One of the biggest issues for amateur golfers is improper alignment. You can hit a well-struck ball perfectly straight, but if you are not aligned properly to your target, you will miss it every time. Here is a great Six-Step Method to Perfect Alignment.
Always pick your target from behind the ball, not beside the ball. If you are putting your club across your hips to line up to the target or along the toe line of your feet … STOP. The first step in alignment is to pick your target from behind the ball. You will do this whether you are putting, chipping, hitting a sand shot or a tee shot.
When choosing a target you want to pick a spot you want to hit or roll the ball toward. It is often too difficult to line up with a spot on the fairway or the left side of the green as there isn’t something specific enough to aim at. Pick a target line you want the ball to travel on. The line may be a tree behind the green, the chimney of a house in the distance in line with the spot you want to land on the fairway, or the flag stick. Make sure your target is specific. Do not choose to line up at a whole house, but rather, the window or chimney on a house.
Use your dominant eye to pick the target or target line.
Here’s how to determine your dominant eye:
- Pick a specific object at least 100 yards away such as a yardage sign, a tree or a post.
- Make a triangle with your hands by placing the tips of your thumbs and index fingers together, as I’m doing in Photo 1.
- Stretch your arms out — no “T-Rex” arms. With both eyes open place the object in the middle of your triangle.
- Now close your left eye, but leave the right eye open, and then close your right eye, leaving the left eye open. On one of those trials your object will stay in the middle of the triangle and on the other it will shift substantially almost out of view from the triangle. The eye, when opened, that keeps the object in the middle of your triangle, is your dominant eye.
Once you know which is your dominant eye, stand behind your ball, open that eye and close your other, non-dominant eye, as I’m doing in Photo 2.
- With your dominant eye open, line the shaft of your club up, over the center of your ball, as I’m doing in Photo 3. As you look down the shaft it should look like the shaft is splitting your ball in half. Line the club head up directly in line with your target (tree, window, flagstick, etc…)
- Look for a piece of debris, an old divot, a broken tee, or a strange looking blade of grass in line with the shaft of your club. It should be 1 foot to 2 feet away from the ball. This is your intermediate target. It is much easier to line your club face up to a target 1 to 2 feet away versus something 200-plus yards away.
- Square your club face up to the intermediate target, THEN set your feet down. Never set your feet first. Always set your club face up first and take your natural stance.
You can use this process in all full swing shots both from the tee box and the fairway.