A Small Change in Your Alignment Can Make a Big Difference in Your Game
By Brendon Elliott, PGA
Many swing issues stem from problems in pre-swing fundamentals. Posture, Grip, Alignment, and Ball Position are examples of pre-swing concepts that may require a look at when things get a little out of whack. Below is a snapshot of one critical pre-swing area that even the best in the world look at when problems creep up with their games.
One area that many golfers struggle with is getting correctly aligned to their intended target. I teach students to visualize the concept of Alignment as being like a set of railroad tracks. For right-handed golfers, the right track is an imaginary straight line that goes from behind the clubhead and ball, through the clubhead and ball and on to the intended target. This is their Target Line. The left track, for right-handed golfers, is an imaginary line that runs parallel left of the target line, or that right track. With this left track a golfer will align their feet first, and then be cognizant of their knees, hips and shoulders stacking up on top of that foot alignment. In doing this, their feet, knees, hips, and shoulders will all be parallel left of their intended target line or that right track. The left track is known as your body line.
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Making sure the right track (Target Line) and left track (Body Line) are running parallel to each other will help in giving a golfer a chance to swing the club on a path that will send the ball straight towards their target. Variations of this concept may eventually be introduced that will allow golfers to shape shots, but knowing this standard alignment set up first is extremely important.
Many golfers lead their set up routine by lining their body to the intended target first and then set the clubface. This sets them up with the body going far right of where it should be and the clubface even further right. Some, while lining the body up at the target, even attempt to align the clubface at the target as well. In either case, the path of the swing will have to be manufactured to try and create a shot that flies on the intended target line. Simple put, poor alignment creates poor swing habits.
It is critical to understand and work on alignment as the path of a golfer’s swing is dependent on proper body, and target alignment. In addition, at set up, it is important to be aware of the clubface setting perpendicular to the target line, or the right track. This remarkably simple yet sometimes overlooked fundamental is that of squaring the clubface to the intended target.
Regardless of what swing issues a golfer may have, taking a hard look at these critical pre-swing fundamentals is always a great place to start. I highly suggest that golfers find someone to act as an extra set of eyes for them as they work on their alignment...and have them take video as well. For many, seeing themselves on video is a game changer, especially as it relates to getting your lines on track.
Brendon R. Elliott, PGA
Brendon Elliott is considered by his peers in the industry as one of the top youth golf coaches in the world. He is a multiple, local, state, regional, national and world award winning instructor with a focus on junior golfers ages 3-18. With numerous appearances on Golf Channel's Morning Drive, local TV, nationwide radio and countless publications, Elliott is one of the foremost experts in the youth golf arena. His Little Linksters 501c3 nonprofit is recognized as an example for introducing children as young as three to the game as well as how to help introduce youth with disabilities to our golf. Elliott has been recommended by industry titian's such as Nicklaus, Player, Floyd, Sorenstam, Speith and more. Among his numerous accolades, Elliott was named the PGA of America's 2017 PGA National Youth Player Development Award Winner in 2017.