advantage of guidance markers like you can at the range. So, checking your alignment is a valid exercise. Although, if I am honest, I also feel that people often blame their alignment when, if fact, the root cause of their poor shots, lies elsewhere. The statement, “I must have been aiming there”, is often spouted after a shot disappears in an errant direction. In fact, a close look at the grip might be more advantageous.
Like firing a rifle
Think of alignment as a little like firing a rifle. I may not be a marksman by any means, but if I point myself in the right direction, my bullet will end up in the general target area. If you feel that alignment is an issue for you, here is a simple process to try: set up to play your shot, then just before you swing, drop the club along your toes. Then take a few steps back behind your prone club and see if it is aiming parallel left of the ball, to the target line.
If this drill does not work for you, here’s another one you might care to try. Stand behind the ball looking along the ball to target line. Search for a point a couple of yards in front that is in line with the target – something like a twig, a different colour piece of grass, anything like that. Then approach the golf ball and aim the club at your chosen object. It is much easier to aim at something 2 yards in front of you then 200 yards in front of you. When the clubhead is aimed at your short-range target, then move your feet into position, parallel to the clubhead. You will find that this will improve your aim immensely.
Just one note of caution. Please practice this, so it happens quickly when on the golf course. Let’s not inadvertently add to the length of time a round of golf takes!
By Jon Woodroffe: Master Professional, World of Golf London