Golf Alignment -- Swing Path and Solid Contact
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As fall sets it, some of you might be winding down your golf season. Here are some ideas for treating yourself before you hang up the clubs.
Tap HERE for some great Fall Golf Holiday ideas.
In the last newsletter, we addressed the importance of alignment with the putting. I outlined a procedure to use to improve your alignment. View the previous newsletter
For those in the north, golf season is all but over. For those of you that are still playing, there is less time to play due to significantly fewer daylight hours (more for those of you in the southern hemisphere). Calculate how many hours of daylight in your area by using my new sunrise/sunset calculator. Tap HERE for the calculator.
As I've reiterated in my newsletters, proper alignment is essential to play well. Research studies have shown that the vast majority of amateur golfers misalign which causes swing faults, poor ball striking and errant golf shots. Below, I'll outline how proper alignment can help produce maximum clubhead speed and solid contact. It's all a result of the optimum club head swing path, which a proper alignment can facilitate.
With the off season upon us, what a perfect opportunity to work on the alignment aspect of the game. You can do so without hitting a golf ball. You can do it in the comfort of your home or office. The proper alignment process can be learned through consistent practice. Taking a club and aligning yourself a couple of times a day will go a long ways towards your golf game improvement.
Whether there's a commercial break on TV or you need a change of pace from the task at hand, take 15 minutes or so each day to do the following:
1. Pick up a club and go through the alignment process. At the very least, gripping the club will keep your hands familiar with the club during the off season. The more times you practice your alignment, the more "automatic" the process will become. I'd use a 5-iron (medium length club) as well as a putter.
2. You can even attach a laser putting device to the face of your iron. Because of the loft of the iron, the laser will point higher but it will indicate the direction the club face is pointing. You can monitor your progress by keeping track of how close to your target you're aiming. Can you aim the club face within a few inches of your target (that can be the middle of a painting on a wall or a corner in the room)?
3. Either before or after practicing your alignment, do some stretches and some sit-ups. Increasing your flexibility and mid-section strength will enable you to increase your club head speed. For an excellent total golf fitness program, I'd recommend this DVD collection.
So, how does poor alignment lead to poor ball striking? Well, not aligning properly will force you to make compensations in your swing to get the ball flying towards the target. Most golfers align right of their targets, thus most golf balls miss right of their targets. You body will unconsciously adjust over time and you'll begin to swing the club outside-to-inside the target line. Such a club head path decreases maximum club head speed and solid contact.
In order to make solid contact with the ball with maximum club head speed, the optimum club head path is inside-to-along the target line-to-inside, which is depicted in the diagram to the right below. Most amateurs swing outside-to-inside like the first diagram on the left below. A minority of players swing from inside-to-outside like the last diagram below (not ideal but much better than the outside-to-inside path).
Swinging the club from the inside to along the target line to the inside gives the club the best chance of hitting the ball on the center of the club face with maximum speed. Misaligning from the beginning will encourage the golfer to modify his/her swing path to get the ball on target. Below are the results of some testing done by Golf Digest on hitting the "sweet spot" which demonstrates the consequences of not hitting the ball solidly; you fall short of your target.
During the test, a 6-iron was hit eight times on each of 13 different points on the clubface. The points included five vertical rows centered on the center line of the scored area of the clubface and three horizontal rows separated by one-quarter inch with the first row beginning one-half inch above the sole. A total of 104 shots were hit with each iron, and the totals were combined to produce a composite result.
WHAT THEY FOUND: The concentric ellipses on the iron face (above) represent a composite image of two-, four- and six-yard losses in carry distance from the typical iron's hot spot (point of maximum carry as well as the center of ellipses). Of the 13 points, the average for point No. 1 produced the maximum carry distance, and the remaining points' distances fell off by varying degrees. For example, point No. 2 produced a shot that landed about five feet to the right of the target and nine feet short of the target, and point No. 11 landed about 13 feet right and 36 feet short. Mis-hits to the left or right of point No. 1 produced better results than those up or down from No. 1. On average, the best points are 1, 2, 4 and 9 (average miss: about seven feet), and the worst were spots 3, 7, 11 and 13 (average miss: approximately 36 feet).
The more you practice proper alignment, the better you'll become. Take the time this winter to practice the alignment process so it will be automatic by next season. Proper alignment promotes the optimum swing path and the greatest chance of solid contact with maximum speed. Remember, "practice makes perfect." Or, even more to the point about the importance of accurate alignment, are the five P's:
Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance
Take a look at the Laser Putting Device that I use and consider getting one for yourself. You can use it to improve your putting alignment. You can even attach it to the face of your iron when practicing your alignment process. Order yours TODAY! Only $49.95
If you'd like some help with your mental game, fellow Canadain, Lisa Brown is a mental toughness coach for National and Olympic athletes, and she has written some excellent ebooks. Click HERE to take a look. If you have any other great ideas of why or how to use new golf technology to improve, please share them with me and I'll include them in the next newsletter. Submit your suggestions HERE .
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A list of resources that have been used to produce
this newsletter can be found on my web site here.The focus of my
site is to utilize science and math to lower your score.
New technology is one way to achieve this, but to be
honest, the technology is one small piece of the
puzzle.To actually improve
significantly, we all need to:1. Improve our swings
using CD Interactive, Hit
Down Dammit!2. Learn how much putts break by using BreakMaster Green Reader!3. Improve our physical
fitness and strength.
Golf Trainer Power Performance ProgramT and Ultimate
Golf Fitness Ebook4. Improve our mental
Mind Software5. Improve our Probable
Golf games. Learn how to make better choices on the
course through knowing how shot patterns and reading the
elements and course better.Click on the links above
to take a look at ways that I personally use myself and
recommend you try as well.
Hope I provided some useful ways for you to
become better prepared for you best golf season
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