The Point of Aim
If you read last month’s tip, your grip should be in balance with light pressure and you’re ready to square the clubface. So now we’re talking about aim, or the squaring of the clubface to the target line. Aim is the same whether you are putting the ball one foot or driving the ball 300 yards, and the process should never change to be consistent. You wouldn’t aim a rifle or an arrow without sighting to a target, so don’t aim your golf club recklessly either.
The #1 key to alignment is being able to see an imaginary line that runs from the ball towards the intended target. This imaginary line is your target line. The only place to see this line is when standing behind the ball while letting your eyes drift back and forth from the target to the ball. I prefer to pick a spot in front of the ball, in the turf no more than 18 inches out, perhaps a divot or discoloration in the grass to help as an intermediate target. Now that you have a reference line through the ball and your spot that is used for alignment of the club and body, you’ve got a target line. This process just takes a few seconds to establish a visual, so be patient and don’t rush.
To square the clubface to the target line use the leading edge of the club and set it perpendicular to this line, now you can position your feet and body to match the club head. I like to imagine that I am standing on a railroad tracks; with my club head perpendicular to the outside track while my body is parallel to the inside track. You are now in a square position in which to swing towards the target. Another aspect of alignment that I feel is very important is that once we see the target line and we walk to the side of line to square up, you must start with the ball in line with the center of your body or in line with your sternum. This will happen when you straddle the center line of a T-square. If you are off one inch from this starting position you will struggle with aim.
A problem may arise when you look to the target to check your alignment. With everyone having a different dominate eye, being bent over and looking sideways, you don’t always feel aligned. You may see the target more to the right or more to the left. You need to trust this position and swing. Your eyes will play tricks on you with alignment. Famed putting guru Scotty Cameron once said to me, “Trust squareness in your mind and you will trust it in your swing”, that tip made the light bulb go on for me and has always given me confidence with alignment.
Drills for improvement:
1) Place a T-square on the ground and practice setting up to it; set the club face perpendicular to the top line and center your body to the center line, you are now ready to set up to the ball. Always practice with a line in front of you; this will help you feel the sensation of squareness. Try this at home in front of a mirror and your alignment will surely improve.
2) When at the range, practice your aiming process and you’ll find that repetitions of a quality procedure will make it consistent. Next month we’ll talk about the set up, ball position, posture, and get you into an athletic position for power.
The Ridge Golf Course