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What Is the Best Way to Practice Alignment?


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So, what is the best way to practice alignment? Is it just using alignment sticks at the range? How do you know if your feet, knees,  hips, shoulders are aligned correctly? Maybe video camera? 

Also, just curious what the visual perception of alignment is? I swear mine shifts. Like some days I can easily aim very well. Other days, every time I line up I end up aiming like 5-10 degrees to the right. I will hit a good shot, and be like, WTF is that going straight right. I will lay a club down since my toe positions haven't changed. I step back and confirm I hit a good shot, but just aimed right. Basically, I spent last year feeling like I was aiming 20 yards left of every green. 

Right now, I am thinking this process for on the course. 

1. Find a mark between the ball and the target. Usually something that stands out so I can remember where it is at. 
2. Imagine there is a line connecting the two points. 
3. Set up with the club and make sure my body is parallel to that line.
4. Re-adjust the grip so the club face is correct. I tend to grip with a more closed face, and I want to make sure I am setting the club correctly, and not twisting it with my wrists or arms. Once my feet are set, I can use those lines as a reference for setting the club face. 

 

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Imagining that line sounds difficult to me. I would think it would be better to pick a spot a few feet in front of the ball, set the club down pointing at that spot and then set up. Off the course, you'd want to make sure that you practise setting up square to the clubface. Then if the clubface is in the right spot, your body will be too.

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2 hours ago, Ty_Webb said:

Imagining that line sounds difficult to me. I would think it would be better to pick a spot a few feet in front of the ball, set the club down pointing at that spot and then set up. Off the course, you'd want to make sure that you practise setting up square to the clubface. Then if the clubface is in the right spot, your body will be too.

I try that, and I end up aiming my body way right and keep my clubface pointed at the target. Yea, I think I find it easier to align my body first, then align the clubface to my body. Yea, what you do is probably more common. 

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I have used the intermediate target a few feet in front of the ball for a long time. I sometimes place the clubhead behind the ball, so the intermediate target, ball and my clubhead are all aligned on the target line, then position my feet parallel to that the best I can.

I also find that clubs are not the best to check my alignment since they are somewhat cone shaped, or tapered. If I place the club down along my feet, the outside of the shaft will point in the direction of target, but if I trace the middle of the club, it's pointing right of the target line. For that purpose I prefer an alignment stick.

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(edited)
3 minutes ago, Zeph said:

I also find that clubs are not the best to check my alignment since they are somewhat cone shaped, or tapered. If I place the club down along my feet, the outside of the shaft will point in the direction of target, but if I trace the middle of the club, it's pointing right of the target line. For that purpose I prefer an alignment stick.

When you are aiming like 20+ yards right of the target, I do not think the taper is that big of a deal. It's more of a general test, not exact. This is for a quick check on the course when I feel like I struck the ball well and it ends up way right of my target. I am not carrying an alignment stick with me on every shot ;).

Edited by saevel25

Matt Dougherty, P.E.
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(edited)
1 hour ago, saevel25 said:

I try that, and I end up aiming my body way right and keep my clubface pointed at the target. Yea, I think I find it easier to align my body first, then align the clubface to my body. Yea, what you do is probably more common. 

I think one thing we can all take from this is that we are all different and what works for player A may very well not work for player B. I think perhaps what's most important is that whatever method you use to get set up that you check from time to time that it's actually working. @iacaswould obviously know far better than I would, but I'm guessing that a decent portion of day-to-day variability in how you play comes from little set up changes that you don't notice.

Edited by Ty_Webb
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1 hour ago, Ty_Webb said:

@iacaswould obviously know far better than I would, but I'm guessing that a decent portion of day-to-day variability in how you play comes from little set up changes that you don't notice.

I think it is that a very small change in path and clubface can cause a big dispersion change. It's a lot of things that can cause one person to be off one day versus the other. 

Matt Dougherty, P.E.
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Unfortunately, I don’t have an answer for you, but hopefully someone else does as I have more or less the same issue. 
I try and pick out a divot or something a few feet in front of the ball where I want to aim and try and lineup my body to that.

When I check it, I ‘m nearly always aiming 20 to 30° to the right with my feet. 
I have tried stepping in with my right foot, and trying to draw my left a little behind me, but often it doesn’t feel right and feels like I’ll Duckhook it, which sometimes happens.

The odd thing is occasionally I’ll go out and practice a few holes after eighteen, lay a club down where I think my feet should aim and it feels totally natural, but I can’t seem to do it when I play. 
I’ve ruined more than a few good rounds, by hitting it straight in the trees especially on 14 and 16 both doglegs right. 
 

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FWIW, I do this when I play golf, and so, when I'm not on mats, try to do the same when practicing:

  1. Pick a spot a foot or two in front of the ball.
  2. Walk in from behind the ball going to the left slightly.
  3. Set the face down while being VERY open with my body/stance.
  4. Swing my left foot in while looking at the target. This also opens my face slightly, which I prefer.
  5. This also ensures my stance is slightly open.

In other words, I line my face up first, then my body while looking at the target and feeling like my chest is toward the target, not my left shoulder.

@david_wedzik and I joke that 90% of golfers aim right… and the other 10% are left-handed.


The only way I know to practice it is to use alignment sticks and learn what your preferred alignment feels like, then check it all. The. Time.

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When it comes to set up routine in regards to alignment, I generally prefer my students to: 1) clubface, 2) chest and 3) feet. When the foot alignment happens before chest alignment, we tend to have issues. 

I use this example often. I did an introductory flight for flight school, as a student gave me a certificate for it. As most new flyers are, I was staring at the instruments trying to be perfect. I was doing a 30 degree turn and didn’t realize the nose dropped. It had felt normal. The instructor said I had to learn what flat/level is in the air. Kind of a funny thing to say. He said to look at the horizon and nose and recognize their relationship, in order to determine level.  In golf, we see straight from behind the ball. But, when we set up to the ball, we lose what “straight” is. Have someone hold an alignment stick across your chest when you are in full set up and recognize where your lead shoulder is pointing in relation to your target. 

Philip Kohnken, PGA
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Could you tell us what part of the 24-minute video you're asking about? 😄 

Erik J. Barzeski —  I knock a ball. It goes in a gopher hole. 🏌🏼‍♂️
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1 hour ago, The Flush said:

Any validity to this?

 

I thought the thumbnail picture was @Vinsk but the guy is standing on the wrong side of the ball.

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SAM putt lab talks about perspective straightness putting. I did it with 6 ladies Friday. 3 needed their eye line inside the ball, 1 left, and 2 directly above. Putting, we can change posture and many things and still make a good stroke. That’s not necessarily so for full swing.

Of course, if I’m using a driver/any club and standing in address, my looking at an alignment stick 10yds out along ball line will look right. Our eyes are not on ball line. I’d wonder what he would say about those that don’t use intermediate targets for alignment. Also, are people picking an intermediate target that’s 10yds in front of them? 

He’s right that most people don’t perspectively see straight. But i disagree that it fixes a slice. 

Philip Kohnken, PGA
Director of Instruction, Lake Padden GC, Bellingham, WA

Srixon/Cleveland Club Fitter; PGA Modern Coach; Certified in Dr Kwon’s Golf Biomechanics Levels 1 & 2; Certified in SAM Putting; Certified in TPI
 
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So, I heard that if you are right eye dominant, then it leads to aiming right. I think it is because when you glance up, your right eye is figuring out the angle and it is set back, and maybe you are not turning your chest all the way towards the target. Also, you are offset from the ball, so it adds that angle as well. 

Matt Dougherty, P.E.
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What's in My Bag
Driver; :pxg: 0311 Gen 5,  3-Wood: 
:titleist: 917h3 ,  Hybrid:  :titleist: 915 2-Hybrid,  Irons: Sub 70 TAIII Fordged
Wedges: :edel: (52, 56, 60),  Putter: :edel:,  Ball: :snell: MTB,  Shoe: :true_linkswear:,  Rangfinder: :leupold:
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On 6/6/2024 at 11:41 PM, saevel25 said:

So, what is the best way to practice alignment? Is it just using alignment sticks at the range? How do you know if your feet, knees,  hips, shoulders are aligned correctly? Maybe video camera? 

Also, just curious what the visual perception of alignment is? I swear mine shifts. Like some days I can easily aim very well. Other days, every time I line up I end up aiming like 5-10 degrees to the right. I will hit a good shot, and be like, WTF is that going straight right. I will lay a club down since my toe positions haven't changed. I step back and confirm I hit a good shot, but just aimed right. Basically, I spent last year feeling like I was aiming 20 yards left of every green. 

Right now, I am thinking this process for on the course. 

1. Find a mark between the ball and the target. Usually something that stands out so I can remember where it is at. 
2. Imagine there is a line connecting the two points. 
3. Set up with the club and make sure my body is parallel to that line.
4. Re-adjust the grip so the club face is correct. I tend to grip with a more closed face, and I want to make sure I am setting the club correctly, and not twisting it with my wrists or arms. Once my feet are set, I can use those lines as a reference for setting the club face. 

 

2 hours ago, saevel25 said:

So, I heard that if you are right eye dominant, then it leads to aiming right. I think it is because when you glance up, your right eye is figuring out the angle and it is set back, and maybe you are not turning your chest all the way towards the target. Also, you are offset from the ball, so it adds that angle as well. 

All that is good but once I figured via camera setting up 10 degs open with my natural alignment was actually square to target.  It hasn't been much of an issue since. Having said that I do get visually screwed by wonky hilly courses, so I'm extra careful.

Vishal S.

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On 6/9/2024 at 11:21 AM, iacas said:

Could you tell us what part of the 24-minute video you're asking about? 😄 

The short version is that many people think they are aligned further to the right that what they really are and that they compensate with an over the top move to hit it more left.

War Eagle!

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