Principles of Alignment

FaldoajGaulBy A.J. Gaul
Certified Instructor
Marriott Golf Academy – Palm Desert, CA

One of the more critical but unfortunately most misused fundamentals is that of parallel alignment.

In its proper form, alignment is set with the clubface aiming along the ball to target line, and the body aiming parallel to this line.  When accomplished properly, alignment takes on the look of a railroad track, with the ball to target line representing the outer rail and the body line representing the inner rail of the track.  One note to keep in mind- the whole body should be lined in the parallel position… meaning shoulders, forearms, hips, thighs and feet should all be placed in the parallel alignment principle when addressing the golf ball. FaldoProper-Alignment
FaldoOpen-Alignment Alignment most often becomes misused as players begin to use alignment as a compensation for ball flight or poor shot shape.  In the most common example, as players begin to see shots slicing hard from left to right, the body begins to align itself further and further left of the target.  Unfortunately, this compensation leads to a very open alignment position which will exaggerate the swing fault, which is causing the poor shot shape.
Fundamentals, such as alignment need to be ingrained on the practice tee through repetition in the same manner as swing changes.  In order to ingrain proper alignment on the practice tee, be sure to first select a precise target.  It is very easy to fall into the habit on the practice tee of just banging balls straight ahead without much thought of target selection or alignment.

So the first step is to select a specific target. This target could be a flagstick, a tree, or anything that presents itself to you on the practice tee.  Upon selecting a target, lay clubs, or any other straight objects, on the turf to represent both ball to target line and body line.  Begin using these objects to check clubface alignment, making sure the leading edge of the golf club appears square to the ball to target line and the whole of the body is parallel to this line.



As alignment steadily improves, the path and plane of which the club is swinging will also improve, leading to both straighter and longer golf shots.





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