What is alignment in golf and why is it important?
Everyone has a route to work or a map to find a location. Without that route or map, it’s difficult to get from one point to another in the simplest and quickest method.
In golf, we need a map to show the golf ball how to get from A to B.
Without correct alignment, the ball can, and will fly in lots of different directions and end up adding countless strokes to your score.
Imagine driving down a double-lane road. Every road leads to a location. A specific point.
If we want to drive straight down the road our vehicle stays between the white line and yellow lines on the right side. We continue this way until we need to change directions. This is the roadway telling us that to get from your current location to another location you need to follow these lines.
The same is true in golf. If we want our golf ball to go straight down the fairway we need to imagine that the fairway is a double-lane highway.
Similarly, imagine that the golf ball is one of the train track rails and you are the other train track rail. That train only stays on the track and continues in the same direction because both sides of the wheels run in the exact same direction, or parallel to each other.
If I am the train I travel in the same manner of direction as the opposite side. If I am a car and wanted to pass you I would travel in the exact same direction in the lane directly to your left.
In both cases, I would be parallel to the opposite side. What this means in golf is that for the ball to travel straight down the fairway 3 things need to happen.
- I must initiate movement of the golf ball.
- I must set my body parallel (feet, knees, hips, shoulders) to the direction I want the ball to travel and perpendicular or square to the ball (facing the ball at a 90-degree angle)
- I must set my clubface square to the ball (clubface and ball must be at a 90-degree angle)
If you are a right-handed player that means your body will almost always align parallel left of the target (ball line) and as a left-handed player your body will almost always align parallel right of the target (ball line).
Almost, because there is an occasion where this will change in a golf swing.
This is what is called a Square Set Up.
- An open setup would have the body alignment position move away from the target line (to the left for a right-handed player).
- A closed setup would have the body alignment position move toward the target line (to the right for a right-handed player).
For your clubface to be perpendicular or square in the address position. The toe must point to 12 and the heel to 6.
If the face of the golf club was pointing at 1 and 7 the clubface would be open. If it was facing at 5 and 11 it would be closed.
The toe must point to 12 and the heel to 6.
If the face of the golf club was pointing at 1 and 7 the clubface would be open
If it was facing at 5 and 11 it would be closed.
In the photo below, the clubface is aligned square to the target line with the face aiming directly at 12 o’clock and in this case, the heel and toe aligned square to 9 and 3 respectively.
The player’s body is aligned square to the target line by being aimed (feet, knees, hips, shoulders) parallel left of the arrow target line of the ball.
Only 1 thing goes to the target. The Ball.
If you decide to aim your body at the target, understand that the ball will need to draw or hook to get there. And if you aim your body away from the target the ball will need to fade or slice to get there.
It will NEVER travel there in a straight line unless you somehow PULL or PUSH it to the target
This is how the golf ball arrives at its destination. As with any travel adventure, there are alternative ways of arriving at the same destination. But this would be the easiest.