Golf Game Management X: Misalignment
& It's Pitfalls
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X. Do you have problems with
alignment? Yes, if you're like most.
topic of this this series is Golf Game Management. Can
you shoot lower scores without physical improvement? The
answer is a resounding, YES! Not that I'm
advocating not improving your ball striking and short
game skill level.
I played golf
today with a 3 friends. One of them, a 16 handicap,
did the following on 5 separate holes. He'd hit his
tee shot way left, and then hit his provisional way
right. Each time, he hit the ball solidly and got
very good distance. The problem, was he was in the
My friend, Gord,
asked me, "Do you know what I'm doing wrong in my
swing?" It told him his initial swing each time was
fine. Since he hit the ball solidly with good distance,
he must have misaligned. Gord doesn't have
an alignment procedure he follows. He just step up
to the ball and take a peak. 9 times out of 10, he's
aiming way left of his target (he's a lefty).
misalign. Right handed golfers usually misalign too
far right and left handed golfers usually misalign
too far left. In so doing, if they put a good swing
on the ball, the ball flies off the intended line.
Many golfers, Gord included, compensate in their
swings to avoid gross errors. Gord tends to aim too
far left and in his downswing, he comes over top
of the ball to so it goes right of where he is aiming.
to misalign on short shots as well, even putting.
Misalignment is one of the major causes of shots
going offline and one of the major causes for poor
swing habits. It's important that you, the golfer,
develop a method of alignment for all shot so that
you can successfully align as often as possible.
If you're properly aligned, then you'll know that
an errant shot is due to an improper swing and not
an improper alignment. It's very important that you
and your body get proper feedback from you shots.
So, how can
a golfer successfully align on his shots. Well, I'll
advocate two methods which I use very successfully.
You'll see many pros use them as well.
Pick a Spot on Your Target Line
Stand behind the ball. Visualize a
target line connecting your ball to your target.
Pick a spot about 3 feet or so out in front of your
ball that is on your target line (a leaf, tee, blemish
of grass, ball mark). This spot is your intermediate
target. You will now align yourself to this intermediate
target and thus at the same time will be aligned
to your primary target.
You then address the ball, aiming at
the intermediate target. What I do is visualize
the target line between my ball and the intermediate
target. I place my club down on the target line behind
the ball such that the clubface crosses the target
line in a perpendicular fashion. The leading edge
of the clubface and the target line form the letter,
T, with the clubface being the top of the T (the
T is actually laying on its side). This process is
called squaring the clubface to the target line.
here for a photo of target line
and a line parallel to the target line.
Once the clubface is correctly in face,
I then align the rest of my body so that my feet,
knees, hips and shoulders are parallel to the target
line, and thus perpendicular to the clubface. This
process is called squaring your body to the clubface.
Of course, there is error in the intermediate
target you pick (not being exactly on the target
line), error in squaring your clubface to the target
line and error in squaring your body to the clubface.
But, as you practice and perform the procedure, you'll
get quite proficient at it.
Swivel Your Head & View theTarget
This second method requires you to
be wearing a hat, preferably a standard golf hat
that has a protruding rim. I use this second method
as a double check of Method #1. Method #2 is based
more on feel and can be prone to more error.
If you address the ball properly and
are correctly aligned, and then swivel your head
(rotate it by turning the neck only, without bending
the neck), the target will always appear in the same
portion of your eye's view. If you're wearing a hat,
the target will always be in the same position relative
to the corner of the hat's brim.
When I used to wear glasses, I would
merely swivel my head and the target would appear
in the upper left hand corner of my left glass lens
(I'm right handed).
To help, you can place something at
the corner of the brim of you hat like a paper clip
or money clip (some ball mark repair tools have a
clip). The difficult part of this process is identifying
the correct position relative to the brim of your
hat. Follow this process to make sure you're properly
*In front of your ball, place a club
so that the shaft lies along the target line towards
*Place another club parallel to the
first in a position close to where your feet will
be when you address the ball.
*Address the ball ensuring the your
feet and body are aligned parallel the clubs.
*Now, swivel your head so that you
can view the target. Take note of where the target
is relative to your brim.
When you go to play a shot, place your
club behind the ball, swivel your head and adjust
your stance so that the target is in the correct
I find this second method works great
for all of my shots except putting and chipping (because
they are to short). And, I use this second method
as a check to the first, which is more accurate,
That's it!! Give it a try and let me
know how it works for you. You might want to try
attaching something to your brim to make it easier
to view your target.
As I also recommend in
Golf Ball" study, a golfer should play
a golf ball that feels good to him/her. One golf
ball doesn't go significantly farther than any other
(even though ball manufacturers would lead you to
believe otherwise). The most important quality of
a golf ball is its feel for the short game, which
is where golfers use the most of their shots. If
your budget permits you, you should use a ball like
the Titleist Pro V1 because it is soft which means
you can judge short shots (putting and chips) better
and it provides more backspin, while at the same
time provideing the same distance as a hard ball.
In my opinion, playing
a Titleist Pro V1 that you found (as long as it looks
relatively new and has likely been recently lost)
is better than a new hard golf ball, like a Top-Flite.
The wind changes the distance
the ball flies more when hitting into the wind than
with the wind. How much more? I have calculated that
with my computer projectile model and reveal the
amount in my paper on Wind
Speed Effects. You can purchase your copy for
only $5.99. Click
Order your "Altitude
Club Print" now and have greater confidence
in your club selection when you travel to different
courses. The cost is only $9.99, less than a sleeve of
Take a look below the suggestion box for
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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
To actually improve
significantly, we all need to:
1. Improve our swings
using CD Interactive, Hit
2. Learn how to swing
simpler like the Iron Byron with the great coffee table
3. Improve our physical
fitness and strength.
Golf Trainer Power Performance Programô and Ultimate
Golf Fitness Ebook
4. Improve our mental
5. 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 to
become better prepared for you best golf season
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