Monday, June 27, 2011

Set Up and Alignment Issues

The longest conversations I have with the customers of the United States Golf Academy are always about set up and alignment. There is a real lack of understanding out there about how these fundamentals influence your golf swing and the quality of the shots your swing will produce. So this week I thought I would take on one of the myths of proper alignment.

Myth. The appropriate ball position is determined by the relationship of the ball to the feet.

Truth. You don’t hit the ball with your feet! It is better to use the parts of your body that move the club as a reference to determine where the ball should be positioned. The priority for a good setup is to position the body in such a way so is in the proper position at the appropriate time during your swing. How that ball position appears when compared to our feet is much less important than matching it with the moving parts like arms, hands and shoulders that actually position the club for the blow. I can move my feet to adjust the ball position. But if I move my feet am I still aligned in the proper direction? Since the relationship of club to ball is most important then it might be easier to use hands, arms and shoulders as the reference.

The better way to learn the proper ball position is to memorize the relationship of your arms to your torso. Then maintaining this position, place the club behind the ball with the face of the club pointed toward the target. By putting both hands on the club first, if you need to change the direction the club is pointed, the body automatically moves to adjust to the new hand position. This will insure a consistent alignment relative to the club face. Since I use the parts of the body that will swing the club as a reference to position the ball, I have a better chance of a proper ball position. The feet will go where they should to balance the body.

So how do you memorize the arm, hand, body relationship? Without using a ball, set the club on the ground, put your hands on the club, and then take your stance. Do it in this order! Now without moving the club or your arms or hands, stand up. Now put a ball on the ground. Again without moving the club, ground, bend over. Move your feet and walk yourself into the proper position as if you were a robot and positioning it to a golf ball. The relationship of ball to hands, arms and shoulders does not change, but the feet move the entire mechanism-your body -into position to strike the ball. This procedure when practiced becomes seamless and will greatly increase your consistency and ball striking ability. This new found consistency is sure to lower your scores.

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