I assist many golfers who have aim issues, which in turn create significant club path issues within their swing. The predominant issue is aiming too “closed” to the target — as in too far right for a right-handed player — forcing the golfer to create the classic “Over the Top” swing.
What you have to realize first is in order to correct the club path issue, you must first correct your aim. Doing so with an alignment stick — or a spare golf club — is an effective way for your eyes to see a proper alignment, so long as you go through your pre-shot routine prior to hitting every practice shot.
Once you are well on your way to aiming better, you can introduce what I call the 45 Degree Stick Drill to help you flatten the club path of your swing, which allows you to store more energy in your swing and release that energy to the ball at the right time.
Place an alignment stick on the ground indicating a parallel left alignment (right-handers) or a parallel right align-ment (Left-handers) to your intended target. Take another alignment stick and force one end of the stick into the ground at a 45-degree angle to your target that also is parallel to your align-ment stick. See Photo 1.
Stand to the sticks in an address position (Photo 2) and make practice swings so that on the way down, the club does not touch the 45 degree stick.
When ready, place a ball underneath the end of the 45 Degree Stick. At-tempt to make a swing, hitting the ball without hitting the stick. (Photos 3-5)
At first you may hit the stick. Most of the time this is due to you trying to hit the ball far and hard, versus accom-plishing the objective: DO NOT HIT THE STICK! Be willing to gear down your swing so it resembles a pitch shot swing, if needed, to achieve the desired outcome.
Doing this over a period of time, focusing first on proper alignment that allows a more consistent and flatter club path, will significantly increase the distance you hit each club and provide more opportunity for you to put a square club face on the ball at impact.
John Hughes is a PGA Master Professional based in Kissimmee, Fla. Reach him at www.johnhughesgolf.com